I find it a blessing to have conquered six continents, and with my sights set on knocking out the seventh I normally always have a bag packed. I am frequently asked how I pack, when do I pack, and what do I pack. In this blog I will let you in on the items you will never see me without.
You asked me what is in my bag, the list is simply:
1) Apple Gadgets– I never leave home for a journey abroad without a fully charged iPhone & iPad. I always leave my Mac at home simply because regardless of how light you may think it is, traveling around in a foreign country with a computer means that that computer is now your best friend because if you’re not staying in a hotel with a safe, it is now traveling with you wherever you go. It is far too expensive to leave lying around in a house or hostel. I always carry 2 charges and keep an extra USB charger cable in my camera bag. I make sure to have the 10-watt plug so I can move the prong piece to insert the international travel adapter.
2) My Kitten Neck Roll– More than a few of my travels have been spent staying with local families in home stays. I almost always find myself in a clean home and treated like a family member. However, despite the warm greeting, when it is time to rest my head at night I do not lay on other people’s pillow. So my Kitten goes where I go for not only that reason but also because airlines do not change the pillows or pillow cases from flight to flight. You may ask why I have a Kitten neck roll. Two words London Carter. My gorgeous niece is the true owner of the neck roll. She uses it on our family vacations but by taking it with me on my trips I feel like a little piece of her is with me
3) Headphones– What is an excursion without music. I always travel with earbuds and an over the ear set. Have you ever been on an 18-hour flight wearing ear headphones or earbuds? It was a mistake I made once that I will never repeat. I do not find the earphones supplied on airlines to be comfortable, so I leave home without two pairs.
4) Socks– Born and raised in New England I have to admit that I am a country girl at heart. Plenty of summers and holidays spent in my momma’s hometown of Snow Hill, North Carolina gave me a beautiful outlook of the South. You can often find me whether it is in the city or the country walking around barefoot. I have more sneakers and heels than I can count, but after a few hours, they are kicked to the side along with my socks and stocking to enjoy the feel of my bare feet pressed to the ground. However, as we all know, airplane carpets are not too clean so you won’t catch me walking around barefoot. This is the reason I never leave home without a warm pair of socks to walk around the airplane in. As many hours as I spend on a plane, I like to feel like I am home.
5) Umbrella– Rain or shine vacations go on, and you’re left to make the best out of a wet day. I will never be caught without an umbrella. Forecasts change and as you’re preparing for 80 degrees and clear skies after an 11-hour flight you might find yourself standing in 70-degree weather with a light drizzle. International traveling is all about adapting. You have to be willing to adapt to different cultures, cuisine, traditions and the WEATHER. I do not travel around the world to sit in a hotel or home stay. I travel the world to explore, and with an umbrella handy I am always prepared to land and hit the ground running.
6) Nikon 1– I love my iPhone, do not get me wrong, but for a long time I have held onto the mindset that I travel too far and too long to capture the beauty of God’s green earth with my phone. So a few years ago I invested in my Nikon and I have not looked back or left home without it since. Certain sites are simply too unique to be captured by a cell phone. For example, the Northern Lights: to capture the Northern Lights your camera must be set to manual and you must adjust your image Sensor (ISO) to 800 so it will create a high sensitivity to light. Next, you turn your shutter speed to 15 seconds and turn on your self-timer. There are a few more steps but you can tell that these steps are far too intricate for the average cell phone. This is the reason why I do not leave home without my Nikon.
7) Book– The older I get the more I fall in love with reading. When I’m dealing with the hustle and bustle of everyday life I sometimes do not have time to read for pleasure. But when I am traveling I do not allow myself to make that same mistake. I often have a few electronic books on my iPad but it does not live up to the enjoyment of feeling the pages through my fingers.
8) Medicine– So for those who do not know me completely, I suffer from migraines and I am an asthmatic. I never travel by plane, train, or car without my asthma pump and prescriptions nearby. This item is pretty self-explanatory as it is a medical precaution. You cannot desire to travel or live abroad without taking care of yourself medically.
9) Glasses– Most people do not even know I wear glasses, but you’ve probably noticed me squinting. I am very inconsistent in wearing them but I always have them within arm’s reach. So when I travel I always keep my glasses and my prescription sunglasses in my carry-on bag. It just seems like the right thing to do.