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Cute Shoes Are Useless...

...and other lessons from three months traveling the world.

This is a fun Q&A in the NY Times today with Jada Yuan who spent 3 months doing the world travel thing.

Posted by Mark
Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
1824 posts

Nice fun article.

Nothing wrong with having nice, comfortable shoes that also happen to be cute. But taking anything to wear on a trip just because it only is "cute" is just wrong.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
9481 posts

She actually says nothing about the cute shoes apart from the fact that she shipped them home, along with with other "cute" things she packed, in favor of more practical wear.

I found the most interesting comments were about safety. She said the most dangerous situations she has encountered as a female traveling solo were when she tried to "hang" with the locals ( presumably in a bar). This may be a concern specific to Latin America where she has been traveling.

She also says she felt entirely safe on the "adventure circuit" in Chile. I assume she means Patagonia and I would agree with that. We were there a year ago and saw many women hiking and backpacking solo. These were from all over---Asians, Australians, Europeans, as well as Chilean and other South Americans. The women I talked to all said they felt very safe there. ( As did I, but I am you young and was not traveling solo!)

Posted by Bets
Deep in the heart of Indiana
5332 posts

Lola--I Agee completely and think we should bookmark this article for all the women who ask questions about safety. We tend to blithely respond "of course it's safe and you can do XYZ until late in the evening". This author beat out thousands of candidates for this NY Times job of visiting their 52 chosen places for this year. She's clear, honest, open, while still being open about the need to be on her guard as a female traveling solo.

Posted by andi
franktown, colorado
1319 posts

Fun to read, FastEddie. Thanks for posting; well-written and engaging...plus good information!

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
941 posts

My wife has some real problems with her feet. For years, she would wear terrible shoes which were "cute" and complain. I would tell her to get lace up hiking shoes to be more comfortable, but no, it had to be "fashionable". She finally determined that she had plantar faschiatis and needed inserts to be able to walk. Now she wears good shoes, with inserts, and can walk faster than me on occasion.

When you travel, no one cares what you are wearing on your feet except you. Wear shoes that you can stand up in for 5-6 hours.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
1590 posts

First trip my wife brought boots with a tall heel because she, "wanted to be fashionable in Paris" which was 3 days out of 21. She was ready to ship them home after a week and we laugh about it every time we pack.

Posted by Continental
New York, NY
1432 posts

What an interesting article, thank you. I liked her POV about solo travel. One part got my attention as it is exactly what I do.

What I’ve needed are items (mostly black) that can act as a uniform,
layers to keep me warm

Black is my go-to when I pack because EVERYTHING matches and I can pack lightly because of that. If I want to add variety, I pack a few colorful silk scarves which weigh next to nothing.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
2594 posts

Not cute, but she sure did pay serious attention to supplies of, ah, feminine hygiene. In bulk, apparently. It's an aspect worth asking about for a significant proportion of the population.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2464 posts

Southam, it's an issue that 51% of the world's population has had to deal with at some point, and I don't know why you can't say the word tampon. I appreciated her candor. I am hardly an American execeptionalist, but there are some things the USA does better than any other country, and that's menstrual supplies.

Posted by Wray
New England
1658 posts

Sarah, That could be true, but still the USA does a poor job of it, so sad it is the best...It's time it was brought forward. It is or was a huge part of fill in our suitcases through the years, resulting in packing larger, for many of us. It wasn't the makeup that filled these cases...

And as for the USA doing a better job, well, the present generation is doing a better job with talking about it so maybe eventually. Love these women's videos: Ladylike Maybe they will do a video about packing this large portion of our suitcases. Have any of our guru packer's dealt with it?

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
3583 posts

I have seen a number of young women recommend menstrual cups (easier to carry) on their YouTube packing videos, especially longer-term travels.