Reflections on Responsible Traveling Fashion

I always predict that my biggest expenses will go to traveling, food, and books. I am an absolute adventurer, and I am in love with that exhilarating feeling of travel, where one lives on nothing but the things they pack in their suitcase or bag, as well as the sights, sounds, and savors of where they’re going. In fact, I sometimes think of always keeping a small suitcase or large knapsack stuffed with things I need so that I can leave at any moment’s notice, in the event of an emergency or “emergency”. That would be so fun and self-realizing.

That said, I’m currently in Baguio with family, and I was surprised at myself that I brought with me a rather large trolley suitcase, in addition to my everyday bag… as well as a picnic basket containing a whole self-assembled tea set. Actually, the only reason my suitcase is so large is because I put in it board games for my young nephews. On the other hand, when we went to Japan early last month, I was also surprised that, at the end of the trip, my things fit into just one half of my large suitcase (as well as my carry-on trolley suitcase), leaving the other, larger, half open for my brother’s and mother’s things. (It’s a family habit when we go abroad to maximize space by fixing suitcases unorthodoxly and placing purchases into the suitcases of those who shopped less.)

But I guess it’s a lesson that was passed on to me from my mom. She always tells me to travel and pack light, not just to prevent inconvenience, but also because she finds carrying heavy bags a burden on the body. Nevertheless, I agree with her, and I find myself trying to put as few things as possible whenever I leave. I guess it’s a way of being a good, responsible citizen, because in doing so, you don’t inconvenience others, such as the people you’re traveling with, and even the vehicle you’re taking.

Still, I learned the slightly hard way that I could have been more responsible in my packing choices for this trip. Two days ago, we went to Mines View Park to take photos and enjoy the foggy mountains around us. However, the weather had been (and still is) fickle-minded with us, seemingly unable to make up its mind whether to shower us or not. When the rain stopped for the nth time, while we were shopping in the Mines View bazaars, we then decided to visit the viewing decks. Sure, I tried to pack light by bringing only a pair of flip-flops in addition to the boots I wore on the day of the trip. I wore my new Timberland Earthkeepers, but looking back, I realized that I should have worn my Timberland classic Yellow Boots instead, as their soles have the lug-sole pattern. The Earthkeepers’ soles are more for the urban setting, boasting a plainer (and therefore less slip-resistant) design.

Long story short, I very nearly slipped a few times in going down the steps to the viewing deck, which could have made things worse for me and all around me. In addition to that, yesterday morning, we went strawberry-picking, and one of my leaps across the strawberry fields wasn’t as calculated as I expected, leading me to partially slip into the mud. My left boot was completely splattered with mud, and it took forever for us to rinse it off; as of this writing, it is still a little damp outside the room. Had I worn my classics, none of this might have happened, as I would have had much firmer traction and less chance of slipping anywhere.

This may look like something very trivial. But to a person like me, being a true responsible citizen mandates that every little action one does, however irrelevant or mundane it may seem, be carried out with the goals of citizenship, sustainability, and social responsibility in mind. One cannot make an excuse for a small action, saying that it is insignificant anyway, or even masking it as flexibility in life, because it tends to encourage complacence and sloppiness in bigger things. The habit must be formed at the lowest level; the principles must be stuck to and lived by down to the littlest thing.

That said, it’s very possible to travel light yet still retain your stylishness; it’s just a matter of choosing things to take wisely. Just one pair of sturdy yet comfortable and practical shoes that are already on your feet will do, with a pair of sandals packed away, as well as a pair of dress shoes, should you be attending a formal event. Not that I’m biased, but I do recommend a pair of lug-soled, waterproof, and comfortable boots like the Timberland classics (or a pair of Caterpillars or Docs, though they’re not waterproof), especially if you’ll be doing a lot of walking.

Just one pair of jeans you’re already wearing will do, with an extra one tucked away into the suitcase; my denims go without washing for at most three weeks, as it supposedly helps toughen them up. And if the place I’m going to has a cold climate that won’t provoke much sweating, I’d even reuse my shirts! One technique I’m trying out this trip is to wear the same button-down shirt, but unbuttoned and over a white T-shirt that will be the one that’s replaced everyday. Of course, if the environment outside is harsh physically or from an olfactory perspective, this wouldn’t apply any longer, unless you’re wearing a jacket or coat over the button-down – which I did.

It may look ridiculous, but if you’re doing the laundry yourself, you’d probably feel thankful you don’t have to wash a whole mountain of clothes when you get home. Also, you could afford to bring a smaller suitcase and thus save up on potential overweight fees and physical space… or if you still insist on bringing a large suitcase, you would have more space for shopping. 😉


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