There’s a cheesy country song called, “Tequila Makes her Clothes Fall off” and, when we’re traveling, Andy likes to change it to, “Traveling Makes her Clothes Fall off.” The song (and the meaning behind Andy’s adaption) isn’t as scandalous as it sounds. The lyrics talk about a girl who is prone to losing an earring in a bathroom sink at a bar or maybe she’ll ditch her pantyhose and heels on the dance floor. When it comes to me and traveling, I too have that problem. Only in my case, usually booze isn’t even involved.
What makes this particularly odd is that I’m not really someone who loses things at home. My cell phone, keys, wallet – they’re always right there when I need them. But when I’m dragging my stuff across the globe, I somehow lose the ability to keep my belongings where they belong. Thankfully, I never lose important things; I’ve never misplaced a train ticket or even my headphones. Instead, just like the girl in the song – I lose apparel and accessories.
I’ve lost a necklace in Switzerland, pajama shorts in the Czech Republic, a pair of jeans somewhere in Austria or it might have been Italy, a shirt in Nicaragua, heels in Texas, a pair of pants in the Tokyo airport and so on and so forth. Keeping track of your stuff is Travel 101 and don’t think that by admitting this on my blog I’m not embarrassed. I’m embarrassed. I’m ashamed. I vow to do better.
So where does it all go? If you’re still looking for a scandalous angle, you’re going to be disappointed. Mostly, things have just failed to make it back into my suitcase when I’m packing up to head to the next destination. Although, to this day I still blame a sticky-fingered maid in Prague for the disappearance of those pajama shorts. I know it sounds silly, but I swear, it’s really the only scenario that makes sense.
This terrible travel trait is especially problematic for someone who packs as light as I do. I rarely have two of anything so if something goes missing, I go shopping. Usually, I love a good shopping trip, but when you’re on the road, it isn’t always the most opportune time to hit a mall.
When I lost my pajama shorts in Prague, a quick trip to H&M yielded a decent €3 replacement pair and later on that same trip, Zara provided me with an inexpensive pair of jeans to replace the ones I lost in Austria or Italy. Other than a blow to our already minuscule budget, it was no big deal. We had ample stores to choose from and we had ample time to browse and buy.
Other times, the extra time or the right stores just might not be there. When I left my very favorite so-comfortable-they-could-pass-for-sneakers-despite-their-4-inch-heels peep-toe pumps in an Austin, Texas hotel the real problem was that I didn’t notice they were missing until we were getting ready to hit the town in Las Vegas later on that same road trip – and Las Vegas, my friends, is a city that always calls for heels.
So, while the guys tried their luck at the card tables, my friend Ali and I tried ours at the shops – but Vegas shopping can be a bit of a conundrum. There isn’t much in the way of a happy budget medium between cheapy stores like Forever 21 and the splurge-and-don’t-pay-the mortgage stores like Louis Vuitton or Fendi. I wasn’t looking to blow all my money on a new pair of shoes, however, stores like Forever 21 don’t carry my size. If you recall, I have big feet. (Also yes, this story does take place just days after my Travel Triumph in Austin that also dealt with footwear.) I did end up finding a decent pair of patent leather pumps at Macy’s but mad-dash shopping is by far my least favorite way to spend money.
Another hard replacement was the pants I somehow misplaced in the Tokyo airport on my way to the Philippines. When I arrived in Manila, Andy’s work schedule dictated that we stay a few extra days in the big city – a place where beachy sundresses were hardly the thing to wear.
Luckily, we were staying very close to one of those massive Asian malls. Unluckily, the mall’s typical customers were almost entirely Asian. Therein lies the problem… I’m a tad larger than your typical Filipino gal. And while I would prefer it be said that I’m tall-ish and therefore have a proportionally larger frame, I was a long way from the PC-obsessed United States and mostly all the shop girls just commented on “big” I am. “You’re so big!” they’d tell me. Thanks ladies, I woke up this morning hoping to hear that at least 20 times today.Rest assured though, I did finally find a pair of black skinny jeans in a plus-size store that if cuffed, resembled a chic ankle pant. I say resembled because they missed the mark on actually looking chic and then they dyed my legs black. Worth it? Maybe not.
I feel like a baby complaining about this. The world is so globalized now that with a little bit of flexibility and a pinch of shopping determination you can usually find something that will maybe not completely fit the bill, but at least get you by. And frankly, all of these examples (save for Prague) have been my own fault.
So in the end, the problem lies with me. Back in January, I made a few travel resolutions for the New Year. In that post I also talk about starting each “term” of the year afresh. It’s March now and “spring term” is almost underway and in my evaluation of the year so far – I think I’m doing okay. With that in mind I’m going to add another goal: stop losing my clothes!
Officially as such:
- May my suitcase always be the same weight leaving a hotel room as it was going in.
- May all my future shopping trips be due to a desire to find cute clothes instead of a desperation to replace lost ones.
- And finally, may maids from here to Timbuktu keep their sticky hands off of my sleepwear.
If I don’t succeed, I may need to develop a taste for tequila. That way at least I’d have something to blame it all on.