Giving Up My Sense of Style for Long Term Travel

Let me tell you, it was very traumatizing trying to figure out what clothing to pack in my backpack for our long term travel adventure.


This is the backpack I originally brought – it was a 40 liter backpack and that had to hold everything I was bringing on our long term travel adventure.  Prior to leaving we planned on visiting countries mostly in southeast Asia and estimated that we’d be on the road for about a year.

You know how they tell you to get everything together that you are going to pack and then remove half of that?  Well I had to remove much more than half of it to even come close to fitting it all in my backpack.  For like the first month of travel packing was an agonizing event because I had too much stuff and it all didn’t fit.

So what clothing did I end up bringing?


Here’s the rundown on what clothing I originally brought:

  • 5 vintage dresses
  • 3 button down travel shirts
  • 3 t-shirts (I originally had a few tanks too those quickly got ditched)
  • 5 pairs of shorts (one pair that are used as p.j.’s
  • 2 pairs of travel pants
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 light jacket
  • Bathing suit and board shorts
  • Undergarments and socks
  • 1 pair of Chacos sandals
  • 1 pair of Teva wedges
  • 1 pair of Columbia trekking shoes

I have to admit, I had a lot of vintage shirts and some more dresses set aside but I just couldn’t bring them because they all wouldn’t fit in the backpack.  I had to be practical (man I hate that word!).  But unfortunately southeast Asia is really, really hot and polyester just wasn’t going to be practical.


I had to sacrifice a lot of my fashion sense when I packed for this trip.  Back in my working days I often wore suits with a vintage blouse or a vintage dress with a cardigan. But obviously I had to quit my job to start this adventure so that doesn’t really count.

In my off time I mostly wore vintage dresses, or in the winter jeans with a vintage shirt and sweater.  The only time I wore t-shirts, shorts and athletic shoes was pretty much when I was doing something like going to yoga class, going for a walk, or volunteering at an animal shelter.


Yet here I am with most of my clothing consisting of stuff I normally would have never worn for normal daily activities.  But then again, at home I wasn’t doing most of the stuff I am doing traveling around the world either.


Unfortunately I no longer have the joys of thinking about what outfit I want to wear the next day.  Instead now all I can do is wear what is clean (we end up doing laundry a lot). If I happen to have more than one option, the next issue is what is practical.  As much as I hate it, some activities just shouldn’t be done in a dress so I end up wearing the shorts/travel shirt combo far more often than I prefer.

And the shoes, we can’t even discuss the horror that consists of my (practical) shoe options now.  You have no idea how much I miss my lovely walk-in closet of vintage clothing and my shelves of shoes (what I wouldn’t give for a pair of my platform sandals right now!!!!!!).

That’s me in the purple, notice how I am dressed in “practical” attire for a travel day.

But then again, I knew I would have to make sacrifices to go on this trip and I am happy to have this opportunity.  Plus, we do have a start-up fund for when we settle down again and the husband assures me I can buy plenty of vintage clothing when that time comes.

So until then I guess I just lose my sense of style and enjoy the adventure.

Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines

Next blog post we’ll talk about what I have in my backpack now……










7 thoughts on “Giving Up My Sense of Style for Long Term Travel

  1. Reminds me of Wild, by Sheryl Strayed, but with vintage and laundry facilities. It’s so interesting to read about what gets packed and what gets left behind, I feel like even for short trips I sometimes totally mis-predict what I’ll actually need when I get there. Sounds like you packed well!


  2. I’m so glad you started to follow my blog only because it lead me back to yours and I love what you’re doing. I was going to ask if you follow Morgana but I see she’s already here. Talk about vintage she’s got great stuff. I bet you can find wonderful vintage clothing overseas. I think I may be shipping lots home if I were in your shoes. lol I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventures. Thanks for sharing with us!


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