The Island of Lost Clothes

When you live your life eternally rummaging through a suitcase around the world, although you end up with an interesting collection of ticket stubs, post cards, knick-knacks and foreign hot sauce, you are also left with an astounding lack of clothing.

Most of my trips have encompassed a strapped-on backpack, not a rolling matching suitcase set, leaving me with no other options but to recycle clothing over and over again, mercilessly wearing them down until they have only two options to deal with their remaining shelf life – get abandoned or get lost.

Abandoning clothes at various airports throughout the world due to one too many holes, a lack of effectiveness of the sitting on a suitcase for those few extra inches of space, or simply the obvious end of an item never makes me feel guilty – instead, it makes me feel like I got my money’s worth and I actually made an economical purchase in buying something that I kept until its unfortunate end.


Not everyone makes it through customs.

However, in my possession, besides the fact that most of what I own turns to dust, the rest of what I own simply disappears which does make me feel an insurmountable amount of guilt. Dresses, sandals, boots, shorts and tops all mysteriously vanish as they journey across the world with me, almost as if they decided all on their own that it was time to part ways and move on to a new, nameless owner.

There aren’t many things that are more frustrating than using time and effort shopping for clothing, spending hard-earned cash that could easily, and possibly more responsibly, been spent on food, and creating a place for it in an already minuscule closet only to have it evaporate into thin air and leave one forced to think back on trips weekends and weekends ago, wondering whose car or whose hotel room it could possibly be living in. I find myself constantly digging through my own laundry room, trying to remember the last time I’ve seen an item and questioning if the dryer is really eating things like I’ve always suspected.

Just today, I realized that a piece of clothing I brought with me on a weekend away was missing and I unapologetically harassed the concierge desk at the hotel asking if they had it stuffed in their lost and found. They seemed baffled that someone would call in for anything other than jewelry, wallets, car keys or other irreplaceable items, but for someone with limited time and money as myself, even this is good enough reason to inquire.


Someone lost one two many t-shirts.

As I began to deal with the loss of yet another item, I began to really wonder where these things were ending up when I realized I was keeping my own island of lost clothes – things I had (embarrassingly) found or been given that had once  belonged to another. A tank top a friend found on the side of the road at Syracuse University, a red dress the same friend had stolen from a laundry room and sent to me, accompanied by a clever poem. A bracelet I found outside of a dining hall, a designer top an old employer had passed over to me after digging through her exceptional closet.

They were just faceless items, but like what I currently had in my own closet, I truly hoped that my past things had found new homes somewhere else on their own island of lost clothes. I hoped that someone had found them, probably a 14-year-old girl that fit into my stuff, and felt like she was having a pretty lucky day in the fact that she had just scored some nice thing for absolutely nothing.

Clothes are clothes and things are things – and they don’t carry real memories like we do. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t have history. And I, for one, like to think my own things that have been left globetrotting about have quite the stories to share as they jump from closet to closet and country to country, soon to be left in the hands of yet another relentless traveler.

A Life Of

I’ve always just wanted to travel. 

This is a phrase I hear often, mostly from people who hold down full-time jobs and have a salaried income and are looking to settle down with a house and a dog and what could be considered a normal life, a real life. Even though I am all for the average person branching out and seeing the world; visiting new countries and meeting new people who live lives completely different from anything they have seen before, it still makes me a little nervous to hear this.

For some, travel is something they want to hit on the weekends, something that, for perfectly good and logical reasoning, is not worth giving up stability and a place to live for. They want to book a trip to the beach for two weeks a year, spending a couple well-earned days soaking up some sun with a fruity drink in their hand, or maybe even still visiting somewhere new and kind of scary and exciting.

However, when I hear this, I’m the one that gets scared because I know that is never going to be good enough for me. I know that two weeks a year, a measly 14-day break from my desktop computer and my coffee cup, is just not going to cut it, no matter if the destination is the Jersey Shore or New Zealand. To me, it’s not funny that some can’t wait to finally get to work just so they can begin counting the hours they can go home and do it all again the next day. It’s not ironic, it’s just very sad.

Right now, the seams-of-your-pants, no-strings-attached, washing-clothes-in-the-sink life doesn’t feel within my reach, which seems odd because in theory, this should be easy, at the least more fun, than nine-to-five cubicle life. However, it becomes remarkably easy to attach yourself to a detached normal life, one that involves a morning and evening commute and patent leather heels. You can really do it without even thinking and barely noticing, trust me.

