When I asked what people wanted to read about on Instagram, one suggestion was very specific: “what are three things you’ll never go on a trip without, and the backstory for each?” I had to think long about this one, but since you asked for it…
Most of the things I never go on a trip without are pretty obvious and don’t come with any interesting stories. Like I always pack clean socks because I like to wear clean socks. I also bring an empty water bottle so I can fill it up at a drinking fountain and not spend $15 on one bottle at the airport. But, this post is about three things with a backstory. This post is about three things I pack for a weirdly specific purpose.
A perfume vial with the scent from our honeymoon.
This might be the most sentimental thing I’ve ever done. The week before we got married, one of my dear friends (the amazing Natty, for those of you who know her) came to stay with me for a week. She brought me so many gifts for my honeymoon, including an Escada perfume called Into the Blue. Since this was “pre-packing-expert-Nina”, I brought the full-size bottle in my checked bag. I had never worn it before, so the only association I had with this perfume was my honeymoon trip to Italy. When I got home, I found out this perfume had been discontinued. So I decided to use it sparingly. I emptied out a sample size perfume vial and put some of this into it. I kept it in my travel toiletry bag and it has gone with us on every trip since. We always say that I smell like Italy when I wear it, because that’s the scent we associate with Italy. And yes, I wore it on the cruise for our 10 year wedding anniversary. Uber sentimental.
I like to wear bandannas in my hair and as a neck scarf, so I always would bring one. Now, I bring at least 2-3. Why? After a camping trip where I used 4 bandannas for completely different purposes, it seemed like there were endless uses for these. Now that I know how useful they can be, I bring a lot of them. Let me explain. When we were in Chile, I brought four bandannas. The first one I used one around my neck after I got severely sunburned to protect myself from further burn. I also used this same bandanna to keep my hair back when the wind was crazy. The second bandanna I ended up cutting a hole in for my mouth and wrapping it around my face to keep my nose warm. The mountains were very cold at night, and I kept waking up because my nose was freezing. So, this helped keep my face warm so I could stay asleep. The third one I used as a pee rag. Yes, you heard me right. When you’re hiking for miles with no bathrooms on the trail, and you’re a lady, you gotta squat and wipe on the go. It was also a leave-no-trace place, so I can’t just leave toilet paper. So I used the bandanna, and then tied it to my pack to dry in the wind. I know it sounds gross, but it’s not any more gross than sitting on a public toilet. The fourth one I used like a little towel at camp for drying my hands, wiping things down, setting a sandwich on, whatever I needed. These bandannas saved the day so many times, I just now feel like I need to pack 1 or 2 or 3 or maybe more!
A little notebook and pen.
This is a pretty simple one, but I always bring something to write on and with. For starters, you never know when a brilliant idea is going to hit you. Secondly, I read a lot and listen to audio books when I travel, and there are always quotes or ideas that I don’t want to forget, so I write them down. Thirdly, Jared and I like to play games on the plane sometimes. We like to play hangman, and I usually save these in my keepsake boxes because they’re hysterical. They’re usually inside jokes from the trip, and specific things that I’m quick to forget after the trip is over. Every time I pull one of these old “hangman” sheets out, I usually laugh and say, “I completely forgot about that!” So it’s almost like a comedic journal from the trip. When I have forgotten the notebook, we have played hangman on the plane’s complimentary barf bags, and yes, I kept those too!
So, there you go. Three things I always pack with a backstory. What are some things that you always pack for a weirdly specific reason?