Merry Christmas everyone!
As the year comes to a close, we are preparing for yet another move to yet another country. However, this time we’re making our way to more familiar terrain – Georgia! One of our all-time favourite corners of the world.
We have fond memories of our time in Georgia and have always vowed to return one day. Needless to say, we’re extremely excited about this opportunity to set up base again in Tbilisi, at least for the foreseeable future. Even more excited to be able to see in the New Year with a glass or two of Saperavi.
Having said that, I’m not so excited at the prospect of having to pack our bags and lives up once again. Over the years we’ve moved around our fair share of countries, usually for work, and usually for at least 6 months. Staying put for at least a little while gives us some motivation to try to make a home wherever we are, with whatever we have.
It can get tiring having to pack and unpack a whole house worth of stuff, so we’ve learned to keep it minimal. We’re not minimalists by any means, but for our last 10 month posting to Tunisia, we each managed to with only 30 kg of luggage plus carry on. It was more than enough to get us by.
As much as we try to pack light, there are some things we always carry with us, without exception. Besides the obvious computers and devices, these are the things that make us feel instantly at home, no matter where we are.
Our ‘mobile home-gym’
The way I see it, there’s really never a good excuse to stay at least a little in shape. Our mobile home gym consists of a skipping rope, Thera band, foam roller, strap on leg weights, chi ball and yoga mat. My yoga mat is the bare minimum, I take it with me even on short trips. I use the Manduka eKO Superlite Travel yoga mat which either rolls or folds up easily in any bag or carry on. As of last year, we also have a TRX, and I must say we are mighty pleased with it. It’s super easy to travel with and so far we’ve managed to find a suitable door to attach it to wherever we go.
This might seem a bit kooky, but it still always makes its way into our luggage and, no matter where we are, there’s always a great place to put it. At the moment, it lives in our kitchen and adds a bit of life to an otherwise very dull space. We also have a stack of our favourite photos that are always up on the wall to remind us of family and friends.
For long-term travels, we usually stay at places with a ‘fully equipped kitchen’. Unfortunately, there are no universally agreed standards on what this means, so often we find ourselves without a chopping knife or at the very least a very blunt one. I love cooking, and nothing is more frustrating than struggling with a blunt chopping knife.
It’s been a few years since we’ve been carrying these guys with us all over the world. They make cooking enjoyable no matter where we are.
Mug and travel mug
Nothing feels more homely than a cup of freshly brewed coffee served up in your favourite mug. I confess, I have many favourite mugs. They are my favourite thing to collect, and make a great souvenir when you don’t really need a souvenir. Nevertheless, I always travel with at least one which most of the time is my slightly more durable Starbucks travel mug.
Our Aeropress has been with us for a few years now. It’s the ultimate coffee maker for travel. It’s lightweight, easy to pack and all you need (besides the coffee) is boiling water. It comes with paper filters, but we purchased the stainless steel filter which is even more convenient for travel.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
But not just any headphones. A few years ago I splurged on a pair of BOSE Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Headphones, and have never looked back. In my opinion, these are absolutely essential for the frequent traveller. They allow you to block out crying babies on the plane, and actually hear the movie you’re watching. They are a dream, not just for travel but also for work and home. Mr Straggler has recently transitioned to the more travel-friendly noise cancelling earphones which I also highly recommend.
First aid Kit
We don’t often break bones or get sick while travelling these days, but we still always carry a first aid kit with us. Ours includes a bunch of cable ties, which have come in handy for shoe repairs (holding the sole on the boot mid way through a hike) and for car repairs (when the bumper fell off our hire car in Tunisia). Another key item we always carry is Propolis.
Propolis is a natural concoction of bee saliva, beeswax and sticky resins collected from tree buds and bark. Propolis is purported to heal everything from infections to ulcers. According to some sources, It’s even thought to fight cancer. We use it to disinfect cuts and wounds, but also take a few drops orally at the first sign of cold or flu. It’s our magic tincture. Read more about the magic of Propolis, from superfood master David Wolfe, here.
A few years ago while holidaying in Nice, we woke up in the middle of the night to find our apartment building on fire. We were staying on the top floor, so by the time we realised what was happening, the whole building was full of smoke and most people were already on the street.
After a brief moment of frenzy in which we grabbed our passports and towels to protect us from the smoke, we hit the stairwell. With the help of a neighbour we made it through the clouds of smoke and down to safety. Ever since then, we always have a smoke alarm with us. Even if it’s never gone off, it gives us peace of mind. Safety first!
My ukulele is a new travel companion, purchased on a recent trip to Hawaii. My one and only goal for that trip was to buy a ukulele and learn how to play it. Although I haven’t quite learnt how to play it yet, I keep promising myself I will one day. So the ukulele comes with us, no question. If nothing else, it makes for a great ornament that adds a touch of homeliness wherever we are.
Are there any items you can’t leave home without? Please share in the comments below!