If you happened to be on an Antarctic cruise or wandering around Patagonia and you notice someone — six feet tall, short hair and dressed like a vagrant in threadbare duds — that would be me. I’m the guy whose jeans have giant holes in the knees (“Very 1980s,” I’m told), holey t-shirts (we’ve all loved many of those) and a gaping breach in the sole of his right sandal.
And one rather reluctant word about my underwear: transparent.
So how did I get here — to this sorry state of slovenly dress?
More than three years on the road and the same ten or so articles of clothing making their way through the wear cycle, continually being exposed to chicken buses, deserts, jungles, and cargo boats. This is a sure recipe for destroying one’s wardrobe, even if it is made up of special action and travel gear advertised to be indestructible.
I’m telling you, there must be something about the washing machines and water in Latin America. Absolutely unforgiving.
Add to this that laundromats sometimes lose items and the already limited selection dwindles even more. (I’m still sore about the lavanderia in Buenos Aires that lost a pair of my Ex Officio boxers – something impossible to find in Argentina!)
There’s a certain satisfaction of wearing something out rather than tiring of it. Worn out travel and adventure gear is evidence of collective experience. It stands as a testament to the sort of life you’ve lived.
But why the resistance to buying new clothes? Simple: time and effort that I’d rather spend elsewhere. I keep thinking, “If I can hold off for just a few more months until we return to the U.S., I know where to easily replace almost everything — at lower cost and higher quality.” But it’s really gotten so bad I’m not sure I can hold off much longer.
You could say I’m hanging by a thread.
So to all the adventure and travel clothing retailers out there, I have a challenge for you: allow me to test your line of clothing and we’ll see how well and how long it holds up in the real world of long-term adventure travel.
I really don’t need a lot. After all, there’s not that much room in my backpack.