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14. SIT Wardrobe & Equipment: (full)

A. Wardrobe:

The more you travel, the more you whittle down & refine what you carry to the bare essentials, so the less stuff you must haul onto a bus or drag down a dirt road. 

     Anecdote: Overloaded young man:   Hiking from France over the Pyrenees into Spain on the Camino de Santiago, I passed a young man, perhaps 30 years younger than I dressed like old Special Forces with a WWIII rucksack 2 to 3 times as large as my day pack. Terribly overloaded.   

I said, “Hello” as I passed, and he responded with a simple nod.      The next day I passed him again, saying, “Hello”, and his response was an UNfriendly look & a curt nod & grunt.       I never saw him again 


My SIT wardrobe was dictated by several practical considerations: 
    a. cultural acceptability,  
    b. necessity, 
    c. comfort,
    d. washing ease & quick drying, 
    e. safety, 
    f. all around utility,
    g. anticipated weather conditions and 
    h. anticipated activities. 

a. Cultural acceptability,
I consciously tried to be attuned to a host culture’s sensitivities regarding dress. Guidebooks historically poo-poo’d shorts, firmly recommending long pants. 

After several trips everywhere, I realized no one cared, in part I suspect because: 
    1) Our tourist money is ‘Mana from Heaven’, 

    2) They really didn’t care (Is anyone offended by a ‘pink Unicorn?”), 

    3) My ‘look’ is that of ‘a harmless, funny-looking, old, unpretentious foreigner.’     OK, I’m not a fashion influencer. 😇.

In sensitive European cathedrals I velcro’d on my lower pants legs. Asian temples sometimes supplied sarongs.



In Egypt I presumed greater Muslim sensitivity and wore long pants always.



b. Necessity
Necessity is the prime wardrobe ‘screen.’   IMO, "wardrobe" has 2 aspects: 1) truly necessary clothes AND 2) stuff that might become necessary (mosquito head net (EX Ayer's Rock, AUS).          A small box of chocolates is never necessary.😇 🥲

Even ‘necessary clothing’ must be qualified & pared down to bare essentials

     1. Truly Necessary:
I carried 3 T-shirts, 2 cargo shorts, & 1 long cargo pants, & 3 pairs of socks, each easily washed & dried overnight on a chair.

    Anecdote: On a cruise,  2 friends had 3 large suitcases (each 1½ times size of my rolling luggage) to anticipate a week’s semi-formal vs informal ‘social’ uses,                         


QUOTE: "When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money."
Susan Heller


     2. Might Become Necessary:
I carried over-the-counter drugs, a head mosquito net, misc luggage & clothing repair stuff, etc.,  particularly as new medical issues arose OR if the need had proven probable. (3M8210 mask for Asia's bad air)

I did NOT want to waste a couple of hours searching a foreign city for Tylenol, anti-bacterial creme, etc.

c. Comfort:
Asia, South America, and Australia can be steamy hot. I wore shorts
even when bushwhacking Thailand’s dense steep jungles.

d. Washing ease & quick drying: 
After each sweaty day I washed my day's clothes in a sink & hung on a bed or chair to dry overnight.  I always traveled with at least 2 T-shirts & shorts, so I had 1 dry set, if last night’s clothes didn't dry completely.

e. Safety:
My Tilley hat, web belt, jackets, shorts, pants, socks, and even my hiking boots hid money safely. Shorts, pants, vest, and jackets had money & cell phone secret pockets which I had installed.      [ppplk: Wardrobe] [pplk: Safe: soft]

f. All around utility:
My cargo shorts & pants have multiple pockets & waist adjustment. I used their belt for hanging hand sanitizer, compass, mini-flashlight, day's plastic bag of veggies & fruit, etc.

g. SIT’s anticipated weather conditions:   SIT solo travelers must anticipate their wardrobe requirements for each possible weather condition that their itinerary’s research discloses.  My Inventory List had a specific Cold Weather section I could plug in to it. 

     Anecdote: 500mi Camino de Santiago trek:  My late summer / early Fall Camino de Santiago trek anticipated August’s central Spain’s rainy/foggy rolling-hilled vineyards ....

 TO the Meseta Plateau’s chilly September early morning starts (6 am) & blistering treeless afternoons .....

TO the west’s high plateau’s cold Fall mornings & lovely middays.  [ytlk: CdeS ]


h. SIT’s Anticipated activities
I had no intention of visiting fancy restaurants, the theater, or opera, so my wardrobe was dedicated to the above utilitarian factors for my normal daily travel activities. 

Home invitations, if you anticipate, will normally be from ordinary people who met you dressed as you were and don’t expect more than a cleaned-up version.   If you anticipate such ‘fancy’ needs, obviously, plan for it or buy locally. 

I wore same hiking boots for everything except my hostel shower flip-flops. My bedraggled dress shirt was rolled up & wrapped around my waist over my travel shorts & T-shirt to hide my video camera. That was the best I could offer.😁 

A combination of layered rainproof jacket, lite jacket & a vest met all temperature issues on mountain hikes during the seasons I traveled.

        Most tourists balance between comfort & fashion, particularly cruisers who only move luggage twice. Bus tours should suggest critical wardrobe requirements for their activities, while cruises may offer so many optional activities including shore excursions & activities, formal vs informal dining, that you should research those activities appealing to you & bring an appropriate wardrobe, if not already provided.

B. Equipment: 

SIT travelers often create their own adventures requiring specialized equipment usually for ‘life-dependent’ activities: e.g. scuba breathing apparatus) or technical climbing. If so, perhaps, take your own, but you may have to haul for entire trip or ship home, etc.

    Anecdote: 4th part of my Greece, Sicily, Wales trip: was 4 day solo bike ride across Scotland from Ft William along Caledonian Canal towpath, over forestry tracks (roads) to Inverness. [ytlk: Scotland bike]

In USA, I pre-booked a bike & equipment at Scotland’s Ft William bike shop dropping it off at an Inverness bike shop.     Easy, peasy.

NOTE: Some cities may have luggage transfer companies that will ship your extra stuff somewhere for you to pick up later.

   Anecdote: On Camino de Santiago:     I shipped my rolling pack from France to Burgos, then to Leon & finally to Santiago de Compostela for final pick up so I could re-adjust day pack contents over entire 36 day trek in response to Spain’s changing weather en route.

OTOH, I always carried a foldable trekking pole set for steep or long distance hiking.                    [ytlk: trekking poles - to come]


       Most Bus Tours day tour & Cruises & their ‘shore excursion’ provide specialty equipment you might need. 



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