I was 33 when I took my first step toward personal reinvention in the form of a year long, around-the-world adventure. A late bloomer by college-student-backpacker standards, but early to the midlife crisis party.
I finally had enough of everything, so I donated my suits and ties to Goodwill and hit the road with a pack full of outdoor gear.
I didn’t know what to expect from far away lands, so I went to all the big sporting goods stores and loaded up on quick-drying everything with big pockets. I was silly for pockets. Couldn’t get enough of ‘em. After all, I’d need a pocket for anything that didn’t have a strap. (This is the kind of thinking that makes me, you and everyone else look like they just hopped out of a bass boat in the photos of an elegant European holiday.)
For all my time spent on island beaches and in remote villages, my functional clothing served me well and I’m glad I had them. However, even though my clothes were made with the latest technology, they had a glaring limitation.
I first noticed it every time I took a plane, train or bus; the locals intentionally dressed their best when they traveled. Whatever their station in life, putting their best foot forward showed dignity and self-respect.
In contrast, nondescript tourist style, by trying to be appropriate for all occasions and conditions, only succeeds in being out of place. It doesn’t matter if it's a museum, restaurant or a sacred temple in the jungle. Typical outdoor wear does not reflect the elegance and privilege of travel; solemnity of holy sites; or the sophisticated atmosphere of a museum.
When we travel, we are surrendering ourselves to the open road, so that we can feel alive! Yet, most travel wear doesn't reflect the nobility of this desire.
Functional travel wear may not score many style points, but the performance capabilities are indispensable when we find ourselves in varied and rapidly changing climates.
But, what do we do about changing environments? The solution is obvious...
Combine style with performance, so the traveler can manage it all - professional to personal; day to night; hot to cold; wet to dry.