today I want to talk about priorities. and by priorities, I mean the material things that I might die if I didn’t have when I travel. after visiting 19 countries (and living in 3), I have happily figured out the bare minimum of what I need to bring to make a house (or hotel, hostel, hut, orphanage, apartment) a home. I do development work, which some people may think means that I’m all peace corps rustic-like and would be perfectly happy camping in the bush with a hot bowl of beans every night of my life. but, that’s not the case (don’t get me wrong, I love local fare. it’s just that I also equally love Gossip Girl). when on the road, I need some creature comforts just like any other. mine just all need to fit into a 50 lbs suitcase. (which BTW, my arm has learned to accurately gauge 50 lbs, give or take a few.)
K, enough. here is my list. Let’s call it “if I forget to pack anything on this SOMEONE will hear me physically beat my head against a wall” list
- baby wipes. you would be shocked how a quick swipe can mellow a person the F out. (where one uses it is totes personal)
- gigantic bag that can go on your shoulder. I like Kipling’s Yuzu large duffel. it won’t rip, it’s lightweight, and actually fits more crap than my trolley can but is considered a handbag. (so you can bring more gummies home, see below)
- signature perfume. yes it’s a pain in the neck to bring. but smell is the strongest sense that can help bring you back to yourself. it’s important, trust me.
- pillowcase. mine has zoo animals on it.
- probiotics. they are your friend. staying regular is crucial esp. when there is a change in diet. i like the acidophilus pearls, can be found on amazon.
- tunes and travel speakers. speakers that don’t rely solely on AC (bring or buy some batteries, yo) are moneyyy when you don’t have enough adapters or when you want your music where you want it. this little one from altec lansing is super small but packs amazing sound.
- my TRX and tennis shoes. this badass training workout can be done anywhere. I will never leave home without it.
- face masks and mani/pedi tools. you will find that you have downtime with nothing to do (i.e. you can’t read anything in the local language, can’t understand anything on TV, and it’s dark outside meaning you can’t leave your place). you’ll be glad you brought tools to primp.
- reusable water vessel. b/c I’m concerned about my hydration and yours. having a familiar bottle will help ease this concern.
now, just as important, I created a list for those who wonder what NOT to bring:
- candy. I have a major sweet tooth. wish I could CRUSH it but it simply cannot be soothed. one of my favorite parts of traveling is stocking up at a local grocery store’s candy aisle. if you need chocolate, don’t worry. Bounty’s are the rest of the world’s Mounds bars, and you can find Cadbury almost anywhere. Plus (and most people know this) haribo gummy options are wayyy better abroad. p.s. yesterday, while perusing said aisle, I saw “Obama Gum” that came in two flavors: “strawberry” and “mix”. what do you say, should I try “mix”?
- hand and face cream in your carryon (this only works if you have an extended layover in europe or asia). you can go to town on the samples at the duty free.
- crappy clothes (or clothes that don’t make sense). I have learned that looking pulled together esp. when traveling boosts confidence, which always gets you perks one way or another. and while I’m on this subject, get rid of your crappy clothes and the ones that don’t make sense… for GOOD.
so there it is. i’m off to the pool to soak up some african sun. in the meantime, tell me, what do you think is important or not-so when YOU travel?
pic: me and all my crap at the Nairobi airport