So what do I bring on this solo journey?
Of course I generally need clean underwear and an extra pair of jeans. But what else is essential for a happy vacation alone?
Here is my list of things I never travel without.
- Ziploc bags - Essential. You just never know. I've used them for laundry, for toiletries, for the remains of a snack that I wanted to save for later.
- Hand wipes - Again. Never know.
- A first aid kit - Usually just involves the hordes of band aids, antibiotic ointment and alcohol swabs I already own thrown into a ziploc (see above)
- Ear plugs - I have been in places that I was sure I'd need ear plugs. Sam's Town, Las Vegas - never needed them. I've been to other places - nice places - where I was on the other end of a headboard that needed to be bolted to the wall. Bring earplugs.
- Bug spray - I don't care what time of year it is. I get eaten by bugs. One of the worst souvenirs is an ankle covered in welts. Not the worst, certainly.
- A fake wedding ring - depending on the situation, I wear a fake wedding ring I bought at Macy's for $10 - looks real, doesn't matter that it's not. Basically it tells people (including old ladies looking to set up their grandsons) that I'm not available. If it gets stolen - no big whoop.
- Camp chair - they're super light and I hauled one along on a sunrise hike a couple of years ago. Never regretted it.
- The journal I'm currently writing in and a fresh one. Last year I ran out of space in my journal. It was a disaster. Of nightmarish proportions. Equivalent to, say, multi-drug resistant staph or an earthquake. (Hyperbole much?)
- Instant hot cocoa - mmmmm
- My iPod - I cannot listen to faith-based radio for 400 miles. I just can't. Not even for curiosity sake. I have a "drive" playlist. It includes some Night Ranger. And Beastie Boys. And some Golden Earring. I'm a total dork.**
- A candle - I don't know why. I love lighting candles when I'm away from home...
- A flashlight - It doesn't matter if you're staying in a hotel. Bring a flashlight.
- A blanket - I have a picnic blanket in my car with a fleecy underside (yay Target!). If I need to use it as a pillow, as a blanket or for it's original intent as a foundation garment for a picnic, there it sits in my car - my trusty blanket. It also happens to be bright red - so I can use it if I need to flag someone down.
- 3 books - I just never know what I am going to want to read at any given moment. Fluff, good fiction, drama? I just don't know. I'm thinking about getting Valerie Plame's highly redacted book Fair Game. Sounds juicy.
- Scissors - you just have no idea how handy these come in...
New things I'm going to try this year:
- My dream camera - Purchased for my trip by one loving and wish-granting genie known as my husband. He's awesome. And really hot.
- an electric kettle so I have hot water in my room for cocoa and soup!
- an audio language lesson on my iPod (Yiddish, if you must know - cause that's how I roll)
**By the way, my playlist also includes Justin Timberlake. And Britney (Toxic). And Ozzy (Crazy Train). Why, oh why do I feel the need to confess to all of th....Salt n' Pepa!!!! OK! And Nick Gilder!
Oh...it only gets worse.
I'm not kidding.
I do have some episodes of This American Life podcast. Does that help at all?