I’m going hiking in the Himalayas. That’s not something I ever thought I would say, and it’s certainly something I never thought I would have to dress for.
I’m so excited, I’ve been planning what to pack for months. I went to a pre-meet with the other members of the tour last week and while the more sensible ones were discussing carry-on weights and coronavirus I was exploring accessories.
“What about dinners?” I said.
“Jeans? Do you think just a black cashmere sweater and some interesting earrings?”
The PR spluttered into her rosé.
“I bought some suede and fake fur lined lodge slippers by the way,” I said, to no one in particular.
We checked the temperature in Thimphu, Bhutan, which was predicted be between -3 and 10 degrees Celsius. One of the biggest drawcards for me is the possibility of feeling cold, so I am pumped.
I have new hiking boots. I’ve never had a pair before and they are the most fabulous things I’ve ever seen: grey tweed, with black and cream leather plaid pattern and turquoise accents. They’re from Bally, so I have no idea if you are supposed to actually hike in them, but I figure it’s a Swiss company so they do have the know-how, even if they were only road tested on the Rue Saint-Honoré.
Someone mentioned that I should perhaps break them in before we go, which was an excellent idea because I recall what happened to Cheryl Strayed in the book Wild when she set off in boots a size too small, i.e. excruciating pain and loss of most of her toenails.
Having splurged on the boots, I found a fab parka in Zara, made from recycled plastics for $69 in bright fluorescent orange. Bright orange is not a colour I would normally choose, but I figured if I get separated from the group my search for the elusive snow leopard, they, and the leopard, will be able to spot me.
I went mad on another website and bought camp socks (who knew such a thing existed) a beanie, and long ribbed gloves that have slits in them for texting, genius, and for posting Instagram photos of red pandas and barking deer and possibly my dinner.
I also have a very fetching olive green bum bag for $7 I found in Kmart, which if you squint in the right light looks a bit Prada Sport.
“You’ll need hiking pants,” said the PR.
Oh. I had no idea what a hiking pant is. I went to Katmandu and had a look at their selection of what looked like Americans would call ‘casual slacks’, but no, I couldn’t see myself, or my bum, in those. Hideous.
Sports leggings? I’ve never worn those either. I made a trip into the very unfamiliar Lululemon and suddenly a whole new world of casual wear opened up. I had absolutely no idea women were paying $179 for yoga pants.
I reached for a pair of rust Lycra leggings, because that’s a very in colour apparently, and astounded myself in the change room with how awful I looked. I got them in black, with a pricey long line singlet that will cover my bum.
You have to be a team player.