Mary Poppins has her magic Carpet Bag, Felix the Cat has his magic yellow bag, and apparently I have a bigger-on-the-inside Jansport Backpack. Since the majority of today consists of travel — this post is about what to bring when you need to be prepared for the most obtuse situations. Now this is not a manual on over packing, but what the other travelers have used from my pack — earning me the nickname Mary D. Poppins.
It starts with a sling backpack. There is a lot of walking, so whatever you are schlepping across the journey needs to be comfortable. For me that means across the shoulder, but a normal backpack would also work. p.s. This is not a plug for Jansport nor any other pack.
A Deck of Cards. This may sound silly, but sometimes you have a 4 hour train ride and need something to help kill the time. It is also a way to show your nerdyness when the said deck of cards are Helveticards. Helvetica….cards…. Get it? It’s a pun. An ace of one, if you ask me.
A Poncho. In Germany it can rain out of nowhere, so you need to bring a raincoat. However, sometimes it is also 26º Celsius and you don’t have the raincoat on hand. Or Yocelyn forgot hers in the hotel, so simply bring a small poncho you can whip out — and you are covered.
Wet Wipes. After walking for close to 5 miles each day, there may be some times that you need to freshen up. One of the quickest way is pulling a wipe out and then you are ready to move onto the next thing.
Advil. No explanation needed.
Notebooks. With all the interesting people you meet, you will want to capture all that they are saying. I used the MFA 10th anniversary notepads, but any moleskin would work.
Pens. For notepads listed above. Multiple, for when one dies.
Sunglasses. Have to protect those eyes, and it can be bright outside. I brought two pairs with varying shade levels. One for full sun, one for cloudy skies.
Snack Bars. If you only have time for a quick breakfast, or you are rushing to an appointment, sometimes you may not have the opportunity to grab food. Add to this, if someone on the trip gets Hangry often (that’s me btw) having food to throw at them is a necessity. I packed KIND bars, as they are small and packed with healthy goodness. Also, being gluten free, Kelsey appreciated the snack when she needed one.
Camera and Memory Card. You will be taking a lot of photos. A lot.
A Jacket. When traveling from city to city, the temperature can vary greatly. The best way to make sure you keep in homeostasis is to always bring along a coat.
An iPad and Bluetooth keyboard. Nothing beats writing the blog on-the-go during your downtime. Be it train, subway or taxi — being able to write immediately after you visit a studio is a sure way to capture all the details while the memory is still vivid in your mind.
T-Mobile Phone. Please mention my name when buying your new plan. But seriously, with unlimited data and text, being able to pull out the phone to look something up or text the family without hunting for wifi was a true commodity.
Things for which I was not prepared:
The magic stick. After searching through 5 different stores for a Chapstick like medicine that can be placed on your feet to act as a barrier against blisters, Kelsey finally found one and rejoiced as now she could walk with no issues.
Traveling with ladies, enough said.
Allergy medicine. There may be some trees or allergies that are new to the immune system and for this reason you need to pack something a little stronger than just your Flonase.
Laundry Detergent Mini-Sheets. There is a limit to your luggage weight. 20kg. This can be a struggle when you are gone for 13 days. Bringing dissolvable detergent sheets the size of a listerine packet helps save money, so you don’t have to wait 3 days for your laundry to return – like Yamna unfortunately had to do.
Extra space in my luggage for books. The previous Germany trip students warned about how many books you will buy, and I had a hard time actually believing that – until I started finding the books. When luggage weight is something you have to be mindful of, you may want to think of bringing a carry on that is large enough to hold the extra weight.
That’s all you will need for the trip. So get packing and have fun.
“He traveled all around the world, and everywhere he went, he’d use his word, and all would say, ‘There goes a clever gent!’ Indubitably!”