The One with the Sunglasses

The ones with the hearts

I consider myself overall to be a responsible person (if we omit the summer in Hawaii and losing my bank card in Bali). And generally speaking, I would say I have good luck in the sunglasses department until I turned 25. You see, up until this point, I had only broken one pair of sunglasses- my favorite zebra-striped pair that my mother and I spent years searching for a replacement but to no avail. That was 8 years earlier, and since then I learned not to leave sunglasses on the driver’s seat of the car.

For my 25th birthday, I went with two of my closest friends to Isle of Palms for a beach bash. After a morning of laying out, I got into the water with glasses on my head, was knocked by a huge wave, and it was bye-bye Oscar De La Renta sunglasses. I bought a $5 temporary pair with cheesy hearts on them at Old Navy outlet on our way out. The cheesy hearts grew on me, and I took them on my RTW trip the following March. Those $5 cheapies survived being smashed in my bag and beat up while I overlanded Africa. However, they reached their breaking point (literally) 24 hours after setting foot in Southeast Asia, and I had to say farewell.

Bye-bye heart glasses, time to hit up the markets!

It wasn’t all that heartbreaking (Pun intended. Get it? Heart glasses? Broken?) because with SE Asia’s ample options of knock-off sunglasses, I now had an excuse to shop! After trying on lots of pairs in Siem Reap, I found the ones- a Gucci pair with a squarish shape, rounded corners, and a light brown tone. I was in love! I have a smallish head and have a difficult time finding large sunglasses that don’t fall off my face or consume it completely (my eyeglasses are a children’s size). But these bad boys were great!

Gucci knockoffs from Siem Reap

About a month later we were it a bungalow in Laos and my sunglasses were on the bed. And I sat on them. Eek. I flipped! I was so sad but determined to replace them. I kept this broken pair in my backpack and took them to the markets in Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai, and even the insanely huge markets in Bangkok. I tried on millions of sunglasses. I couldn’t just order them from a sunglasses online shop because, a.) I had no fixed address and b.) they were knockoffs.  It was exhausting for me, and I’m sure even more exhausting for my friend. I wanted the same ones though. In a last minute effort in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the very last sunglass stall we passed, I bought a pair of Ray-Ban knockoffs. I wasn’t about to head to Bali without sunglasses. They’re a bit too wide for my head, but they did the job.

Ray-Ban knockoffs

I never did find another pair just like my “Gucci’s” but if I ever make it back to Siem Reap, Cambodia, I assure you I will scour the markets for those sunglasses (And maybe by then, they’ll carry zebra striped sunglasses as well)!

Do you have an item you got attached to while traveling? Did you have to cut your losses and say good-bye?

18 thoughts on “The One with the Sunglasses

    • Ayngelina,

      Usually my sunglasses last me a while (until recently). I spend up to about $25 on sunglasses, but might be better off sticking to $5 glasses these days ;)

  • I lose things all the time even when I’m not traveling. But the most common victim of my carelessness during travel days is my notebook (I draw skecthes and write random things in it) — which I love and use all the time and that’s why it’s so easily misplaced and left behind :(

  • I have to have the really strong polarized kind (as in the pricey truly polarized kind, not the ones you see it drugstores advertised as such) thanks to having Lasik three years back, but I’m still a sucker for buying cute $5 finds.

    • Kristin, You can always rock the $5 finds when it’s not too sunny. I have an 80s throwback pair that are more of outfit piece than sun protection ;)

    • Andrew,
      I am happy to say that I’ve never lost a phone that I haven’t been able to retrieve. During my irresponsible summer in Hawaii, I lost my phone 3x. I got it, or found it, every time but really learned a lesson after I left it in a taxi and the Chinese taxi driver barely knew English. THAT was a nightmare and took at least 5 phone calls to determine a place we both knew the word for in English to meet at: Pearl Harbor. But, I got it back!!

      • The first cell phone was lost in a taxi, never to be seen again. The second was accidentally knocked into a toilet (carefully retrieved, but unusable). The last one.. oh boy, this was doozy.

        So I am out at this huge club having a good time, drinking more than I should. I spot an attractive young lady and make my move to start a casual conversation. I can’t recall everything that was said, but I do distinctively remember at some point handing her my phone and saying, “This is my phone. You should call me sometime.” And then I just walked off, probably thinking to myself that was rather smooth..

        C’est la vie =)

  • With my face shape I have the hardest time picking out glasses!!! Those “Gucci” ones look really great on you — I’d love a pair but would look ridiculous O:-)

    Any photos of the zebra ones?!

    • Heather,
      I’m with you. Sunglasses are almost as hard to find as a good pair of jeans. I’d love to rock Jackie O sunglasses but I look like a bug! I have to reign it in a bit ;)

  • Hi Laura, first of all you look great with these glasses but I would like to warn you. Most of the time cheap sunglasses and knockoffs don’t over the same protection as better quality ones. Sometimes it’s better to invest in good quality polarized glasses to prevent eye damage.

    • Hi Alison,
      I agree. At home, I try to buy sunglasses with UV protection, etc. Abroad, I’ll take anything that will help! Thanks for weighing in :)

  • Interestingly, I’m also very attached to my sunnies. I bought them in Malaysia and they weren’t cheap. I still have them for 2 years and it was very hard for me to choose the right ones. But these suit me perfectly, I will be sad, when I have to change to new ones, just because they will be outdated :(

    • Yeah, I’m not really known for staying up to date with current trends so you’re one step ahead of me! After all, I’d probably still rock my zebra sunnies if they hadn’t broken :)

  • You have a good face for sunglasses, even if you do have a hard time finding them. All those different shapes look good on you.

    And I have the opposite problem. My head is too ginormous for me to easily find sunglasses that fit!

  • Sunglasses! I can surely relate with this. I used to buy a little more expensive sunglasses until I realized that I’m too clumsy to lose them easily. I bought a 4 USD sunglass in a market in Hong Kong. It’s been with me for 5 months now.

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