Essentials for Her

By Nathalie Bibeau, May 14th, 2007

Old Woman
You know those moments in life when you look straight into someone’s face, and you know the face, you love the face, but you think, “W-h-a-t is that face talking about?” Well, every time Lionel and I leave for a trip, I have one of these moments. And for some reason, it always happens when I’m disheveled, usually wearing pyjamas and… standing over a backpack. Packing. It is a nightmare to do in the company of a boy. The poor things just don’t get it. I’m not particularly high-maintenance and Lionel’s a pretty cool guy about these things, but something just happens over the backpack. He turns into Ridiculous Roughin’ It Man and I turn into… a girl.

Leaving Addis Ababa to be on the road for 5 weeks in Africa after being stationary for a few months, “the moment” came again. So, in pure He Said/She Said spirit, we’re airing this baby out. Here is a complete list of what I believe I need:

  • Long sleeves, short sleeves: different styles for different occasions
  • Pants: 3 pairs, different styles
  • Skirts: 2 pairs
  • Shorts: 1 pair
  • Boxers for sleeping
  • Tanktops: 3 (some for sleeping, some for hot days)
  • Bikini
  • Socks, underwear, bra (2 pairs plus sports bra)
  • Shawls: for when revealing your shoulders is breaking cultural codes
  • Head scarf: for when revealing your hair is breaking cultural codes
  • Workout top and pants, in case there’s a gym somewhere or I feel like going for a run
  • Shoes (a severe point of contention): hiking shoes, running shoes, sandals for walking, flip-flops for the shower and the beach, boots for cooler weather in urban settings, and one nice-ish pair for dinners or special events
  • All usual toiletries (soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, hairbrush, nail clippers, shaving cream, 2 or 3 razors, baby powder, shampoo, conditioner, body cream, sunscreen, facial wash and moisturizer), plus… ok, ok, I know this is pushing it, but – Velcro hair rollers and a hair dryer, for emergencies only
  • Aloe Vera for bites and sunburns, antiseptic lotion, flea powder, bobby pins, hair elastics, Q-tips
  • Tampons
  • First Aid Kit with the usual: bandages, Tylenol/Ibuprofen, Immodium, Pepto Bismol, insect repellent, malaria pills, small scissors, safety pins, water purification tablets, grapefruit seed extract and acidophilus (for miracle funky stomach prevention)
  • One towel for the both of us
  • Sleeping bag
  • A few rings, bracelets and necklaces (nothing valuable)
  • Make-up: bare minimum
  • Yoga mat (non-negotiable)
  • Guidebook
  • Mosquito net
  • Novels, 2 or 3 at least, a couple of pens, a notebook for diary entries, personal epiphanies, philosophical breakthroughs :) , and a separate notebook for sloppy notes and e-mail addresses of new friends
  • Scotch tape and glue (you’d be shocked to know how many times WE have used them)
  • Universal adaptors
  • Agenda, chapstick, playing cards, eyeglasses, pocket mirror, MP3 player, earphones, watch, alarm clock
  • Camera, laptop (first time we’ve travelled with one and love it – makes writing and downloading photos a breeze)
  • All necessary documents: health insurance papers, passport photos for visa applications

So, there it is… An elegant list for human travel.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 14th, 2007 at 8:11 pm and is filed under She Said. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site. Add to

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