Every backpacker usually only packs the bare necessities to keep the weight you have to carry around for the next couple of months as light as possible. Even though all the listed items are adding unnecessary weight to my backpack, I cannot travel without them. After all, they are reminders of my life back home. I might be traveling on the other side of the world, but I would still be connected to my former life(style). Carrying these things with me make me feel home no matter where I am. For sure, every backpacker has his very own five personal items he cannot travel without…
On my trip, I already carry many electronics with me. For starters, there is my reflex camera with two different lenses, one wide-angle and one zoom lens. Cameras and lenses are quite heavy, but for taking once-in-a-lifetime shots and for capturing memories for the rest of your life, they are essential and therefore indispensable. For sharing my travel experiences with friends and family back home and all over the world, I am keeping an online blog for what I also packed my laptop. Adding charging equipment for camera, laptop and phone, overall I carry around 5 kg of electronics with me. If this was not already enough, I could not abstain from my speakers. I love music, I need music; it is no option to listen to music through crappy laptop speakers. Thus, I just had to pack my portable speakers, of course. Another 250 grams, unnecessary, but totally worth it. Even though I am not playing loud music all the time, especially not when I am sharing a dorm, but every now and then, they totally make my day. Especially when my mood is down for whatever reason, I put my music on speakers, listen, sing and dance to it. All the sudden the world is wonderful again and my mood instantly better. Sometimes it can be so simple! Plus, when you are spending the evening with a group of travelers on a guesthouse’s rooftop or at the beach, you rock the night if you play music in high sound quality. Everyone will be grateful for your speakers. Nobody will doubt the necessity of carrying speakers with you any longer. That is for sure.
Most female travelers I have met so far always complain about how it was impossible to travel with style. They are totally wrong. Of course, you do not want to carry a pair of chic shoes with you only for three fancy parties you might attend during your trip. You also do not want to pack your best clothes from back home. After all, they will suffer a lot while you are traveling. Depending on how long you will be on the road, they might not even survive the whole trip. Holes, more and more, bigger and bigger; spots that you cannot wash out anymore; shrinking clothes due to bad washing machines; bleaching out from all the sun and saltwater. Consequently, most travelers do not take their favorite clothes with them although from time to time they might miss them and wish themselves some beautiful clothes to look gorgeous again for just one day. At the end, most of the travelers pack pragmatically. Clothes should resist different weather conditions; clothes should fit comfortable, better too wide then too tight. That is exactly how I packed my backpack as well. Nevertheless, it is possible to travel with style and look good anyway. All you need are some nice accessories to spice up your look. Packing some nice earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, or hairbands. They do not weigh much, but can make quite a difference in your appearance. Trust me. It is worth carrying them with you.
Besides the jewelry, I also added some makeup to my cosmetic bag. Of course, while I am traveling, I am not putting makeup on every single day. That just does not fit into the lifestyle of a traveler at all. It takes too much time to put it on, it will smear all over your face anyway when you are going for a swim or just sweating in the heat. You do not really need it. Actually, you do not need it at all. After a while, you might look like an entire different person anyway. Tanned skin, brightened hair, maybe even spreading freckles over your face. Your look is changing, with or without makeup. Nevertheless, I packed eyeliner and mascara. It is not much to carry, but it can add up a lot to your appearance. Especially when I am going out for a drink or on a party or if somebody asked me out on a date, I do not want to feel like a filthy traveler anymore. I want to look beautiful again. Even if I just put a little bit mascara on my eyelashes. That is already enough. It not only makes me look better, but also feel better.
Peppermint Tea and Drip Coffee
Traveling is all about tasting new food and drinks. Trying things that you have never even heard of before. New spices, new smells, new tastes. Southeast Asia is paradise for food explorers. All different kinds of rice and noodle dishes, vegetables, soups, fresh juices, teas, sweets, pretty much everything tastes new. I definitely love the Asian cuisine and I enjoy discovering new dishes every single day. Nevertheless, I miss some familiar tastes from back home. For example coffee. I am a total coffee addict. Without my coffee in the morning, I am a mess; the whole day will be a mess. Finding coffee that is actually made out of real coffee beans and not a ‘3 in 1’ instant coffee mix is quite challenging in Asia. In more touristy places, you will find Starbucks or other café chains where you can finally taste some real coffee again. To be honest, I am not a fan of those café places. If I cannot find a local small café that loves and appreciates coffee as much as I do, I will pack my travel coffee filter out of my backpack to make my own drip coffee. I always carry ground coffee and my little plastic filter construction with a cup retainer with me. Enjoying freshly brewed coffee is my personal taste of home while I am traveling. Not only the taste of real coffee flavor, but also the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Mmmhh! Delicious! Well, I do not only carry coffee with me, but also peppermint tea. Why that? Well, normally, I only drink tea when it is cold outside. Until I discovered the healing effect of peppermint tea when you are hangover. After a night of too much drinking, peppermint tea is my number 1 helper the next day. Carrying a whole pack of teabags is totally worth it if I want to keep on having nights out.
Smoking kills. I know. Even so, I cannot help it. I am addicted to it and I enjoy inhaling the blue dust. Especially when I am traveling, it feels pleasant to arrive at a new place, to hold in for a moment and to enjoy the calming effect of a cigarette. Asia is not only a food, but also a smoker’s paradise. You will find cigarettes for not even a fifth of what you are usually paying for it in your home country. Nevertheless, I would not smoke the cigarettes in Asia. Smoking itself is already a very bad habit, but smoking the cheapest of the cheapest cigarettes is even worse. Who knows what they put inside of them. Probably everything except for tobacco itself. That is exactly why I stick to my hand rolling tobacco from Germany that does not contain any artificial additives at all. This way I know at least what I am actually breathing in…