Backpacking Is Never Going To Win Me A Style Award

KL LCCT Airport – 3/11/2011. So i am about to migrate out of Malaysia for the day. I have had a Zantac and feel rather floaty, rather tired, like i want to sleep – never a possibility on an upright metal airport chair. Kuala Lumpur was fine. Amazing food, friendly people and an impressive public transport system; however it lacked a certain vibe for an Asian city. Maybe due to the fact that i was there for over a week waiting for my Myanmar/ Burmese visa. Heading to another big city before travelling to Malacca then returning to KL. I have not been inspired to write but feel compelled to write something, perhaps out of boredom. Airports do that to me. Waiting for a plane to another big city. Tired, hazy really worn out. Longing for a week of space and calm but it may be a while before that happens.

Sitting on a runway in a vehicle full of south-east Asians waiting to fly. I close my eyes and wake up in Singapore, or rather the air space above it. Disembarking onto a stylish carpet and a shiny airport full of pretty ladies in heels, immaculately dressed. Groomed men and a sense of order unlike anything i have seen in Asia. I book a bus into the city, receive a sticker, then am collected and taken to the hostel. A helpful floor-less system without a hitch. Driving through gleaming tower blocks as high as the sky, but not shining due to the blue being full of cloud. At ground level tropical trees and plants are manicured within an inch of their lives. Pristine and controlled. Still Asia?

Walking along Orchard Road past mall after mall after mall. Plaza after plaza. Gucci, Prada, Channel. Very rich, very cosmopolitan, very expensive…by my current standards. Scampering along in my warn vest, faded linen slacks and flip-flops i feel positively out-of-place; almost trampesque. Super stylish Singaporeans in their well taylord  lines and curves, perfect hairlines and designer accessories put my practical travel style choices to shame.

It is so hard to be impressively dressed whilst living out of a bag, using cold showers, washing your clothes in a bucket, sleeping in insect infested rooms and moving twice per week. Backpacking is never going to win me a style award. I wonder if there is a way to incorporate practical beach, mountain, wet hot wear with chi chi high-end style? I am amused how Singapore has pointed this out.

Tonight i intend to visit Raffles Hotel and drink a cocktail in the Long Bar. The best outfit i can muster is a pair of white linen trousers and a 1980’s white T-shirt covered in tiny black stars. They are freshly laundered but still covered in yellow stains the colour of piss from outings in India and Thailand. My accompanying shoes, and only shoes i own are saffron in colour and stained by the Himalayas….At least the saffron matches the stains on the whites. My final accessory is a dirty greasy bag, thankfully in green and black. I intend to visit the hotel after dark so the light does not further highlight the filth.

It would make zero sence to spend and shop as i have no reason to wear anything other than “rags” upon leaving Singapore. Burma is the next country i will visit and i am quite sure that Prada is not the biggest concern in the minds of the Myanmar massive.

Any style tips you may have please forward to


  1. earthdrifter

    Wear the hell out of what you have and then buy new. There’s no sense in carrying more than necessities if you’re moving twice a week… I personally like to have a short-sleeved button shirt w/ collar and a zipper breast pocket. This is where I keep things like tickets, passport at the airport, and an extra cash stash. Most importantly, the pocket gives me flawless access to a pen and pad for taking notes/jotting thoughts…

  2. ruth

    LInen’s always good – apparently it’s the only thing Richard Branson wears on his island so you’re in good company. Love hearing about all your travels (especially this one as we’re doing Singapore in T & T at the moment….) Good luck. Ruth

  3. Julia

    Have enough cash to buy and discard clothes as you need them for each place? Act as if you are rich enough to do that, but just can’t be bothered? Pretend you’re an eccentric artist? Ha! Wait a minute! You ARE an eccentric artist! Work it, baby, work it!

    • pinkybinks

      No problem now!!! Just feeling old!!!!!! Have aqured a funkey shirt from Thailand which helps. Went to a bar called Miss Wong for my birthday and wore my badge xxx

  4. itsme

    Nice statement.

    I once went ten days straight without washing my trousers even though they get dirty within a day’s backpacking in dusty Indian countryside and crowded public transport. Sometimes you can’t help it when you have no idea where you are going to be tomorrow and where you are going to sleep tonight.


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