This is the last of my travel wardrobe posts
For now, that is. It also looks exactly the same as every single travel wardrobe essentials post I’ve ever written (see e.g. HERE, or HERE). Now, let’s see: a poncho, a striped top, a crossbody bag, big sunglasses and comfortable shoes
Well, we both know that my love for the items listed above is by no means limited to travel wardrobes. This is what I wear on most days, wherever I am.
And that’s precisely the point: why should your travel wardrobe be any different from what you normally wear?
Wearing comfortable clothes (and particularly shoes) is never more important than when you’re travelling. You might be walking for hours, going sightseeing and shopping. Then you really don’t need clothes that restrict movement or shoes that chafe. Not that you’d ever need that, but you get my point…
It also helps if you don’t look like a tourist but can blend in, for so many reasons. I’m sure I’m not the only one annoyed at being treated as a tourist. You know, street sellers pushing cheap crap at you, all sorts of scammers targeting you left and right, pickpockets and bag snatchers watching your every move to spot the brief moment you stop paying attention to your surroundings…
And no, I don’t think I look like the locals. I’m not trying to look like the locals, either. Just trying not to look like an obvious tourist (read: easy mark for scammers etc.). And if that doesn’t keep me safe from unwanted attention (of any type), my off-putting personality should do the trick.
Yes, I admit: I’m often very impatient with, or even downright rude to anyone trying to sell me something I don’t want. This is not limited to travelling, either; it includes pushy sales people, street vendors, cold callers, missionaries etc. Professor M often tells me I could be nicer saying ‘no‘ to someone, but I don’t see why I should accommodate people who are just wasting my time or hassling me. Especially since these people usually refuse to take (at least the polite ) no for an answer. I put it down to cultural differences: he’s German; I’m a Finn. And Finns don’t do small talk.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not walking around being rude to people (I’m only rude to people hassling me, and I make no apologies for that). And when I travel, I do make an effort to learn local customs and respect them. I also try to speak the language, whenever possible, even if I’m not 100% fluent (and who is?).
However, in Barcelona I’m a bit vary speaking Spanish these days. For starters, my Spanish is a bit rusty, and I’m far from fluent. But I can manage (quite well) in everyday situations in shops and restaurants. Still, these days I only speak Spanish in Barcelona if someone speaks it to me first.
This is because of the political tension in Catalonia. You may (or may not) know that there are two official languages in Catalonia: Spanish (or Castellano, as they call it) and Catalan. And you may (or may not) also have heard of the Catalan independence referendum. Well, at the moment everything is still unresolved, and political messages (by both sides, and in both languages) are everywhere. So, depending on who you’re talking to, you may end up offending the other person.
As a Finn, I can understand the irritation when people speak the ‘wrong’ language. Living in a bilingual country (even though in my case I’m in the majority and have never needed to speak the minority language), I’m familiar with these type of tensions. While we all study both languages (Finnish and Swedish) at school, there are a lot of people who, out of principle, refuse to speak Swedish. Or Finnish, in some predominantly Swedish-speaking areas.
So, as my Catalan is non-existent (even though I can understand a bit, having studied both French and Spanish), when communicating with the locals, I usually resort to the universal language of all tourists: English. Besides, this levels the playing field: it’s a foreign language to both of us.
By the way, I don’t think tourists who are native English speakers have ‘an advantage’ over the rest of us. Quite the opposite. These days just about everyone (at least in Europe) speaks English, often quite fluently, as a second or third language. Most people also understand, possibly even speak, at least one or two other languages besides their native language (by the way, ‘speaking’ or ‘understanding’ a language does not mean being ‘fluent’: there are levels of fluency when it comes to language skills). Being able to understand several languages is not unusual; it’s the standard.
It’s one thing if you’ve never had an opportunity to learn languages; it’s quite another if you can’t be bothered to take the opportunity presented to you. And in developed countries, not learning another language is always a conscious choice, and a very poor one, if you ask me. So, for an educated person to say they’ve never had an opportunity to learn another language… Please, that’s just lame.
Yet, there are people who refuse to learn even a few phrases in another language because they ‘don’t have to’. That, in my book, is just lack of manners masquerading as an obnoxious sense of entitlement. And, as a language teacher, I don’t buy the usual excuse: that it’s ‘so difficult‘. My standard reply to this is: ‘So, is it difficult because you’re lazy or because you’re stupid?’. It’s a trick question, of course. As any language teacher knows, nobody is too stupid to learn another language…
poncho: Marja Kurki / top: Selected Femme / trousers: Noom (old)
bag: Furla (old) / shoes: Adidas / sunglasses: Nina Ricci
What are your travel wardrobe essentials?
Linking up with:
Not Dead Yet Style, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, High Latitude Style, Style Elixir, A Labour of Life, Curly Crafty Mom, Fashion Should Be Fun, Color and Grace, The Wardrobe Stylist, Not Dressed As Lamb, Style Nudge, Living on Cloud Nine, A Well Styled Life, Elegance and Mommyhood. Posh Classy Mom, Nancy’s Fashion Style, Shelbee on the Edge, A Pocketful of Polka Dots Style Splash, The Fashionista Momma, Tina’s Pink Friday, Away from the Blue, Mummabstylish , Mutton Years Style and I