Welcome to Gypsy Wednesday! Every Wednesday, I strive to highlight all the juicy morsels related to travel and beyond.
Travel and womanhood use to be a difficult task. Not only were women having babies during the pioneering days, but carrying rucksacks and cooking for the entire family in the sparse outdoors was commonplace. By the 1960’s, air travel for the post-war business man exploded. Women of wealth could partake in this luxury as well. Fashion and grooming solely occupied our sisters. Then the feminist movement sprung from the radical 60’s and 70’s, but so did commercial passenger travel, economy and business were spoken in tandem at an airline booking desk.
The post-modern woman travels for varied reasons. To remold societal roles, reinvent ourselves, or simply relax and enjoy. Our questions aren’t strictly gender or status oriented, but practicalities. How to deal with our cycles? What’s the best shampoo to bring? Birth control?
As for me? I’m somewhat of a hedonist and believe it’s more than acceptable to pack a few items that bring enjoyment. So, fair readers, I am opening up my toiletry bag.
1. Long or Short?
The debate rages on whether to go long or short on your round the world trip. I’m most happy with long hair. Can’t help it. It’s me. The solution? Lush shampoo bars.
I started using these shampoo bars prior to traveling. You can buy a durable tin to hold them in and Lush accommodates any hair type. Made from natural ingredients, you’ll never guess how long a bar lasts me: 6 to 8 months. Oh, and these also double as a bar of soap. The icing? Lush has stores in 39 countries (including India). Pssst.. they also sell conditioner bars. That’s my next purchase when my current conditioner runs out. www.lush.com.
I always bombed at applying a full made up face, and firmly believe it’s useful for time and place. Don’t wear it during a jungle expedition, the mozzies will eat you alive. However, if you’re going out for dinner or clubbing, I always pack three essentials: MEL. Mascara. Eyeliner. Lash brush.
Eyeliner can bring a “wow” factor to tired eyes. Mascara brightens them drastically, and the brush can smooth out applied mascara or bushy eyebrows. Powders, foundations, eye shadows end up weighing down your pack and can shatter leaving a mess.
3. Tampons, Ick
I gave up tampons years ago in favour of the Diva Cup. This is a dream come true for women travelers.
It only needs to be emptied twice a day or it can be pushed to every 12 hours. Use anti-bacterial camping soap and water to clean it, let it air dry, and put it back in the handy carrying case. Why do tampons suck? For one, disposal is challenging in some countries and tampons add to the landfill. A Diva Cup will last up to 2 years. Finally, the one time I brought tampons mosquitoes would not leave me alone. Like a nightmare stalker. The final score was 10 bites on my rear end! Not pretty. Important tip: make sure you’re using treated or bottled water to clean it, not straight tap water! www.divacup.com.
4. Don’t be a Backpacker Fashion Mistake
Especially important if Europe is part of your itinerary. If you want to parallel a Spanish or French dresser, be forewarned – they are always put together.
Readers gave me grief for the flats, but I’m keeping them. Once in a while it’s nice to walk around in something other than Keens or hikers.
They are comfy, but still have detail to give them flourish. Paired with leggings or jeans, Europe will be a breeze.
Other items worth having:
A scarf adds instant chic, and can be used for warmth or a head scarf to block out sun.
Jeans are comfortable and a terrific way to fit in (dependant on the country). Look into quick dry jeans or don’t wash them on a travel day. And fashion hounds, one pair will do, not two. (I made that error!)
The ultimate rule here is ensure these pieces don’t interfere with pack weight. Items that can be rolled or take up minimal space is the key.
5. Eau du Sweat
Rather than smell like a long-haul trucker, get this:
Patchouli essential oil treats acne and for my purposes – wards off mosquitoes. Yes, you are sensing a theme. My flesh is caviar to the mosquito world. I do everything possible to stop them. You’ll smell divine or reek of a rehashed hippie in a tie-dye American Apparel T-shirt. Either way, send mosquitoes to the grave!
6. Desert Hands
So multi-purpose! It moisturizes, removes make-up, and soothes cracked skin. A major essential in my toiletry bag.
7. Sex Education
I tend to select Trojan, a product with an upstanding record. A woman can’t be caught without proper contraception.
8. Diamonds Are Forever
Instead of wasting a travel budget on replenishing deodorant, choose The Crystal.
Composed of all-natural mineral salts, The Crystal neutralizes odor before it even begins. This baby never depletes or breaks off. A godsend! www.thecrystal.com.
What I love about travel is the menu of choices women have. Whatever you bring, or wherever you go – it’s truly up to you. And we can look fabulous doing it.