I always bring...
Best regards from another Journeywoman... Kerry in Minneapolis
||Lots of extra
I also carry zip lock bags, large trash bags, a small
alarm clock, little bottle of Woolite and drain plug
for handwashing, small photo album of my family, friends
and dog to share with those I meet along the way.
My packing list also includes antibiotic cream and
alcohol wipes, small sewing kit, bandana, sunscreen,
tweezers, glue stick to stick little bits of memorabilia
into my journal and my Swiss Army knife (this last
only in my checked luggage or it will be confiscated
by airport officials).
Make copies of all your travel documents and leave
then with someone reliable at home. Carry the original
plus one set of copies with you. Record numbers of
all your credit cards and travellers cheques.
The brand, "Smartwool" makes great, comfy, breathable
socks. They're a bit expensive, but they dry quickly,
will save you blisters and they last for years. Buy
black silk liner socks for your European city wear,
then use them as liners inside your cushier socks
for hiking, etc. An added thought - it's frequently
colder in hostels so if that's where you will be staying,
bring those little running and tennis footies to wear
in bed. They make a world of difference.
Get a compass and pin it on to your daypack or whatever
you carry around every day. Even a little, cheap,
pin-on number will save you endless blocks, even miles
wandering out of your way in the wrong direction.
This little device saves tons of cash when all you
want is a cup of tea or a quick cup of soup. And when
you may be feeling a bit sick, you can brew a packet
of herbal Cold Comfort Tea. Of course, you may need
an adapter plug depending on where you are, but they're
small and inexpensive too. These heaters have dual
voltage, so there's no need for a big, heavy adapter.
Always carry water and some food. Trail mix, energy
bars etc, dried soup packets, tea bags are cheap and
small to tote. I've learned the hard way that every
train does not have a dining car and that sometimes
there are unforseeable events in a day that will leave
you hungry and crabby, etc. Not fun! I try to be prepared
for (almost) anything.
I bring little treats to give to people who are nice
to me along the way. Since I live in Minnesota, I
carry a little ziplock bag of tiny, inexpensive loon
pins (our state bird). My new friends love 'em. In
Canada, I'm told that if you call the office of your
member of parliament, they often have Canadian pins
for you to give away.
Buy a little portable radio and listen to local music
on the beach or from your tiny Paris balcony, etc.
Set the mood, learn the language, know the news and
weather, dance up a storm!
||A toned body...
Get in shape before you go. On the road is not the
place to do it. Take the stairs at home and you'll
be without surprises when you find there's no elevator
in your Amsterdam, 13-floor-walk-up, very quaint,
Carry a tiny, spiral notebook easily accessible in
your jacket pocket or daypack. I write notes for myself
before I leave the hotel. That way, I don't have to
look like a tourist with my map and guide book out
all the time. Someone gives me directions and I don't
have to rely on my memory. I have a quick place to
jot new notes; concert times and locations, thoughts
that need to be entered into my journal later. See
a great place to eat dinner, but it's only time for
breakfast? Mark the intersections and café
name to have for later when you can return. I have
a whole collection of these little books.
I sleep with my moneybelt or travel wallet in my sleeping
bag if I'm staying at a hostel. Don't leave these
ultra-important documents for even a minute while
you go to shower. Take them always and keep them on
your body always. On a train, keep your bags locked
an open mind and friendship...
Finally, let's all watch out for each other on the
road. Let's always be sure to step out of our proverbial
boxes and ask questions, speak to new people, learn
something special every day and go the extra mile.
Hope my hints will help. Carpe diem. Seize the day,