An award, a pair of woolly leggings and a Swiss Army Knife

6 Oct

What do these things have in common?  Well, the very kind Hot Cross Mum has given me the ‘I Love Your Blog’ award for which I am supposed to list seven personality traits.  But as she took liberties with the accepting of her award, and told us about her seven favourite drinks, I too am going to take liberties and tell you about the 7 items I never travel without.

  • First up is the Swiss Army Knife, which divides travellers.  Some don’t like it, claiming it is full of unecessary gadgets and you can’t take it in carry on luggage.  I love mine, and as we can’t travel with three children without checked luggage it always comes with us.  There are endless variations on Swiss Army Knives and mine has a couple of blades, a screwdriver, tweezers, scissors and a corkscrew, all of which we’ve used for picnics, cutting finger nails, extracting splinters and changing batteries in toys.
  • I really feel the cold and have suffered many a miserable evening in a holiday house where we couldn’t properly work out the heating.  I recently discovered merino wool underwear and haven’t been cold since, even when camping in North Yorkshire.  My black leggings are 100% merino wool, machine washable and very cosy but look pretty much like normal leggings so you can wear them under a shirt or dress without looking too silly.  My pale pink long sleeved top is also 100% wool, but looks like cotton and looks the part under t-shirts.
  • For practical and romantic reasons we always take a compass and a map.  I love maps and there is nothing to match the feeling of possibility when you smooth out a new map in a new city.  I always carry a little compass on my key ring, even at home, as it can be useful when you come out of a new railway station to get your bearings.  In a foreign city a compass can be invaluable to avoid you looking like a green tourist. 
  • I can happily travel without my children for a few days.  Of course I miss them, but sometimes it’s really good to have a little break.  I only wish we had more opportunities than the count-on-the-fingers-of-one-hand child free trips that we’ve had in the last seven years.  The one person I don’t want to travel without is my husband.  Travel is one of the glues that binds our relationship and I can’t imagine really enjoying visiting a new place without him.
  • I get nervous if I don’t have a book on the go and would never dream of travelling without reading matter.  A stack of magazines or newspapers will do in a pinch, especially if we’re only going to be away for a night or two, but for me, it’s not a proper holiday if I don’t have a good book, preferrably one that is relevant to the destination.  Reading Leo the African’s description of the Fez of 500 years ago whilst in Morocco made me realise what a special city it still is, I could use his descriptions to find my way around, as the city has changed so little.
  • iPhone: internet, email, twitter, updating my blog, phrase book, currency converter, guides.  Need I say more?
  • I took my first travel photos on a family trip to Disneyworld aged about 9, using a rented disc camera (remember those?) and I have never travelled without a camera since.  The images I bring home are my favourite souvenirs of my travels and I love them.
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2 Responses to “An award, a pair of woolly leggings and a Swiss Army Knife”

  1. Hot Cross Mum 06/10/2009 at 11:56 am #

    Great travelling tips. I thought I was the only one who ever had a disc camera – got it for my 8th or 9th birthday I think and thought it was just the BUSINESS! Clearly, I was wrong as they soon stopped being made!!!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 06/10/2009 at 1:20 pm #

      Disc camera’s were rubbish, but fairly indestructible so great for children!

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