I am writing from our London flat with a blackberry bush in full bloom hanging over our high fence from the other side like a snoopy neighbour. After extensive research, I have found that there are no poisonous blackberry bush imitations so I went picking. Unfortunately, they have remained sitting on the counter because I am still a little suspicious… Part of the problem is I cannot see the neighbours because of the ridiculously high fence to politely, off-handedly, but not like going-to-their-front-door-kind-of-British-thing-you-don’t-do and ask whether it is safe to eat or make jam from. Not that I could make jam even if I wanted to because unfortunately this flat, although deemed ‘furnished’ came with things that could be better described as ‘cracked’, ‘abused’, or ‘dead’ [For example, the ‘dead’ description refers to the weird fur rug that was left in the living room]. However, ‘this is typical of London‘ I am told by our even more suspicious letting agency…
Speaking of ‘suspiciousness’, I wanted to write a post on travel essentials for the everyday woman to get you ready for a holiday in Europe or anywhere, and anytime of the year, where suspicious, or even more likely dicey, things can happen when you least expect it and so you can be totally prepared, looking effortlessly put together, and ready for the trip of a lifetime. I had the good fortune to have my dear friend, Candace Overlie, come visit me in London for a couple weeks so I was able to get her input as a seasoned traveler as well. She is one of the classiest, and humblest, women I know, so I definitely trust her opinion when it comes to just about everything. The most interesting place she has ever been would have to be Nkhotakota, Malawi. “It is a small town where I got to experience what it was like to live in rural Africa.” Her favorite place is Mombasa, Kenya which she describes as “an incredibly lively and dynamic place.” So, here is our Travel Essentials collaboration:
1. Facial Toner. Andalou Naturals “Blossom+Leaf” Toning Refresher -“Age Defying” and Melvita Rose Water Spray Both mists give you a healthy, rosy illumination!
2. Silk Eye Mask. ElizabethW Silk Eye Mask Look like a master of The Art of the Nap, while tuning out the world and providing darkness for more restful shut-eye and be-gone puffy eyes. This Elizabeth W Mask I love, and ordered in Lavender. It comes in a case which is great to keep it clean while in and out of your travel bag.
3. Moisturizer. Melvita “Aloe Vera Soft” Moisturizer Skin gets dry and chapped on the plane, this aloe vera moisturizer cooly refreshes the skin; even lightly dab a little under the eyes. Also it is 100 ml or 3.4 ounces, so right at the restriction for what is allowed on board your flight.
4. Lip Balm. Kora Organics Vitamin Enriched Lip Balm Simply put, the ultimate lip balm – created by supermodel and healthy living advocate, Miranda Kerr.
5. Cuts, Scrapes, and Boils. Derma-e Skinbiotics Treatment Oil with Tea Tree and Oregano Oil While a cut, scrape, or even a painful boil are never pleasant, traveling can bring them unexpectedly when bumping around on trains, metros, and using public restrooms. This treatment oil is an excellent disinfectant and helps reduce redness, pus, and kills bad bacteria. I love this and will sometimes take a cotton swab with the oil on it and dab on a pimple, too.
6. Canker Sore. This is a remedy my mom has used on us since we were little and really works. Buy one bottle of tablets, and it will seemingly last you forever. Basically take one of the tablets and put it in your mouth on the site of the canker sore, leave it be for a couple of hours and your sore will start to heal itself. Amazing, very natural, and you can swallow the calcium lactate when you’ve had enough and get some internal support as well. Does not taste bad at all, just a little chalky. Standard Process Calcium Lactate Tablets
7. The Best Blemish Treatment. MyChelle Clear Skin Spot Treatment This Blemish Treatment, a tiny dab on those undesirable pimples, goes a long way and is in my opinion one of the best on the market for clearing skin quickly, soothingly, and peacefully (meaning you do not get frustrated your face is not clearing up, and so start poking at your face).
