Preparing for my RTW trip: bye bye blonde


hair color samples by House Of Sims.
Creative Commons license/Photo: House of Sims

Hi. My name is D and I am a Hair Snob.

Really. I am.

I religiously trim my split-ends. I retouch my roots regularly. Whoever gets me in their chair is one hell of a lucky stylist because, when it comes to my hair, I have been known to spare no expense.

And now I’m going backpacking. And not spending money.


I can see this working real well.

It’s funny — if there is one thing in my life I can control  its my hair color. It’s the one thing on my body I can change in a matter of moments. There have been plenty of times in my life (namely during break-ups, impatience and wicked hangovers) when I decided to chop/color/curl/etc. my hair.

When I lived in Las Vegas, I had it good. I did PR for Tonic Salon, where I happened to have my hair done. In trade. Which meant my look changed as often as restaurants opened (or closed).

Every time I stepped foot in the salon, I would walk out the door a revised version of myself. It started simply, I was a Maryland girl with somewhat styled hair. I went to Ruben, the owner of the salon, and he took a razor to my long hair, letting it fall around my shoulders in pretty blonde highlights.

Then, the obsession started.

From there, my hair was every color under the sun — blonde, brown, auburn, bleached and more. I had punches of strawberry blonde that peaked out when my hair was bleached; purple extensions under a red bob; the Rihanna cut before it it became popular (due to the fact my hair looked like I stuck it through a grinder following the bleach); and then, my personal favorite, five shades of red.

Yes, I was a hair SNOB.

But then, life changed.

When I moved to Atlanta, I didn’t have the money to keep up my nasty little habit. I still went to get my hair done every six to eight weeks at Cortex Salon, a charming little Bumble & bumble salon in Virginia Highlands. Only this time, my hair was simpler, more mainstream.

Rachel, my go-to stylist at Cortex, had worked my hair from the dark brown with red patches underneath to buttery blonde and highlighted, and I loved it.

However, as soon as I knew I was going to travel the world, I decided my blonde had to go along with the job. As I sat in the chair and she massaged the gooey brown dye into my hair, excitement took over. I had to do a double-take when my hair was dried — I couldn’t believe the brown falling around the face in the mirror was me — but now I love it.

This new look lets me save money — no roots to touch up, no walking around looking like a bad version of Shakira in Italy. It may not have been my first choice, but, I’m going on an extended trip. At the end of the day, I think it is a pretty fair trade.

In reality, I like my new Backpacker Brown hair … I think it will last beyond the trip.

Published by dtravelsround

Awakening the soul while traveling ... a story of being on the cusp of adulthood.

16 thoughts on “Preparing for my RTW trip: bye bye blonde

  1. Going brown has been on my to do list for over a month now. Part of me wants the change and part of me is just terrified to let go of the blond.

    Luckily I can cling on for a few more months still…


    1. As soon as I made the appointment, I was excited. For me, it was a welcome change and signified something so amazing. Do it!! It will take some getting used to, but you will like it! I think you’d made a fine brunette!


  2. While I went back to my natural brown a while ago–and I LOVE it–I can still relate to the anxiety. I have a super short haircut that I only trust with one hairdresser–so I’ll be growing it out during a six-month stay in France. I’m nervous about the awkward growing out phase when it sits on your shoulder and flips out any which way it pleases, but I’m more worried about getting a botched cut because I can’t fully express my hair wishes in French!

    Embrace the brunette–it’s fabulous 🙂


    1. As someone who had a super short haircut two years ago and has grown it out ever since — bobbypins are your new best friend. 🙂 I totally understand worrying about getting it cut by someone you don’t know. Maybe bring someone to translate 🙂 Thanks for the comment!


      1. I can’t wait to read more about your RTW trip! And if you are planning a stop in Nice/French Riveria, we should definitely keep in touch 🙂


  3. Though I have reddish blonde hair so going brown would have caused an opposite problem, I chose the trip to finally cut my hair SHORT! I have thick hair and since my travels was going to involve alot of time in/on/around the ocean without access to shampoo everyday I knew it was the golden chance to go super short that I’ve always been to scared to try. It worked out great and I loved it (most days)! But now I’m trying to figure out how or if I even want to grow it out. 😉


    1. Wow!! Good for you! Growing it out can be fun – lots of funky styles. Short hair only works on me if I have lots of product, a blow dryer and a flat iron. And, that sure isn’t happening with only a backpack!


  4. You are so lucky. I’m also a brunette but I’m also going grey (yikes) so I’m still going to have to colour my hair but it will need to be with drugstore brands.

    I also need to get my eyebrows waxed and that will be an adventure in itself.


  5. I COMPLETELY understand where you are coming from. While I was living in LA as an actress I religiously kept my hair some fun shade of red and spent loads at the salons…but that’s just not ideal on the road so I also went for a more low maintenance brown color for my RTW and it was a fantastic decision…it just sticks out less in developing countries! Cheers and good luck in your final prep!


  6. I had white blonde hair when I was little. I’ve always loved my blonde hair, but in my late teens it started to go brown and I panicked. I started dying my hair blonde all the time. Until a few years ago when I dyed it dark auburn. Now I LOVE my dark hair. It’s a great, no fuss option.


  7. I can totally relate to this! I was a bottle blonde before leaving on our nomadic journey. I knew I had to go back to my natural color to save money. While I miss my blonde hair, I don’t miss the maintenance and expense.

    However, now that I don’t dye my hair you can see all the greys! Not cool. I treat myself every now and then with a home job to hide the greys but I do miss having those salon visits to make me feel like a lady!


    1. I actually dyed my hair on the road once … made me feel good, except I did such a horrible job! You can bet as soon as I got back to America I booked an appointment!!


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