It’s a 7am flight. I queue up and wonder: What ever happened to the Golden Age of Travel? There was glory then in the journey itself, a celebrated experience answered by passengers with sartorial expressions. Airport halls, rail stations, and boat docks were the catwalks of the time. Journeymen understood that luggage, attire, comfort, and class were all inexplicably linked.
The decline of passenger standards since those days, is glaringly obvious with the mass of disheveled faces and sweatpants swarming around me. But the elegance of James Bond, Downton Abbey, Titanic, Hitchcock films, or Murder on the Orient Express, need not be exclusive from our own travel affairs.
The recent turn of the season necessitates movement. It’s time for change, to shake off the dust of hibernation, to find an adventure. Laugh, giggle, and add sunglasses to the day’s repertoire. It’s sunshine and fresh water, the softness of cotton and cashmere, a surge of creativity, activity. The opportune moment to infuse elegance and style back into the art of travelling.
As for me “I’m homeless” I tell people with a disarming smile. If you’re dressed smartly, it deflects any trace of seedy imagery. Rather one comes across as merely sorting out one’s international affairs; a true journeyman, a Man of Mystery and Intrigue. It helps that the statement isn’t all that misconstrue – I do live out of three black leather bags.
The last apartment grounded to my name was a breezy studio with a wraparound balcony above the Levinsky spice markets of Tel Aviv. I had two leather bags then and a couple of suits. I ripped open the door, left the keys swaying on the doorknob, and walked out, bags shouldered, into the light of a hot October day. I dove into the back of a cabbie headed to the air-conditioned Departure hall of Ben Gurion Airport.
Tel Aviv – Provence – Berlin – London – Brussels – Berlin – New York – Houston – Edinburg – Austin – Houston – Edinburg
Winter passed in a frigid blur of cities and airports. Amongst all that, I’ve been pleased with a luggage addition. Three leather bags now – solid luggage being crucial to living on the go – and still a couple of suits, I follow a fundamental rule: Pack light and dress smart. Suits. Shirts. Ties. Toiletries. Passport. Work gear. Yes, the precious articles slightly crinkled upon arrival, but why voluntarily suffer the sub standard levels of the wardrobe?
The phone rings. It’s time to repack. The leather bomber folds into the bottom of my trusted weekender; I’ll pull it out for the Italy job. The dress shirts next, Italian milled Egyptian cotton and beautiful to the touch. A black tie for dinner in Istanbul. Always have a black tie for black tie evenings. I pack the dinner jacket but slip into a travel suit. Toiletries on top for airport security, and photography gear and a spare shirt in the rucksack to carry on. The itinerary is yet to be another flurry of destinations.
Edinburg – Houston – New York – Berlin – Istanbul – Athens – Milano – Brescia – Roma – Brescia – Milano – Berlin – New York
We’ve perfected technology and the mode of travel haven’t we?; one can even pay to enter space these days. But how do we perceive the in-between spaces, the dash “-” between the cities? I refer to the platforms and the corridors, the queues and ticket lines, departure halls and arrival exits. They’re painted quite bleakly through theoretician Marc Augé’s definition of “non-spaces.” And assessing the fashion visuals around me at 7:13am, I’d quite agree.
But oh, ladies and gentlemen, fellow travellers and journeymen, it could be So. Much. More! But ultimately, that potential is explicitly a personal responsibility. For true journeymen, it never was, nor is today, simply a matter of traveling in a certain flight class, but rather a holistic approach that governs their entire lifestyle from doorstep to doorstep.