When we travel, we all have our set items which need to accompany us in addition to the usual items of clothing and toiletries. I recently wrote a post on Beingthebestyoucanbeblog.wordpress.com and travelalphabetabc.wordpress.com about my travel essentials and as I’ve started another trip for a month, it seems a good time to review that list and maybe add a few more items I’ve since realised I like to have.
A scarf: Wherever I go, I like to throw in a scarf which can act as a head scarf if I’m in cultures where I need to cover my head and it can be pulled across my mouth and nose to protect me from smells or smoke. It’s great for covering up legs or acting as a skirt over swimwear. I’ll throw it over my outfit to dress it up when I go out in the evening as then it doesn’t matter what you have on underneath. I can open it up and put a pile of washing in to carry somewhere if needed. There are many uses and it doesn’t take up much room in your luggage. In winter months, it can be a warmer scarf which can then be used to protect your neck and throat against the chill and in the summer it can provide cover from the sun and the heat. I bought this one in Rome this year and unfortunately left it somewhere so I have to resort to my next item when needed. Although, I meant to grab another one of my scarves when I was recently home for a bit, I completely forgot. Once this went missing in the Netherlands I certainly missed it for its warmth when I was in Scandinavia.
My buff: The first time I packed a buff in my luggage was for my 2 month trip to Nepal in 2011 and since then one has been thrown into every suitcase, rucksack or day bag I have travelled with. In fact, there have been times when more than one has gone with me especially when more than one area will need to be covered. I’ve used them to cover my head as protection against the sun or to keep warm, around my neck for the same reasons and also so I can quickly pull it up over my nose and mouth which has been especially necessary when crossing rivers, streets or walking through markets in Nepal and India. When I haven’t wanted my face to be visible then I’ll wear one on my head and another pulled up over nose and mouth and then glasses will also protect from the dust. When I was walking the Camino, I would often soak one with water and that would be either around my neck or my wrist to cool me down. This came in handy when I was travelling in Scandinavia especially as I no longer had my scarf. I used it as a neck warmer and then in the freezing temperatures in Luleå, it was pulled up over my mouth and nose as protection. It’s come with me this time too.
My Spork: The first time I took a spork away with me was either for my sponsored trek to Machu Picchu in 2011 or just a few months later when I went to Cameroon for a year. I always travel with one even during a day out as you never know when you’ll need a spoon, fork or knife and it saves me using throwaway plastic items. I don’t always eat out of an evening whilst I’m away on holiday so it is great to have when I want to buy something from the shops to eat in my accommodation. This one snapped when I reached Bergen and after that I used whatever I could find in the rooms or around. When I returned home I found the other one I had and that is now with me and being used daily.
My notebooks/ travel journals: Whenever I travel, I always pack a notebook to capture my thoughts. The Camino was probably the first time I have written daily whilst away and at the start of the walk I didn’t know how I would use my notebooks but I knew they would soon be filled. I’ve received travel journals as presents for years now as I guess it’s a good present for those interested in travel and this trip I decided to bring them with me rather than just picking a notebook at the nearest WHSmith to my departure point. I’ve made a point of sitting down every evening and writing up the day and I really enjoy that. In fact, I’m sure to be blogging about it at some point along the way. I have my notebooks with me, again ones I collected from home rather than buying new ones (part of the minimalist and intentional view of travelling). I’m still writing daily although I’ve slightly changed what I write about. When I finished the others on the last trip, I typed them up so that I could lose the weight of the notebooks themselves. At the end of my trip, I had a couple of weeks when I typed up my daily entries as I had ran out of notebooks and I have to say I didn’t like that process at all. I certainly write more and am more reflective when I write with pen and paper.
Headspace: My Headspace app is great for me as a companion. My meditation practice is daily and although I’ll often lead my own meditation, I’m also happy to listen to the app especially as it has so many different sessions which I can just dip into. Still relevant and still being used.
My new items this time are:
A cafetiere and a thermos: Last time, I travelled with my Costa travel mug but that had to be thrown at some point. I wouldn’t normally travel with a cafetière however when I got home, there was a present waiting for me containing St Helena coffee and a calendar. Both of which I wanted to bring with me so the cafetière had to be purchased and I was able to get one small enough for travel. The thermos was an idea I had when shopping for the cafetière as I realised I could do with something for hot and cold beverages. It has helped me so far in being able to ask for hot water in the hotels when I haven’t had coffee/ tea making facilities in my own room.
Books: I love reading and prefer physical books as opposed to anything electronic. Last time, I didn’t have enough even when I bought some or found them in hotels. Therefore this time, I brought more than enough I imagine which I brought from the ones I had waiting at home. They are mostly the free books I’ve collected when they have come with magazines so I know that I’ll be happy to pass them on once finished.
What are your essential items?