10 THINGS I CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT
Recently I’ve taken a four-month break off of travel to settle into a comfortable life in a quiet town. It’s been nice, mostly.
I do miss packing and unpacking the bags. I miss tossing away ripped up socks, giving away paperback books, and moving what’s left of my big shampoo into a small little shampoo thingy.
Some things are essential to have packed and ready to grab when I’m on the road. I will not include the obvious things like a camera, computer, passport, etc. These following are the little home run hitters that are easy to forget about, but always needed:
1. DENTAL FLOSS
I like to eat. I like to eat meat. I like eating late. My teeth are spaced fairly far apart from laughing too much. Stuff gets in there and I need to get it out. I’ve often been wandering the streets in search of floss. I now always keep a spare in my bag.
2. A GOOD BOOK
One of the best ways to remember a book is to remember where you were when you read it.
OK, this should be #1 but I don’t want to admit it.
4. ROGAINE FOAM
In October of 2006, at the age of 25, I emerged from a hot shower in Berkeley, California only to notice that my hairline had shifted. Every guy knows where they were the first time they noticed it. It’s a bit like finding a lump. I immediately got on a regimen to combat hairloss. Eight years later I am happy to say that the troops are holding steady. The foam is not cheap, and often my wonderful family has to mail it to me, but I always have it, and always use it.
5. A SILK SCARF
Taking a note out of Prince’s book, I began traveling with a silk scarf about five years ago after purchasing a boxful as gifts to send home from Beijing. One evening I tucked one into my t-shirt to keep cool on a humid evening. It worked wonders keeping my shirt from sticking to my neck.
6. A DRIP COFFEE MAKER
In the US, coffee is everywhere- and often free, or at least very cheap. In Asia, people frequently pay $5 for a cup. I’ve been forced to pay $10 once (in Busan, South Korea). Drinking coffee can be an expensive habit over here. But, when it’s raining it’s the best thing to do.
I constantly crave peanuts, even when not traveling. The flavor reminds me of being on a train, just as Wild Turkey may remind me of being on a plane. Peanuts are a great appetite suppressor. I couple of handfuls and it’ll hold me over until I reach my destination. My personal favorite peanut is the spicy Sichuan sort that can be found in China and Taiwan. In addition, peanuts are natural and healthy. The best travel snack, hands down.
8. SHOE POLISH
I don’t travel in sneakers. I can’t. You’ll find me in expensive leather boots (I’ve bought on discount). I’ve made three pairs of boots last over the past six years of travel with great care. I polish them weekly, especially during rainy season.