The act of traveling (moving from one place to another) has become second nature to me. It started when I was young, traveling back and forth from Santa Barbara to LA almost every weekend during my Asian Basketball League (yes, they called me Mt. Fuji), and continuing on with high school club tournaments throughout California, college road trips all around the nation and now internationally from one European country to the next. Fortunately for me I’d say I’m now experienced enough to differentiate all types of travel…adventure, work, life…those are my three main categories.
So when asked the question, “What are five things you can’t travel without?” My first question back to you would be…”Well what kind of trip am I going on?”
Here’s the breakdown:
Adventure Travel – For me this would be traveling for pleasure.
1. Hand sanitizer/toilet paper – Who knows what kind of situations you might find yourself in. And no matter what you do and how careful you are…the more you travel the more digestive system stories you’ll have to tell.
2. Ziploc bags/trash bag/duct tape – My professor in college recommended these things before a big class trip to Ecuador. I haven’t traveled without them since. With these items you have endless possibilities…patch a backpack, design a poncho, strap on some sanitary gloves, lint roll your clothes…I’m sure you get the point.
3. Waterproof camera or case – I find that a lot of my adventures include water, snorkeling, canyoning, rafting, sailing, paddle boarding, etc. How could I not document it?!?! Now days it seems a lot easier, with GoPros and such…invest early and it will pay off. Below is an example, I went first!
4. iPod touch or iPad mini (or some other similar device) – Bottom line on these two, they’re small. I hate traveling around from place to place lugging around my computer. I’m not going to need to write a novel, develop software or even watch a movie, so I rely on the small devices to give me internet, listen to music, take a few pictures, FaceTime and maybe play a few games. All I need.
5. Snacks – More specifically trail mix and jerky. Although I’m pretty outgoing when it comes to trying all types of food, sometimes you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere (usually a bus or train station) and you can’t risk scavenging for provision because you might miss your transport, enter snacks. Your moodiness will be lowered, therefore increasing your travel experience and all around happiness.
Work Travel (aka Volleyball Season)
1. Two pairs of court shoes, one cross training shoe, one walk-around shoe – So maybe four pairs of sneaks are a little over the top, but lets be honest, you’ll use them the most. I’ve always been hard on my shoes, and with Europe having the LONGEST seasons ever, I go through two pairs EASILY. Really I should probably bring a third, but those worn ones are just so comfortable.
2. Tape, pre-wrap, band aids, Neosporin – Basically you’re own little med kit. These are just some of the things I use the most, and although you can find it in Europe and your team should have it too, I just find it more convenient and cheaper to always have it with me.
3. Ice packs – The first season I was in Europe and realized there was NO ICE (the horror), I immediately asked my Dad to send some ice packs. Being the above-and-beyond amazing Dad that he is, he sent my these ice packs that are supposed to simulate a bag of peas. Yes, peas.
Here’s a link…
They were the best ice packs ever! And I don’t know what happened to them?! I think I let a teammate use them between seasons and then I never saw them again. Go figure. Now I just go with those old school refillable ice pack things (you know, the ones you see people put on their head in the movies).
4. iPod – Long road trips are often the name of the game in Europe. A solid playlist to mellow you out on the way (for me lets call it a sleeplist) and then a pump-up-put-me-in-the-zone locker room mix, because who knows what they might be playing in gym.
5. Mini foam roller – These things didn’t exist in my college days, okay, maybe that’s not true. But they definitely were not in every training room across the US. Nowadays it seems they are everywhere and after getting spoiled in the summertime, I had to find a way to get one of these body savers back to Europe. In comes the mini. A little over a foot long, this little roller easily fit in my checked luggage and although a little bulky did not take up much of my precious weight. Now rolling out is a breeze almost anywhere!
Life Travels (Heading home, or heading to a new home)
1. Photos – Sometimes I just need to see familiar faces and places.
2. Kindle – Hundreds of stories to escape your surroundings.
3. Slippers – Make me feel cozy and at home wherever I may be.
4. Computer – My direct lifeline to all my homes.
5. Starbucks Via – Sometimes I just want a big cup of joe.