The Best Thing About Shopping on Vacation

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You know one of my favourite things about shopping when you’re on vacation? There are no preconceptions or biases about what shops you should and shouldn’t go into. Know what I mean? At home, we tend to slip into autopilot in our everyday lives. We develop opinions about the places around us. Through a combination of experience, word of mouth, and let’s not forget advertising, we create a shortlist of the stores and brands we like, and the ones we don’t.

Like Goldilocks, we decide which shops are too expensive, which ones are too young or too old, and which ones are just right. We end up going to the same places again and again. And sometimes that’s great because it saves us time when we know what we like and what we don’t (imagine having to visit every store every time you wanted to buy a pair of socks or a new white tee). But sometimes, these same shortcuts only serve to keep us locked up in a tiny (albeit fashionable) box.

That’s why I like shopping in new cities, because there are no preconceived notions about which stores to go into and which to avoid. Wherever I go, I try and find a neighbourhood or even just a few streets with no international brands – nary an H&M or Zara in sight. I wander stores I’ve never heard of and I see what there is to discover.

Sometimes I end up in a place where the only thing I can afford is the business card. Sometimes I end up in a shop where teenagers flock in droves. Sometimes I find things, sometimes I don’t. But the best part is, I judge the pieces based on their cut, style, and quality, not on the label sewn inside. And the experience is refreshing every time. So the next time you’re out shopping, even if it’s in your hometown, walk into a shop you’ve never been in and take a peek around. You might find a new perspective without spending a dime.

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