As a journalist I have naturally always travelled a lot. But some time ago I decided to leave my 9-5 job and to spend even more time traveling, following my heart and curiosity for new things. Preparing for what would be an unending sequence of packing and unpacking, I invested in a waterproof Samsonite duffle bag. As soon as I arrived to heavy rain in Taipei, I knew my choice had been right.
Nowadays, the pages in my passport keep filing with new stamps and my luggage keeps getting new scratches and stickers. We make a good team. But my journey wouldn’t be complete or half as much fun without the objects that accompany me along the way. Some might consider my choices impractical but well, here they are:
1. Swiss army knife from my father: My father insists on giving me a knife every time I plan to travel. Mainly for the corkscrew – he wants me to be able to open open a bottle of wine anywhere I go. But on my recent trip to Southeast Asia I found the knife perfect for peeling and slicing mangoes.
2. Buddha of wisdom bracelet and an amber ring from my boyfriend. These gifts mean a lot. Not only are they well chosen, but they also remind me of my man when we’re apart.
3. Rite in the rain notebooks – I picked them up in Portland, Oregon. Their waxed pages are waterproof thus enabling me to write in high levels of humidity or even in the rain. I keep a travel journal and Rite in the rain is my notebook of choice for that. You can fill the pages using a pencil or waterproof pen and these guys will keep your memories on the page forever. Plus, they’re pretty. http://www.riteintherain.com
4. A pair of Nike Free’s: Nothing worse than hurting feet while you’re on the go. These are the most comfortable and lightweight sneakers I have ever owned. I use them for hikes, city walks and working out.
5. Leuchtturm notebook with a University of Oxford logo and some panda-shaped book-markers – As you might have already noticed, I am slightly obsessed with stationery. I think Leuchtturm is even better than Moleskine. It has numbered pages and you can create your own table of contents. German Ordnung at its best. I am currently working on a novel and several articles so this one keeps my notes in one place. I’m also very particular about my pens. My favorite ones are Rotring Tikky and Copic Multiliner SP. I think writing with a good pen on an elegant sheet of paper elevates the whole process into being something special.
6. UCC Coffee filters pre-filled with coffee: I picked up these intricate disposable coffee sachets in Taiwan. I hate instant coffee and UCC has managed to bring the drip experience to every cup – no coffeemaker needed. Plus they’re fun to spread out, a bit like Lego Technic. The UCC company motto is ‘Good Coffee Smile’ and whatever that means, these filters not only keep me awake but also make me smile.
7. Fast drying microfibre towel. Well, sometimes it’s just disgusting to use the hotel towel or you need your stuff to dry quickly at the beach. This towel is great for that.
8. Antiseptic wipes.
9. LG Pocket Photo Printer and lots and lots of prints: Speaking of smiles. There is something about printing out a photo from your phone and placing it in a wallet that makes it more valuable. I make sure to take a whole set of photos of my loved ones everywhere I go. If they can’t travel with me, at least their pictures will.
10. Too many guidebooks and books in general. Sometimes you can learn a lot by comparing what’s been written about a country in an old guidebook from decades ago with the current state of things. That’s what I did in the Philippines.
11. Sunglasses. Important to make a look complete and not to go blind.
12. Sony Xperia Z3. This phone is my most valued treasure. Not only does it take stunning photos but it also keeps me in touch with work and friends. You can now buy a simcard at every airport and doing so will save you a lot of trouble and money.
13. Bose noise canceling headphones and Bose sport earphones. I use the first ones for long flights and the second ones for working out. The sound quality is great and the silence they provide really is something special.
14. Tiger Balm: It relieves pain and muscle ache.
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This article was written by Julia Szyndzielorz.