Well, it’s happened. I’ve reached an inevitable impasse, one I fear is a point of no return. I knew it’d eventually come. I had glimpses of its arrival while walking the streets of Hong Kong almost 3 months ago. I found myself starting to think about it more and more while perusing the markets in Luang Prabang. And finally, I snapped in Hanoi.
I am officially sick of every item of clothing in my backpack and there is simply nothing I can do about it.
It was easier at first to accept the fact that what I was able to bring on a 5 month journey was limited to one backpack. I wasn’t too worried about it during our first month in India-I wasn’t sick of the clothes yet- and I had a bit of space in my pack to stuff in some newly purchased skirts and shirts. And in Thailand we spent a great deal of the month on beaches, running around barefoot wearing not much more than a bathing suit and a sarong.
It was when we got to the great land-locked Laos that I started becoming overly conscious of the same 4 or so outfits I was wearing day in and day out. My white tank top morphed into a faint shade of grey; my poorly stitched Indian skirt began to rip; I even grew sick of my favorite pair of electric blue high-waisted shorts, which I didn’t think was possible (I really loved those shorts). And day by day, more and more complaints trickled out of me like obnoxious, unwanted drops from a leaky faucet. I’m fairly positive that Daniel would gladly pay large sums of money to never hear me discuss my lack of a wardrobe again.
It was when we got to Hanoi that I really lost it. We hadn’t been in a big city in quite some time, and the bustling city vibe opened my eyes to the world of fashion I’d so quickly forgotten. Gone were the dread-locked backpackers in their ali-baba pants and their Tivas. In were the slender, straight-haired Vietnamese girls, wearing make up and heels. I was dying to fit in.
So I did what I always do- maybe the only thing I could do-I bought a scarf (I have way too many scarfs, at least one from every country I’ve ever visited. Apparently, it’s my go-to). There were many practical reasons for the purchase, them being it was cold and I didn’t have one on at the time. But also, it was a mustard-colored, long, cozy looking thing that could help scratch the itch. It’s color might spice up the dullest, worn-out items in my 5-month ‘wardrobe.’
Well, it kept me complaint free…for about 5 days. I wore that thing in and out, day and night, and it was almost enough to satisfy me. That is, until we hopped a plane from the North of Vietnam and stepped off into the blazing heat of the Saigon.
The heat has yet to subside, and I write today from a beach town in Cambodia, wearing the same electric blue shorts with the same grey-white tank. No hint of newness, no room in my pack to buy something new, and certainly no need for a mustard-colored scarf.
But then I look up from the table at the glistening turquoise sea and realize one thing: This is a pretty good compromise for a closet full of clothes.