I don’t like buying designer labels. For one, I hate to see all my hard-earned money go to something that I could get for a fraction of the price without the label. Two, it can make you an easy target when you’re traveling as people can sometimes mistake you for a rich tourist (which I’m not.) I ripped the label off a Prada handbag (a knock-off of course) that I bought in Barcelona after someone reached inside and stole my wallet while riding on the bus. Of course, it could have happened just as easily with any bag, but I didn’t want to increase the chance of a second occurence.
But after months of wearing the same clothes day in and day out (I’m embarrassed to say that I have been traveling with the same 3 bras I left with 17 months ago,) I’ve started to miss the heels and sexy pencil skirts I used to wear back in my real estate days. With limited space both in my suitcase and my small closet on the boat, I really don’t have much room to load up on designer handbags and shoes, and they really aren’t too practical when you’re running through train stations or walking through town with a gigantic pack on your back. Not to mention, if you are traveling to any of the more conservative countries ( Muslim areas) you’re bound to get a few stares.
I remember getting invited to a wedding while I was in Egypt, and since we were planning on going to a popular dance club after, I put on my sexy “going out” outfit. I was mortified when we got to the reception to see the women covered from head to toe (it was very much like being in one of those dreams where you show up somewhere completely naked and everyone just stops and stares.) After about 10 minutes we noticed all the little boys finding a seat near our table and quickly found ourselves back in the car and on to a place where my western attire wouldn’t attract so much attention.
After thinking about it carefully (and receiving a rather large tip handed to me the last time the owner was on board) I settled on a pair of sunglasses, nice ones (not the cheap crap you find on the beach here for 10 euros.) I left the store with my new shades (my wallet significantly lighter) and almost immediately there it was, that feeling that had disappeared for nearly the entire summer… I felt sexy!!! I know it’s crazy to think that a silly pair of glasses can change the way you feel, and maybe it was the dark tinted lens that I now saw the world through, but all of a sudden it felt like everyone was smiling at the mysterious woman walking through the port of Monaco. Even when it wasn’t sunny, I still made sure my new friends were there on the bridge of my nose giving me that extra “je ne sais quoi.”
And then, just like every great relationship I have had in my life, they were gone. I set them on the counter in the bakery as I was paying the bill (I didn’t rest them on top of my head because I didn’t want them to get caught in my fabulously sexy hairdo) and somehow my new sunnies magically grew legs and walked away. Not lost, not broken, stolen. I searched frantically in my bag thinking I had carelessly tossed them in there instead, but the large group of tourists that had just come in from the cruiseship and flooded the bakery were more likely the cause of the disappearance. The girls behind the counter took my number in case anyone turned them in, but I knew I had to face the facts and accept it. My “sexy” sunnies were gone.
So how does a girl cope? I spent the next few days squinting (as it is rather bright being on the water all day without a decent pair of glasses) and I went to the pharmacy (the next step up from the cheap knock-offs sold on the beach) to buy a more practical pair. But it just wasn’t the same. Maybe there is something special about having something that not every one else has. Whether it really gave me more attention, or just the confidence I had while wearing them that gave me the extra smiles, I guess I’ll never know. But it made me think about some of the other ways to feel and look great while all on the road. So here are some of my favorites from my travels so far (in no particular order of sexiness.)
1. Scarves (light weight, stylish, can be added to any outfit, used as a headband, or in this case used as pajama pants as well)
2. Mud Scrub in the Dead Sea (or just a short trip to a salon for a mani/pedi to revive those tired feet
3. A refreshing midnight “swim”. It’s quite liberating and definitely worth doing once in your life. A topless day at the beach on the Riviera can give you the same feeling (but in the essence of being family appropriate, no photos available. Hey, when in Rome right???
4. Do your own facials (carry some small samples of lotions, facial scrubs, make-up, perfume for a pick me up without taking up too much space in your make-up bag)
5. A lacy nighty which doubled as a nice top for a girls night out on the town (which reminds me, I wonder if I can find a Victoria Secret anywhere? Maybe it’s time to update my unmentionables.)