After 4 days of travelling home and back to China this summer, the long way round I might add, I started watching people at the airport. Good way to pass the time when you are stuck and tired of looking at Duty Free. I started to think about people and travel… it was interesting to see people from almost every country and culture. Hearing so many languages and seeing different cultural dress. Traveling through Dubai, the new world airport hub (or so it seems). I ask myself what kind of traveller am I?
Am I the hippy backpacker who has dreads, colourful clothing and a my life in a small hemp backpack as I set off to some far off land for an adventure? Or the average backpacker who wants to see part of the world and what it has to offer before settling down into a daily, sometimes mundane, routine of work and life?
Am I the business traveler with their small carry on and laptop in a business suit going someone to make a deal or conduct business for a company. No and probably never me, but there are lots of them out there.
Am I the person who dresses up, wears more than my average daily make-up and fixes my hair like I am going to a function rather than sit in small crowded seat for hours? Really what is the point? To impress the customs guys? Do they really care? Do they even look at you? Should you care about looks or comfort? Well maybe for the fashionistas out there it is worth looking good rather than feeling good.
This brings me to those people who opt for comfort over style. Could I ever be one of those who wear ridiculous bright patterned (and often ill-fitting) clothes that I would never be caught dead wearing in my home town, but they are justified because they are ‘comfy pants’ for travelling. I wish I had photos of the tie tied and bright patterned pants I saw… really that is what you are wearing??? Comfort or not can they make those items in less putrid and repulsive patterns, colours and designs?
What about those people who wear their workout wear and look like they are heading to the gym? It is comfortable and more acceptable fashion… at least in the colour/pattern department. Now throw on a big ridiculous hat or pair of dress shoes to complete the ensemble. Ridiculous! I suppose it is practical since they are probably too big or awkward to pack, so just wear it! Now I am not a fashion guru by any means but I think it is a fashion no-no.
This isn’t me either, but maybe you are a labeler… someone who has to wear every label they own. What is the point? To show your ‘coolness’? Does every label translate to others the way it does at home? Or a flirt… is this your nature or do you have something you need to get away with when you reach customs? Saw lots of them too.
Often you can guess where someone is travelling to because they are already dressed for their destination. How many of us have worn a pair of shorts in winter weather because we are heading to some sunny warm destination? Admit it you may have done ir, but just hidden it under your clothes! I know I have!
Something to look forward to as I saw many older travelling couples look like they are going on safari with the Tilly hats and vests. Of course who can forget the knee socks and sandals. Speaking of couples do you and your partner or family all dress the same? Whether it be the same colour or matching shirts/pants. This is common in China and it makes me giggle every time you see a family all wearing the exact same thing. Is this a way to say you are together? Am I missing some social/cultural understanding?
ANother common theme is the proud (insert your country here). So for example you are the proud Canadian and must have the t-shirt and/or hat to show where you are from. Some of us are more subtle and have the small flag sewn onto the backpack or tag on our luggage, but feel the need to show where we are from…. especially us Canadians. Sorry but we don’t want to be mistaken for Americans as much as the Kiwis don’t want to be taken as Australians.
Maybe none of these fit your style so you will have to be one of these. The minimalist or girl/boy scout prepared for everything. Do you pack as little as possible to be light and allow easy travel or do you have bags weighted down so you have to sit on them to get them closed because they are filled with those ‘just in case’ supplies? I always prefer to pack light, but being so far from home often our bags are loaded with those little creature comforts to bring back with us.
Now ask yourself what kind of traveller you are? Does this mean you can only be one? Can it change as you go through ages and stages of life? Sure we may have been many of these people.
Airports have opened the world to us and allow us to experience so many different languages, cultures, and ways of life. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch, look and listen because travelling and getting there could be just as exciting as the destination.
Stay tuned for more from a Canadian travel bug…