Skip to content

The five things I can’t do without…

June 20, 2013

I’m waiting until I’m out of the country and hanging out in Hanoi before I post my China blogs, being that they are not that complimentary of the government (I find it a bit ironic that Snowdon guy has decided to take refuge in Hong Kong. I’ll post anything I feel like when I’m in the States), so in the meantime, I thought this blog might be useful for anyone planning a long term trip. I’ve been on the road now nearly five months and things are the five things I’d have been lost without:

1. A needle and thread – I didn’t take any sewing stuff with me but when the zip broke on my crappy Vango rucksack in the incredibly non-hostile environment of the Umbrian countryside, I realised this was a mistake. If you are going on a round the world trip, you will need to mend stuff, guaranteed. Not only mending broken zips, but, amongst other things, shortening a cheap dress I bought on a market and fixing up the handbag I bought in Mostar. This handbag is a bit like one of those old cars motor enthusiasts buy to build up again. I’ve had to replace the (unmendable) zip, stitch up the lining, put the outside back together again. So yeah, take a needle and thread.

2.. Swiss Army Knife. Dear Swiss Army Knife, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… You have spread Nutella, fished tea bags out of plastic mugs, sharpened eyeliner, opened bottles, opened cans, accompanied me down dark city back streets, sliced up garlic when there wasn’t a sharp enough knife in the hostel kitchen.

3. Compass – I only realised how useful my compass was when I got the Beijing. Before that, I’d been pointlessly getting lost, my lack of a sense of direction compounded by bad maps. Now I take it everywhere I go… when you’re lost in the hutong it helps to know which way north is, especially when you can’t read the street names because they’re are in a totally alien alphabet.

4. Plastic mug and bowl – you’d be screwed if you didn’t take a plastic mug and bowl on the Trans-Siberian railway, foolish is the person who relies on the buffet car. But it’s also surprising the number of hostels that I’ve stayed in that offer no form of kitchen facilities at all. The most extreme circumstances occurred in Berlin – our room had a fridge, sink and microwave but nothing else, so Liz and I took turns using my plastic mug to make tea in the microwave and eat Lidl cereal out of the bowl while the other was in the shower. Those Euros spent on buying breakfast add up. The mug has also been used as a substitute wine glass or vodka glass. I wish I could include my Spork in this entry but it broke while I was making a cup of tea.

5. Metal bottle for boiled water: Cooling boiled water for drinking not save money but it’s also much better for the environment that buying bottled. If you are travelling for a year or more, think of all the plastic bottles you would get through, all un-biodegradable and not recycled in some countries. Boiling water is available everywhere in Russia and China and in hostels that have kitchen facilities.

‘Vanity Game’ selected in’L’Express’ summer crime novels list!

I was really pleased to hear that ‘Vanity Game’ has been picked by French weekly magazine ‘L’Express as one of the crime novels to read this summer!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>