#BasicBackpacker Part II
Well… we are back to truly backpacking through Southeast Asia. What I mean by “truly backpacking” is that in Europe we had a “home base” that we could fly home to and change clothes, repack, wash our clothes and our bodies at a regular interval. However, that life of luxury is a distant dream because, as of now, we are back on the road with our backpacks, day-bags and #basicbackpacker moments ready to share! This list is a combination of things that I have finally caved in and bought after I once thought unnecessary, as well as tendencies that I have developed along the way.
#1. Rain Backpack Covers: Fool me once rain (and maybe two or three more times) but NOT AGAIN! Before we took off on this leg of the trip (Southeast Asia) we both reminisced on a moment we had stuck in Panama. We were looking for a hostel, getting absolutely poured on. It’s an uncomfortable thing to get wet, but it’s not the end of the world, but what is the end of the world… is when your bags get drenched. And really the only thing worse than getting soaked to the bone is a bag full of damp; ready to mildew clothes tightly compacted getting soaked along with you.
So, because of this wonderful memory, we bought overpriced REI rain covers for our bags and boy are we glad that we did. We have definitely been caught in a rainstorm once or twice and guess who ISN’T getting wet. Yup, our bags. We might not look too cool to you TUMI carry-on travelers out there but to the backpackers of the world… we look smart. And at this point, that’s really all you can really ask for.
#2. Water Bottle Holders: Other once insignificant items that has also been a GAMECHANGER, a water bottle holder (please see picture below). At the Elephant Nature Park we were given one of those “kind of gooberish” holders for your water bottles. It is pretty much just a pouch for your water with a strap so you can tote your water along with you wherever you go. Mainly because you are working in 100+ degree heat and they don’t want you dropping dead because of dehydration (pretty genius if you ask me).
Well, I used to always look at these contraptions at the little stands in the market and think to myself that it’s not really necessary and kind of just a tourist thing to get, pretty much a waste of money. But then, those opinions changed when we got one for free and wah lah, it became a part of my daily outfit. I seriously do not know how I lived my life thus far without one. It is incredible and extremely convenient as well as life saving if you are in 110-degree heat doing manual labor. I love it and I’m bringing it home and might even bring it to work, or walking the dog, or anything for that matter.
#3. Microfiber Towel (Quick dry clothing in general): Speaking of items, I thought were silly and unnecessary….we held out on this purchase for a while mainly because we didn’t think we needed towels and they were way too expensive.
But we eventually caved and ended up getting one
for this trip and it’s quite simply magical. And when I say magical I mean it doesn’t even retain water, the water just vanishes to air, better known as ‘magic’. I’m still working out the technology on these genius towels but while I wrap my head around that, I can fully admit that the purchase was well worth it.
That goes for all quick dry clothing really, because trust me once you get caught in a monsoon…. you can only hope that you don’t have to sit in sticky damp clothes for the whole day.
#4. When you just “Can’t be Bothered” anymore. I definitely started feeling this after our first volunteering place in Southeast Asia, where I realized three fundamental things.
- Washing my hair everyday was unnecessary
- Wearing makeup is pointless
- Doing laundry….. laughable
I like to refer to this turning point as the “can’t be bothered” phase because it’s when I just kind of stopped caring about a lot of things that seemed trivial to me at the time. Therefore, I would go a week without washing my hair, never wear makeup because it just became a hassle and realistically, most places we were in didn’t actually have mirrors … so that’s a win win. And lastly, not doing laundry until you absolutely had to, and even then wearing swimsuits as underwear to give you an extra 2 or 3 days.
#5. When you come to the point, where you just start leaving stuff behind. A book here, some old shoes there, extra pair of shorts or shirts you won’t need because at the end of the day you really only wear 5 items in your bag consistently and the other 15 items… you’ll never wear again when you get back home. So you just leave things behind and you know what…. it feels good. And it feels good because not only are you cutting some kilos off your bag and making it lighter to carry but you’re creating more room, just incase you absolutely NEED that extra souvenir you wanted to buy.
So that’s it for my basic backpacker moments but look out for my upcoming blog post “My Travel Tips” to get a packing list of essential items that you might not think about when you are about to embark on an international backpacking journey.