Thursday 18th September – Taking Stock.

We are here in Nice for two weeks in an apartment so have emptied my bags to assess.

Mostly when people hear we are traveling for so long they ask where our bags are and are amazed that we are traveling so light. They often comment, as they are struggling off and on trains or up or down stairs they are quite sure they could have done with less stuff themselves. Gilbert tells them we thought about the things that are stressful about traveling and tried to eliminate as many as we could, and luggage at our age was one. We read travel blogs, and thought we’d try. Many ask in detail how are we managing. What have we packed exactly and lots tell us they will give it a go next time they travel. Even tho we have so little, funnily enough, even WE both feel we could manage on EVEN less.

Over half way now and taking stock of my bag. Here’s what it looks like if you missed the earlier pic. The four smaller bags contain, 1) underwear 2) togs and travel towel 3) tops 4) bottoms.
The larger bag contains lightweight stretch jeans, dresses, scarves, and miscellaneous bits.

Outside pockets contain neurofen, Lem sip and similar. A pair of strapy sandals are tucked in the sides. Another plastic beach pair goes on top of this ( you need these for rocky beaches and hot sand or wearing around some places you’re sleeping at where the floor is not as clean as you might like) and I usually wear good Teva walking shoes when traveling.

If we are on the move I have a largish carry/handbag that carries sunhat, a shower proof fold up small jacket, pen and notepad etc, headset for on planes, water bottle, kindle, toiletries and the jean jacket draped over to throw on. The toiletries are what we have to pull out at airports for ‘show and tell’ plus this is kind’ve what I don’t want to lose if someone swiped my bigger bag. I have a smaller handbag that I use when staying somewhere and can tuck away inside the bigger when we are moving that has wallet and ipad and ph.

Most women can’t imagine limiting their toiletries to ten items under 100ml each, which is what you have to do for cabin bags only, but that wasn’t that hard. Lush soap/shampoo takes the liquid component away and Dove make a non liquid deodorant so they don’t count as one of them. That leaves a moisturiser, foundation, an atomiser with a refreshing aromatherapy mix, toothpaste, lip salve, a perfume, face cleanser, hair gel, a body moisturiser and a body scrub I picked up along the way. I also picked up a massage oil which is a mix of lavender and other essential oils when I was with Tanja and if you’re reading this Tanja, it has been a wonderful salve great for cracked heals to sunburn. Lindy and the girls used it to massage each other, as have Gilbert and I. When Gilbert was really lousy and aching I gave him a good deep massage including his scalp and he slept like a baby for hours after, with the lavender doing it’s job beautifully. I’m scrapping the bottom now but a worthy addition if I was traveling again I’d say.

The worst thing about sorting your toiletries is the stupid companies make things in 50ml or 150ml. Rarely 100ml. I don’t want to carry 2x 50 ml and can’t carry 150ml and can’t figure why they haven’t sorted this out since things got tough after 911. I ended up getting the 100ml travel bottles and filling from home supplies which is ok, but the bottles are quite hard plastic and don’t squeeze so well.

Having acquired more things as we traveled I now have seven tops of which I really only wear four, the others being slightly warmer layers, and five bottoms of which I only wear four, the last being the lightweight stretch jeans that are perfect for plane travel. Although weather is cooling slightly and I’m noticing I’m needing more than sleeveless in the evenings particularly, so I think these will come in handy as we end this journey. I also have two dresses. One I bought along the way with a jean jacket and of course my multi talented black cotton nighty with a chiffon over thingy which has been awesome.

Now I look at it I have added a bit of stuff, which is why the bag is getting hard to close. I have added a bikini, a couple of scarves, a white cotton shirt which has been good to wear over anything and a sarong. A pair of baggy light cotton pants. A sleeveless cotton top. A vintage sleeveless dress I love, that is one size too small still :-). The jean jacket. Ohhhh and a sunhat.

I sent back my possum merino cardi with Lindy which I noticed Ren feeling very comfortable in last time we skyped, so I know it got home safely!

One bag and a handbag has been awesome, especially for train and plane travel. No struggling to fit it in the train compartment or waiting in lengthy queues at the airports while the plane is unloaded. We are usually last off the plane, letting everyone jostle each other, go through customs and then walk straight out. Best part.

Worst part? Not being able to buy souvenirs. I’ve heard of people buying whatever they want and having it shipped home. We did that with the rugs and yes that was special. When we thought about this aspect we thought about previous trinkets we had bought on other travels and most of them were tucked away in some draw somewhere or cluttered on a shelf. Like the Chinese tea set that I had a tea party with Sifa and Tara once. He loved it. Go on Sifa you know you did! Trying to get his manly PI fingers around the tiny handles and probably feeling like he might crush them as we sipped on the subtle flavours of the different green teas. It was hilarious! This was in the early days of getting to know Sifa who was soon to become our son-in-law. He probably wondered what he was getting himself into, but played the game beautifully.

But on the topic of souvenirs once again. I have a plan. It’s called Morocco. I’m thinking there is where I will indulge in a Turkish/ Moroccan tea set. Apple tea wouldn’t taste the same in a hefty cup. A pashmina or two and who knows what else will take our fancy. A bigger bag at the end of our journey will be fine. Maybe. See how we feel then….

Au Revoir!

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