There is an over obsession with practicality when it comes to packing. When on the job they talk about us having ‘grab’ or ‘run’ bags. These bags, as their names suggest are for when you have to run from an escalating situation. These bags must be practical; I get that. They are full of practical things like travel documents, water, medical kits, snacks, etc. Sometimes though I just really want to be impractical.
I’m sitting on my bed amidst a mild explosion of clothes as I prepare to pack not for a deployment to an emergency but for a long overdue holiday. My friends and I are going for one week to Queenstown, they are planning to ski, I am planning to indulge in red wine and cheese. So I have one week, it will be cold, the roads potentially slippery and wet and I will be walking a lot. Logic tells me I should be practical in my packing. My instincts, or perhaps it is my inner diva is telling to misplace my practical walking shoes and take my high heels instead.
I like to travel light and after two passports, three backpacks, six continents and thousands of photos here’s my recently remodeled and refined list of feminine essentials that can fit neatly amongst the practical.
#1 Heels. Stuff practicality, on every trip there is an occasion requiring you to look fantastic; an unexpected dinner invitation, a formal work thingy no one told you about, or simply that you need to feel human after four days hiking. Whatever the unknown reason take the heels.
#2 Lace not cotton. Time at a laundrette or use of hotel laundry services is rarely an option, or at least it wasn’t in the places I’ve been. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve simultaneously washed my hair and underwear in the shower. I do recall that cotton takes a long time to dry. Lace will dry over night with the added bonus of making your feel like a lady despite the layers of travel grime clinging to your skin.
#3 Perfume. Seem indulgent? I can tell you from experience that there are some climates where it doesn’t matter how much deodorant you apply or how many times you use body wipes you’re going to…well I don’t need to smell it out for you. A little squirt of perfume here and there will make you and your nose feel a lot better.
#4 One decent top. It can be a t-shirt, shirt, jumper, jacket, it doesn’t matter but it’s important you look good in it. There are going to be days when you don’t care how you look and more often than not I don’t. I’ve been a communicator for over a decade and am pretty skilled at keeping myself behind the camera but when every one around you is a potential photojournalist things can get tricky. Do yourself a favour and have a decent top on the ready or be prepared to spend hours un-tagging yourself from FaceBook photos. Oh and if anyone has any advice on how to avoid triple chin-dom please share.
#5 Scarves. I love scarves. I have three draws full of scarves, winter scarves, summer scarves, going out scarves, and my newest addition travel scarves. Forget diamonds, scarves are a girl’s best friend. They can dress you up, cover you up, warm you up and if we want to side-step back into practicality they can not only wipe the sweat of your face when in ridiculously hot climates they can also be impromptu bandages for those Bear Grylls first aid moments.
#6 Eyelash tint. OK, this isn’t so much an item to pack as something to do before travelling. I’m not great with make-up and nothing is more embarrassing than wiping your face and seeing smears of foundation on your sleeves. Having your eyelashes tinted makes you look made-up with out the daily hassle. Add a touch of lip balm and you’re good to go.