But what I do know is that this isn’t the end for me, and the time I have spent trying to find my place in the big scary world and finding the perfect suitcase and crafting the perfect travel pitches has not been in vain, even if today, it all seems like another lifetime and the next chapter feels impossibly far away. People say that life is short and that they should enjoy it – I actually feel the opposite. Life is incredibly long and if you spend it being bored and complacent, it is a slow-moving dragging of the feet to nothingness.

For some, two weeks is fine (although four would be nicer). But for the rest of us, we would rather face a little uneasiness and a lot of fun instead of a lifetime of simplicity and typicality.


How To Be Homeless

As of today, I can confidently say that I am a semi-functioning, fairly responsible, well-on-my-way adult. I know how to boil water, I do my own laundry (and nails), and I have a full-time job that I have to wake up obscenely early for. However, adulthood notwithstanding, I still insist on acting like an absolute homeless person from every Friday at 5:00 pm to whenever I happen to wander my way home on Sundays, obviously in time for dinner.

Being that Long Valley sucks, I make my way to (anywhere else in the world) each weekend, relying on cheap food, draft beer, sleeping bags in the trunk of my car, and the extreme generosity of my poor friends to make my way through this three day nonsense fest. Luckily for you, dear reader, I’m about to share with you how to make your time on the road as easy as a casual day at home.

1. Sing for your supper. Literally? Well, you can if you want to, but if the sound of your voice makes dogs cry, then I more mean along the lines of making it worth the while for your friends. Yes, they love you– they’ve been with you in the good times and the bad, the sober and the not-so-sober. However, even still, your hapless body on their couch drinking all their soda isn’t the most pleasant of sights. So, do what you can to help them out. Offer to drive, insist on paying for their drinks, tidy up their room while they’re in the shower. Don’t take the fact that you’re technically a “guest” for granted– guestdom doesn’t exist until one of you actually has money. In the meantime, you’re a good-for-nothing freeloader, and remember that and act accordingly. Be the one who leaves their living room cleaner than you found it.

2. Make their friends your friends. There’s one thing I can say for certain – the person who stands in the corner sipping on a Ginger Ale is never the person invited back for a second visit. Your friends may love you, but they don’t want to babysit you. They don’t want to be the one who has to entertain you. Even if they, or the night, isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, pretend you have been best friends with their friends for years. Be chatty, ask questions, and be friendly. Remember that unlike people you meet at school or at work, this is your one shot ever to win someone over that you probably won’t ever see again, but your own interaction with them will prove a lot to your friends who don’t want to be the one feeling guilty because you’re off moping on the other side of the bar.

3. Don’t just hand over your dollars. When on the road, it’s easy to drop money on stupid stuff because you feel like you’re on vacation. If you’re off every weekend like me, you’re probably not on vacation. This makes it imperative that you do not constantly splurge on nice food or constantly forget your toothbrush and have to buy new ones. So scope out that free beach, bring a couple snacks that can possibly work as small breakfasts, and for Christ’s sake bring water so you don’t have to keep buying those overpriced $2 bottles. A little extra planning pre-trip goes a long way.

4. Scope out free things. Once again, with a little extra planning, you would be shocked at how much free stuff you can snag. For example – this weekend, I casually walked by the beach patrol stand and sort of used the beach shower alongside brightly-dressed families on vacation as my daily shower. Nbd. Getting dressed in the car and doing your makeup in public bathrooms is all in a day’s work.

5. Don’t be afraid to get a little scummy. When living on the road, you can’t sweat the small stuff. Would you rather be changing in your room than in the backseat of your car in a crowded parking lot in broad daylight? Yeah, probably. But consider all your options, and when that’s your best bet, shrug it off and remember that we’ve seen it all anyway. Think logically, figure out who you can bug and where you can go to get what you need, then take it with a grain of salt and act confidently and unapologetically.

Living out your car isn’t the most glamourous of things. Your car quickly becomes full of garbage and sand, as well as every outfit you could possibly need, and you can often be found with your hair piled on top of your head and carrying a lot of bags. Scummy? Sometimes. Tiring? I would say so. But exciting? Always.


I don’t know why but I feel that this photo is very relevant