In a way, I started this blog because of the world traveler hat.
A few years ago, a small press had an essay call with the prompt Me in a Hat. I wrote an essay about buying this hat in Prague and how it changed my outlook. (This is the trip for which I bought the MVP hat, before deciding it was too delicate to travel).
When I first started thinking about this blog, in which I would wear every hat and tell its story, I thought of that essay as a model. Not all my hats have an interesting origin story, but I wanted to write an autobiography in hats, describing what the hats had meant for me in my life, not only the circumstances under which I bought them.
In that first essay about this hat, I wrote that wearing it made me feel more like the world traveler I longed to be, instead of the somewhat scared and lonely first-time visitor to Europe.
In the years since I bought the hat, because it is so light and packable, I've brought it on many trips. In fact, I seldom wear it when I'm at home, so this hat always means travel for me.
I recently went to England and France, where I wore the hat to ward off the surprisingly warm and sunny weather.
I've taken this hat on just about every overseas trip. I don't always have pictures of myself in it, but here are a few:
When I initially bought the hat in Prague, it was not only my first overseas trip, but the first city of the first overseas trip. I felt very uncertain. In the essay, I write: "The city looks different from under a hat. I feel more like the sophisticated jet setter in my imagination, alive to new experiences." I've had the good fortune to go overseas again several times. And if I'm not completely the sophisticated, confident world traveler I imagined myself becoming after purchasing this hat, I can look back all the places this hat has been with me and know that I've come a long way.
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Ann Hillesland writes fiction and nonfiction and collects hats. In this blog she vows to wear (not just model, but wear out of the house) every one of her hats, blogging about their histories and their meanings for her.