I was sitting in a hostel room in La Paz, Bolivia last year when I overheard the conversation of a group of fellow female travellers in the dorm.
They started to criticise another traveller they had met because she ‘had packed a dress’ in her backpack.
Apparently according to this group of women this was a scandalous offence and made her not a real traveller.
I had an urge to jump down from my top bunk and open up my backpack for them to see that I travelled with many dresses and skirts.
These girls seemed to think that unless you went out and spent hundreds of dollars on cargo pants and hiking gear to wear the entire time you travelled, you were not a real traveller.
Well….what even makes a real traveller?
Over the years what I pack into my backpack as I travel has changed dramatically and has also lessened dramatically too.
But I have never understood why some travellers make fun of others for what they pack into their bags.
It has no bearing on your life so don’t worry about it.
If you meet a girl who chooses to take a hair dryer and straightener and five pairs of shoes with her, let her.
Unless she is constantly making you help her carry her bag because its too heavy then don’t worry about it, it has no bearing on your life.
I am a skirt and dress girl and find that I feel most comfortable when I wear them.
In order to feel good and enjoy myself on my travels the vast majority of what I pack into my backpack is skirts and dresses.
There are enough things to worry about when you’re overseas like bus timetables and visas and having a good time, that I would rather feel good about myself so that’s why I wear what is comfortable to me.
For someone else it might be straightening their hair, having that glass of coffee each morning or doing yoga or writing in their journal.
For some women they might feel most comfortable only wearing hiking gear during their travels, and I don’t judge them for that, so why do some women feel the need to judge others based on what they travel with.
Everyone is different and one of the best things about travelling is meeting people from all over the world with different outlooks on life and ideas.
So lets stop scrutinising each other and instead celebrate that more women are travelling and that maybe the girl who packed all of the dresses might lend you one to wear out later that night.
What you wear does not make you a real traveller- what you choose to do and the experiences that you have are what should have a bearing on your travels.