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A New Set Of Clothes

Sometimes you just have to do it.

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SOFIA, Bulgaria- I made a conscious decision to travel with filming equipment rather than clothes. I have six cameras but only two pairs of pants and two shirts. Travel is a continuous exercise in decision making, and when going out to the tropics of Southeast Asia for a long-term tramp towing around a nice blazer and dress shirts and slacks is dumb.

However, every once in a while I need to attend an event or do a project where I need nicer clothing. So it’s a balancing act: do I carry nice clothes continuously not having to use them sometimes for months and risking them getting ruined and taking up much needed space or do I just buy a new set whenever I need it.

I’ve been going the later route the past couple of years.

I can usually push the boundaries and get away with just wearing a button down shirt and jeans, so the times when I need something nicer only come around five or six times per year. I’m not going to cart something around that I’m only going to use so sparingly, so I often find myself walking down the high streets and malls of the world looking for a fast set of clothes.

My criteria:

Kind of ugly.

Browns, pinks, and oranges.

Peaked lapels.


Collarless — which removes the necessity to wear a tie, which bother me immensely because I still don’t understand what they do.

Pants that well made that can jump over the line between informal and semi-formal — black jeans or khakis.

That’s about it.

Usually I drop around $150 on a new set of clothes. I do this a couple of times per year. $300 is worth not having to cart around an extra set of clothes that I rarely wear … plus I usually get paid well for events that I need to dress up for so I file this away as a business expense.

I’m going out to Oman tomorrow for a conference and then I’m going to do a project out in the desert. The following month I give a talk and moderate (or something?) at another conference in Baku. This new set of clothes will fill the bill for both events … If I don’t destroy it tramping through the desert first.


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Filed under: Bulgaria, Clothing, Travel Diary

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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