The King has no clothes might be an apt title for this post except that I am no King (not even close). But the no clothes part is certainly true. First though—the photo inset to the left is a recent photo of my son Shawn and me at his retirement party from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (24-years of dedicated community service). If you would like to read more about that click on My Son Retires After 24 Years With the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Back to the no clothes theme: I am a bit anal when it comes to buying stuff. I research my purchases to death. Partly because I find the research interesting and partly because I don’t like to squander my money. I worked hard for almost 50-years before I retired: first in the military (United States Marine Corps) and then in the corporate world. I’ve made (and lost) a ton of money in my lifetime and now find myself on a very tight and frugal budget—but I don’t want for the necessities of life and I live much happier these days spent on the road.
Today its been exactly 5-years since I left the USA to pursue my dreams abroad and I landed in Merida, Yucatan, MX early the next day (April 5th) to begin my new life. And what a life its been so far—I am now a full-time photographer, writer and traveller. My travel involves trekking the world with a backpack and my photography gear. Trekking (unlike staying in all-inclusive resorts) is hard on your clothes. This blog is sprinkled with various posts, reviews and explanations of my travelling attire and equipment. My buying decisions center around: functionality, durability and value (fashion rarely enters into the equation). So this brief visit back to the USA (3 to 5 months) is all about visiting family, friends and refreshing my travel stuff.
I used to be about six-feet tall when I graduated from high school (in the photo above I look short because my son is six-feet four inches) but I’ve been shrinking over the past few years. Gravity and deterioration takes its toll as we age and I will be 70 next month. Although my stature (height & weight) is pretty average for the USA it can be difficult at times during my travels to find suitable clothes. But the biggest issue is clothing quality—most of the stuff I buy abroad just doesn’t hold up to the harsh rigours of international travel. So now that I am back in the States for a spell I am taking the opportunity to buy new clothes: from underwear, socks, shirts, pants to new trail shoes. At the same time I am refreshing and updating my photography gear (see recent posts labeled Photography 101).
Online stores like REI, Cabela’s and Propper are my go-to sources for safari, expedition and adventure clothing. For footgear Zappos is also a great source. All of these stores share a wide selection of products, great customer service and expedited shipping (often free). Their clothing and footwear hold up to the trials and tribulations of international travel. Their products are geared towards trekking & backpacking versus tourist stays in luxurious all-inclusive resorts. There are many nuances to global travel and you have to find your niche to better outfit yourself for the road. Tourists and short-term travellers needn’t be too concerned but longterm trekkers need to be especially careful when buying gear. Pay attention to: functionality, durability and value.