Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Traveling Shoes Are High Heels

                                Me, dressed for travel to South America, in my preferred
                                                 travel attire of maxi dress and heels

I watched her as she walked down the wide concourse with determined confidence.  Her perfectly highlighted blonde hair was pulled into an immaculate French twist.  Her white linen pants and jacket showed no signs of wrinkling, and her purse dangled from her arm as if it had been commanded to swing just so as she stepped.  Her makeup was flawless but understated, her jewelry simple and refined.  Her high heeled shoes clicked in rhythm as she strode past me to her gate and the plane that waited to whisk her to places unknown.  It was clear that she traveled frequently, and she posessed an elegance that has since become my ideal, the I-know-exactly-where-I'm-headed-and-I'm-dressing-like-Grace-Kelly-to-get-there attitude to which I aspire.

As she walked by me, I'm sure I gawked open-mouthed.  I was wearing the staple outfit of my early 20s, leggings and an oversized button-up shirt with Keds.  In comparison to the stanger in white linen, I looked exactly like the backwoods Tennessee girl I was.  I was 21 and sitting in the Nashville airport, about to embark on a month-long journey with my mom and sister to Zambia, Africa.  I had traveled overseas before, but I had never given a thought to the image I projected through the clothes I chose to wear when traveling abroad.

But SHE changed all of that in an instant.

Flash forward 21 years, and here I am, still placing that stranger in white on a pedestal as the ultimate in traveling chic.  And while my traveling shoes may be high heels as hers were, even I don't have the confidence to fly in white linen!

You may think that a girl who's starting a travel blog ought to be very practical when it comes to her travel wardrobe.   She ought to pack lots of black (for easy mixing and matching and for hiding stains) and wear sensible shoes (for running through airports and treading European cobblestone).  

But I'm not that kind of girl.  SHE changed that.  Granted, I leave my Manolo Blahniks at home in favor of Aerosole heels, but I still try to channel that stranger when I fly.  

My trusty Areosoles and the travel journal that my sister, Gennifer, gave me (from Anthropologie!)

And my vanity and Grace-Kelly-aspirations are not the only reasons that I have upgraded my travel outfit from leggings to long, flowy skirts. I actually have real, practical reasons as well.

First, I find that airport and airline personnel tend to treat people dressed sharply differently than they treat people who are dressed down.  If my flight is delayed or canceled or if I'm trying to score an upgrade to first class or if I really, really need the whole can of Coke instead of just the one serving that everyone else is being given during drink service, then I want to look like the kind of traveler who should be given special privileges.  

And second, once I'm ensconced in my seat on the plane, I can take off my shoes and put my feet in my seat with my skirt pulled over them like a huge blanket!  Decidedly NOT ladylike (and certainly not the way SHE would have traveled), but comfy!

So I invite you to join me on my journeys.  Through this blog I hope to share with you my views on travel and the world.  I hope to show you new places and perspectives.  I hope to give you some tips that you may be able to use when you travel.  And I hope to introduce you to the magical sometimes frustrating aspects of seeing the world.  All while working really hard not to break my ankles in those heels.