OMG – I’m a Flashpacker!

Erin_and_Katmandu_BagAs I near the 2-month mark of my 2-year around-the-world adventure, I’m going through a process of re-invention. I love these times of self-reflection! In fact, the opportunity to redefine myself is all part of the journey.

Naming Yourself

So I’ve been tossing around labels in which to christen myself: backpacker, traveler, nomad. I’m certainly a nomad, with no home base, and I absolutely love the freedom and all that name implies. I’m also a traveler, but that’s a little less descriptive. A backpacker, um, no. I left my backpack at the Southern Cross train station in Melbourne after succumbing to bag with wheels.

And then a few days ago, I heard my new name: Flashpacker! A flashpacker is some who travels with luggage instead of a backpack (tick) and doesn’t necessarily stay in hostels (tick). I haven’t wholeheartedly adopted it yet as my moniker, but its close.

As I think about the bigger question of who I am, I’m also thinking about the related question of how I want to represent myself. I think appearances are important since they telegraph a message of how you’d like to be perceived.

I’m (obviously) not a 20-something on a post-college romp nor do I want to look like I’m trying to be. And yet what is a professional look for a wannabe writer that’s crossing continents? I think it’s tricky – especially with limited luggage!

British Sensibility

During my latest overland tour, I overheard two remarks that represent the two sides of the debate about fashion on the road:

  • · British Girl #1: “For F#*^ sake, what are we doing today that you’re putting on makeup for?!” (True: Our daily itinerary included a hike to Australia’s tallest mountain, a swim on the beach, and at least 6 hours in a bus.)
  • · British Girl #2: “We’re backpackers, we’re not bloody shipwrecked!” (True: Backpackers often use the excuse of traveling to be a) dirty, b) sloppy, c) unfashionable.)

Brit #2 summed it up nicely. She noted that what we do at home is how we’ll behave on the road. So if you get up every morning and put on makeup and do your hair, you’ll do that while traveling. If you don’t, then you won’t. I think she’s spot on.

“Flashpacker” Fashion

I fall somewhere in the middle, with daily applications of lip gloss to compliment my pedicure and perfume, but no other makeup. And face it, we travelers are spending our days on planes, trains, buses, and lugging our bags, and touring endless national treasures, so comfort rules the day.

The uniform of faded jeans, plaid shirt, and flip flops reign – even for me, the travel-writing, nomadic Flashpacker. Maybe reinvention is overrated.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 21st, 2011 and is filed under Shopping & Fashion.

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