There are a few things that I make sure to never find myself without. Even when I had the full luxury of my car, I always made sure there were a couple of items always on hand. Stashed away in my purse, backpack, or overflowing from every pocket stitched to me, they were there!
Granted, I do leave my handy Chromebook behind if I don’t have my backpack or purse. It’s the one item that doesn’t make every trek out the door. I picked mine up last Spring/Summer from Best Buy for under $130.00 (that’s less than my round trip ticket to Cuba!). It’s lightweight and easy. If something were to ever happen to it, I’d have a conniption, but it wouldn’t be a complete heartbreak to my wallet. I’ve learned my lesson though, best keep track of that power cord! I lost mine somewhere between the LowCountry and the Upstate. Without a home address to have one shipped to me, I had the damnedest time trying to find one at a box store. The multi-use replacement would have set me back $60 if they had one in stock. Luckily, my despair wasn’t lost on the manager and he found me one off a display they were taking down. Phew!
But what else is in there?! Let’s start with the basics.
Cold Bevie, Warm Hands
I have always and will always have a koozie on hand. You just can’t fight the Southern y’all! Typically, I usually have at least 2 in case someone else needs one. There have been times that I have cleaned out my purse to find no less than 8 stowed away. Without a home of my own, there’s about 150 stored away in one of my hidden Rubbermaid bins and a basket with no less than 75 in the backseat of my car. Koozies are clearly my crack.
one possession of all my life is my phone, closely followed by my shellphone cover. It has an antenna, that’s how you know it’s a shellphone and not a seashell. It is my lifeline to everyone I know, my address book, my calendar, my tickets, my bank, work, everything! We won’t even think the unthinkable in regards to that! It is constant worry that I’ll run out of battery. For that reason, even when I have 87%, I run my phone on Low Battery Mode.
You never know! Remember in Greenville when the hotel lost power? Got to stretch it out!
Over prepared, I always have a charging cord with a power cube. If I can’t find an outlet, I’ve got double backups! Two portable chargers are always on hand. One was a gift a couple of years back from Verizon and I suspect it is the expensive kind. Mostly I assume this because it works phenomenally. I can be down to the wire and pop it on. In moments I will be back up to 45%. This charger will go until it has no more juice or I unplug it. I reserve this one for when I see the curtains coming down. My other charger was a fabulous going away gift. It is my go to when I need a boost. Automatically shutting off when I get to a manageable about of battery, it keeps itself charged as a backup for the next time I need it.
You have to keep in mind that the cord to charge a portable charger is different than an iphone power cord! They can’t mix and match!
Probably the item that gets me the most looks is my penlight. It’s not for reading, I have a headlamp for that (best $1 spent ever). My penlight is mega powered and my favorite hack. I love my phone. LOVE. But, not so much on pics in the dark. When lighting is failing me, I shine my penlight over top to grab the shot. It gets lots of looks, but hey! It gets it done! Completely changes everything!
Keeping It Old School: Pen, Pad, Books Without Batteries, and Snail Mail
There is always a book within reach. In my backpack I have 3 more. Notorious for being hard on my books, I prefer a paperback for ease. Nothing lures me in like a cheap book. Just yesterday in the hot tub over looking the mountain I traded a title page with our phone numbers on them with my newfound friend.
I read them, leave them, or pass them along to someone I think will enjoy it. Funny enough, I never listen to books on tape (yes, I stand by “books on tape,” Audiobooks just doesn’t sound right. I know, I’m old). When on the road I prefer to listen to podcasts. A couple of weeks back I shared what I’ve been listening to and what’s in queue based on some excellent recommendations for Travel Tip Tuesday: Fighting the Boredom of 10,000 Miles. When listening, I prefer my other favorite going away gift, my glitzy Kate Spade rhinestone earbuds.
Holding tight to that Southerner, there’s a pad of personalized stationary for a penpal or a thank you note. I tend to send my thank you notes on postcards as I move along so there’s always a few postcards tucked in as well. Of course, I keep a book of Forever Stamps. If I didn’t have stamps on me, I’d never get anything mailed. Being a weirdo I have a favorite correspondence pen (not to be confused with my favorite writing pen) and always a purple pen. A Sigma always writes a sister in purple. Always.
Just like my Chromebook, if situation allows, I have my current favorite notebook for composing. Really, I have 4 in my backpack for various topics. It is never enough. My go to is almost full and I’ll have to find a new one soon. As a backup, I keep a pocket size notebook for thoughts, notes, suggestions, and ideas.
I have this weird thing
about writing, I have to have my hair up or I can’t get motivated. The tighter the pony, the tighter my concentration. When I get really going, I’ll end up with more bobbypins keeping my hair off my face than a gymnast.
Lastly, I keep the map that started it all. It’s rare that I need to reference it anymore for who is located where. Mostly, I keep it always with me as a reminder of how this whole thing got started. It’s a great conversation piece too. When I share the story of stopping at a truckstop in search of a real map and picking up legal signature tabs, people think I’m exaggerating. Until I pull it out! Ta-da!
And that’s what I can’t live without! What do you always have? What can you never venture away from? I want to hear! Maybe there’s something I’m missing!