Tomorrow I will be setting off, along with 29 other Lancaster University students, to take part in an exchange programme with the Goenka World School in Delhi. The trip is designed to forge links between Lancaster and Delhi, educate us with cultural outings, teach us about Indian politics, broaden our international understanding of business, increase Lancaster's standing in Asia, etc etc.
I have been presented with a problem. What on earth am I supposed to wear?
This is not a superficial complaint. Much time has been spent stood in front of the veritable wardrobe jigsaw, trying to fit pieces together. How to contend with blistering heat, possible monsoon rain, potentially offensive knees? What to wear casually verses what to wear at night? All from a student's wardrobe that comprises of clothes designed primarily, as one of my fellow India-goers put it, for the appreciation of 'tits and leg'?
Whilst we are attempting to avoid stereotypical British traveller faux pas in India, another 30 students will be doing the same thing in Malaysia. A shopping trip revealed my Malaysia-bound friend staring at the changing room mirror in massive bright blue trousers and a pink top that could only be described as tent-like. 'You look,' our other companion commented, 'like a sad clown.'
But newsflash! I've scoured around the shops and found that appropriate dress for Asia can in fact be found!
The answer is scarves.
Honestly, scarves. I had never realised quite how much of a lifesaver they could be until, whilst mentally debating how to best get away with the bare shoulders provided by a maxi dress, I threw a scarf over my shoulders. Et voila, modesty!
I would recommend any traveller to an antique land stocks up on scarves.