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Archive for June, 2010

Travel Hat

Being very fair skinned, I need a sun hat when I travel to tropical places.  The wider the brim, the better.  Wide-brimmed hats don’t pack well, and I hate having one more thing to carry on the plane.

Since hats in most of the really sunny places I go aren’t too expensive, I’ve just bought them when I got there. I have a very lovely wide brimmed straw hat that I got in Veracruz and a gorgeous straw hat from Northern Ghana.  It was kind of a pain getting them home uncrushed.

My master plan involves paring down unnecessary possessions so I can be mobile for travel or even expatriating after I retire.  I don’t want to end up with a hat collection, even though they’d make a nice wall grouping.  I also like to be a bit frugal, so I don’t want to spend money on hats every time I take a trip, even if they aren’t expensive.  I needed to find a sun hat that I could fold up and put in a suitcase so I wouldn’t have to keep buying them.

As always, the internet solved my problem.  I keyed in “travel hat” on a Google search recently, and the solution popped up immediately.  There is now such a thing as a crushable, packable travel hat!

This is the one I chose.   I was a bit skeptical at first, but after taking it out of the box, it really did pop into shape without looking crushed or wrinkled in any way.  Impressive!

It’s made of polyester grosgrain ribbon, which means it’s light, airy and breatheable.  The five-inch wide brim is excellent at keeping the sun off your face, and it’s rated as SPF 50.

This is a really pretty hat which, with the wide graceful brim, gives you a sort of Audrey Hepburn feeling.  I absolutely love it!

I ordered mine through Amazon, but Amazon now lists this hat as unavailable. You can order it direct through Jedzebel.com.  It doesn’t seem to have a name, but is known only as NH04.  List price as of this writing is $20.00.  Worth every penny!

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I love photography, and as a travel junkie, I love looking at travel photography. But even though a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, pictures can’t  tell the whole story.

It’s frustrating to page through images on Photobucket, PBase, Flickr or somebody’s travel blog and not know enough about what you’re looking at. And that’s why, if I’m given a link to someone’s travel photos on a photo sharing site, I only give them a cursory glance, if I look at them at all.

I want to read an informative blog so I’ll know the story behind the pictures.  I want to know how you came to meet the stranger with the beautiful smile or the lady with the beautiful scarf, what you said to him and what they said to you.  There are many photos and photo collections which can stand alone without explanation.  But even if they’re hanging in a museum, there’ll be a little card next to them with a few words on it.

Whether you go to an exotic, off-the-beaten-path location or visit Paris, there’ll always be scenes that warrant a bit of explanation.  There’ll be things about your images that you, the traveler, will know but the reader who hasn’t been there won’t have a clue.  What does that sign in a foreign language say?  What about the body language of the person in the photo?  Sometimes even what a person is wearing has meaning in another culture. These are the mysteries in the photos that need to be revealed in words.

No matter how beautiful the images, I lose interest much  more quickly if there’s no story to accompany them.

On the other hand, don’t go overboard. When travel blogs turn into history essays, I also lose interest. A little historical background is good. If I want to know more, I know where Google is.

What I really want to know is your travel experience:   what you felt, who you met, what you ate, what occurred.  And, of course, I expect photos to illustrate each and every one of these things!

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