Style errors I made on our trip.

I haven’t travelled much before: Japan was my first overseas experience. And I definitely made some mistakes in packing for the trip–errors I will not make again.

1. I didn’t bring any heels.

I knew we’d be walking all over the place. And the Japanese are short. And my cousin we stayed with is (maybe?) 5′ tall…I wanted to be comfortable and avoid towering over people more than necessary. Good ideas, but it meant that a lot of the time, I was frustrated with my footwear and didn’t really feel like myself when we went out to dinner.

2. I wore things that were appropriate for the weather, but that I wouldn’t typically wear out.

In the summer, I wear a lot of vintage ’60s and ’70s wrap skirts for things like running to the store, gardening, etc. But they’re not really what I wear for going anywhere else. It was also too disgustingly hot for jeans, and I’m a huge fan of rolled-up jeans with cute shoes. So again, I didn’t really feel like myself.

3. I forgot to bring my sunglasses.

Squinting is never attractive.

4. I brought a modern, practical bag instead of the teeny vintage things I normally carry.

Yes, it was practical–great for traipsing around a foreign country during the day with maps, camera, bus passes, passport, bottled water, sunscreen, etc. Less great for popping down the street to the store or heading out for a quick bite to eat. Next time, I will bring a vintage purse for evening adventures.

5. I overpacked, but with things I didn’t really want to wear.



Wouldn’t this have looked so much better with cute wedges?

Things I did right: remembered to bring–and apply–sunscreen so I didn’t get burned. Had multiple lipstick options, which helped me feel at least a little like myself. Brought several cute sundresses, which I love. Reminded myself that none of these people are ever going to see me again, so who cares what I look like, anyway? Stop being vain!


At this time next week…

Tim and I will be in Japan.


And nervous.

I have never travelled overseas before. We’re going to visit my cousin Becky and her husband, Andrew, who have lived in Japan for the last six or seven years. Becky and I are both only children, born just six months apart. We spent loads of time together when we were really little, and she’s the family member I have the closest relationship with aside from my parents. We were raised like sisters up until she moved to Ohio when I was in fifth grade. After that she lived in Florida. And travelled. She’s been all over the place–it’s one of the things I admire about her. If she wanted to go somewhere, she went–no waiting until she had a boyfriend/husband/tons of money/whatever. She just went. So I completely trust her to guide me through my first international adventure.

Tim has also travelled a decent amount. Aside from time in Okinawa when he was little (his dad was stationed there), he’s been to Germany, France, Spain, and Ireland. Between Becky and Tim, I know I’m in good hands.

Why am I nervous? Mostly because I don’t speak or read Japanese. I’m a writer–the ability to use language effectively is part of my core identity. And now I’m going to be illiterate for more than a week. Intimidating. Also–because Becky is petite and classy and has amazing style and I always feel awkward and geeky and unsophisticated next to her. Which is entirely on me, but still. I need to get over it.

But mostly, I’m excited. I can’t wait to see Tokyo and Kyoto. Thousand year old palaces and shrines. Kabuki. The bullet train. Funky things like the ramen museum.  It’s going to be completely different than anything I’ve ever experienced before.