It’s been four months since my last epic trip. I know, can you believe my Big Island Adventure was that long ago! My soul is restless again with thoughts of hitting the road again. I have my eye on South America in the fall, and a big trip to Europe the following summer. Every time I come home from a trip, I’m always trying up my preparedness and packing list game for the next time. You would think after over-landing across Africa, or living out of a backpack for a year I’d have it down, but there’s always something. Women have this unshakable reputation for packing everything plus the kitchen sink even if it’s for a weekender. Less is more gals, we just don’t need that much stuff! Swap out those clunky, unnecessary items for something that could make the difference between feeling miserable, and having the time of your life.
1) A Fake Wedding Ring
What, like you haven’t faked it once or twice! In all seriousness, there are plenty of places around the world that frown upon unwed couples shacking up and if you’re rolling up to some random village on the island of Sumatra in the middle of the night looking for a place to lay your head with your partner, you might end facing an inquisition if you’re not married. Call it paternalistic, call it sexist, North America is not the centre of the universe, and neither are its cultural practices! So pack a little bling, nothing that says I’m married to an NFL’er, just something modest and easy to slip on and off under the right circumstances. It can also double as a**hole repellent if you’re out and about and want to be left alone.
Unless I’m traveling in North America or certain parts of Europe, I never travel without my own feminine hygiene products. If you think you’re going to find a decent tampon in the middle of Namibia, rural China or parts of Central America, guess again. Not only is it about comfort, but in many developing countries, companies use dyes and bleaches to treat tampon and pad fabric that can leach into your body and do serious harm. Better safe than sorry!
3) Duct Tape
No, not ‘duck tape’, DUCT TAPE! Just think about how useful this stuff is around the house, now translate that into all the times you wish you had something like that on the road. I’ve patched up tattered backpacks, busted car parts and made a pair of temporary flip-flops out of it!
Nature has this pesky habit of calling women at the most inconvenient of times, in the most precarious of locations, like in the middle of the Namib Desert, or while you’re winding your way along one of the most dangerous highways in Indonesia. If you haven’t heard the good news ladies, you too can wee standing up, anytime, anywhere! Pop that little gem into a ziplock bag before you leave home, and you’ll thank me later. I never travel without it!
5) A Headlamp
A dear friend of mine is going to read this and break out in hysterical laughter because I think I’ve managed to lose a headlamp on every continent. But I keep buyin’ ’em! Never travel without a good LED headlamp, it will prove to be invaluable in so many situations, and in all honestly, I even pack it when I go away for the weekend. It can be used for everything from a rescue signal, to merely finding something buried in the depths of your ruck sack. Oh, and don’t forget to bring some extra batteries!