I am not a hat person. I have tried. Over the years, I have bought darling straw hats in a variety of colors and designs and beautifully made knit hats with matching scarves and baseball caps and it’s all to no avail.
I’m just not a hat person. I want to be. I love the idea of hats. Especially when I travel. I have hat visions when I travel. Visions that I am going to become a completely different person than I am at home.
A hat person.
When I went to the Caribbean for the first time, I knew I had to have a hat. One hand holding a luscious tropical drink, the other holding my large, straw hat as I posed by the ship railing in my silky summer dress that was blowing gracefully in the tradewinds. I had no idea what tradewinds actually were. But they were blowing.
I bought a cute straw hat with a black ribbon that tied under your chin. For the tradewinds, you know.
I tied it onto my carry-on suitcase for the plane and knew that I looked precisely like I should be on the cover of a magazine but the hat would not fit under my seat and I had to cram it in the overhead bin and it was generally much more trouble than it was worth. I wore that hat when we climbed the waterfall at Dunns River in Jamaica. It was hot, it got wet, it got in my way when I had to take it off for pictures and I was so, so over the hat. I gave it to Goodwill when we got home.
When I went to Bermuda, I had to have a hat. I would rent a scooter and I would wear a baseball cap with my long, blonde ponytail hanging out the back and it would absolutely be the most perfect travel vision you have ever seen. When I realized the cars and buses were not extremely obliging about accomodating the scooters, I gave up on that idea and when I realized just how tight and uncomfortable that baseball cap was, I gave up on that idea as well. To Goodwill it went.
When I went to Alaska, I knew I had finally found the ideal occasion for a hat. I would be traipsing around a glacier and my cute little warm wool hat and matching scarf would be the very picture of fashion. Only when I tucked all my hair up into the hat, I looked remarkably like some sort of odd and completely hairless alien and not in a good way like that bald girl on Star Trek. In a bad way. A bad, bad way.
But when I went to Paris last fall, I didn’t have any hats at all. When I climbed the Eiffel Tower and looked out over the city spread out like a fairyland to the Seine, I wasn’t wearing a hat. When I ordered a delicious hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream and sipped it as I relished the fact that I was actually in Paris, actually on the Eiffel Tower, actually had Euros in my pocket and actually knew where to go to buy some fresh bread and cheese for dinner in Paris, I wasn’t wearing a hat.
And I had a hat epiphany.
It wasn’t all about the hat at all. It was all about the experience itself. It was a revelation.
It didn’t last long.
I just bought a red straw hat that perfectly matches my darling red bathing suit for my Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Liberty with some girlfriends in a couple weeks. I’ll wear it by the pool with my hair tucked up and big gold hoop earrings and some fancifully named tropical drink in my hand.
Or maybe I won’t.
Either way. With or without a hat.
The experience will be fabulous.