8. Mouthwash. Periowash Alcohol-free Cool Mint Mouthwash It is natural, and has such a strong minty presence it makes me sneeze sometimes when I use it, but I love it anyway.
8. Face Wipes. Yes to Cucumbers Aloe Vera Facial Towelettes and Organic Surge’s “Kiss and Make-up” Facial Towelettes Both are very luxurious feeling on the face.
9. Melatonin. Especially if you are switching time zones, take 5 to 10 mg at bedtime in your new timezone. If you can, get off sleep medication altogether and go ‘natrol’. Natrol Melatonin
10. Immune-Boost Supplements. Viridian Potent Vitamin C and Mercola’s Complete Probiotics Planes and metros trap you in confined spaces where air-born viruses can be easily caught, so do your body a favour and give it a little daily boost. Also, avoid fried foods and too much refined sugar which will suppress your immune system.
11. Liquid Soap. Dr. Bronner Rose Liquid Soap I find it easier to travel with liquid soap than a bar because you are hoping the bar dries by the time you need to pack it again (in the event you are moving around to different places). This body wash comes in travel size, lathers up really nicely, and has a soft scent.
12. When in Spain, always “Solan De Cabras” water. Solan de Cabras Water This water is incredible. When I was first in Spain I found this blue glass bottled water incredibly reasonable and in a few days transformed my skin and hair into silky smoothness. Something magical about it, I promise.
13. Talc-free Baby Powder. Absorbs oil, in your hair or on your face, giving you a soft finish. “Use sparingly,” cautions Candace, “you use too much and it ages you 40 years.” 😉 We are liking the travel-size Talc-Free Baby Bee Dusting Powder
14. Perfume. Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfume I find I enjoy wearing perfume more when I travel, perfume can inspire dreams, and make you feel alive. I love this vanilla scent. Pacifica makes a whole range of fragrances, can pick up reasonably at any Whole Foods.
15. Food Poisoning. It happens at some point in everyone’s lives, and it is more common than people think. I was unlucky to have my first severe food poisoning at a high-end restaurant in Shanghai, and a few years later from food grabbed on the go at an island Airport (which has made me very wary of Airport food altogether). Activated Charcoal (in pill form) is an absolute must-have to have on hand when the chills, fever, and other extremities begin. It binds to intestinal toxins, unfriendly bacteria, and helps flush it from the body and provide effective, fast relief. It is a small miracle to have on hand. Along with this remedy, drink copious amounts of high-quality mineral water to flush your system and avoid dehydration.
2. Nail File. You never know when you will snag a nail.
3. Light Make-up bag. Just to touch up and keep you looking and feeling fresh. Even a swipe of lip gloss can make a difference.
4. Packs of Kleenex. Not simply for blowing your nose, but for when the train runs out of toilet paper or you spill your tea over you or someone else (yes, both things have happened to me).
5. Hand Wipes. Wipe down your tray and armrests. Hidden germs, etc. Cleanwell Hand Wipes and Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes are great lines that offer antibacterial wipes without the extra bad chemicals.
6. Reading Material. You will have so much more fun if you bring a fun, romantic book for the plane ride to get you in the right mindset. Try a Danielle Steel novel if you do not have any good books in mind.
7. Pashmina. Like a scarf, but warmer and bigger because it is made with a certain percentage of cashmere. Obviously, the more cashmere the more expensive it will cost, but a good investment at one point or another. A good colour can also really add to your outfit, and compliment your complexion.
8. Student ID. If you are a student, this is essential. Scores of places offer student discounts, and sometimes they may not advertise it either; do not hesitate to ask.
Photo. On a train from Munich, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland, feeling refreshed and happy thanks to all those travel essentials!
Photo. The snoopy blackberry bush.
Photo. Rose and Candace, London. Riding my favorite, the Old #9 Bus that runs from Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery to Exhibition Road and High Street Kensington.
Photo. Wandering Fort National in Saint Malo, France; one of my new favorite places in the world.
What is your travel essential? I want to know! Share with me in a comment below.
Godspeed on all your travels, near and far,