Before my mom bid me adieu at college, she and my quasi aunt made enemies with their fellow hotel guests as they stayed up nights nailing together small storage units for my under-equipped dorm room. Then the hammer was put to good use in knocking bent shelf brackets back into their proper places in said under-equipped dorm room. Later, a screwdriver affixed our first wireless router to the wall because we thought that would help broaden the signal. Oh, those were the days.
How did I meet my first friends in college? Surely in the typical forums of dining halls and orientation gatherings. But when did many of us initially talk? When word got out that I had a hammer, screwdriver, tape measure, and nails. The budding architect in Woody 420 was the girl to know those first few weeks and her tools weren’t just for model-making. Evidently, Mom’s idea to bring along a small toolbox, the kind that are often condescendingly clad in pink and/or floral prints, ended up being one of her brighter strokes of genius.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was packing for India Trip 2.0. Matt noted that my suitcase contents suggested a much more methodical approach to life abroad. And while there is certainly a stronger, self-awarded tone of “all business, little pleasure” on this tour, I’d say my packing choices were borne out of comfort and consistency. I wanted to foster a sense of normalcy this go-around. No doubt I’m still a foreigner and I play the tourist part on the weekends. But for those of you who travel for work, you know it ain’t a vacation. Practicality rules.
Where am I going with this? Perhaps to Snoozeville or Boredomburg. Who knows? But I thought it might be fun to show you the different scenarios for which I packed. I’ll provide a list and will attempt to keep the corresponding explanations short and sweet. Let’s start with weekend outings. I think I’ve got this one down to a science.
Clockwise, from sunglasses:
- Sunglasses. Protect your eyes from the sun. Also, avert unwanted eye contact and conversation.
- Mini tissue pack. Not every toilet has toilet paper or a dry seat.
- Hand sanitizer. Obvious.
- Map of Mumbai. Unfortunately, I don’t have data on my iPhone while here so Google Maps is not available.
- Tote bag. It’s better to leave your nice purse at home. Plus, this bag works great for carrying whatever things you pick up along the way, as many shops don’t offer their own bags or charge extra for them.
- Bottle of water.
- Coworker on a stick. Optional.
- Cell phones, plural. Blackberry is shown for its telephonic function. iPhone is used for the camera.
- SPF 30 sunscreen.
- ID/credit card holder. I choose to leave my wallet in the hotel and take only my ID, one AmEx, one Visa, my room key, and enough cash for a taxi ride or two. Everything else stays back to minimize damage/inconvenience should something happen to my bag.
- Snack. I picked up some adult fruit roll-up things from Target before leaving. I’ve stayed away from granola or cereal bars because they get crushed and break easily. Energy bars tend to have some amount of chocolate and that melts into a mess. Fruit snacks and rolls, however, last all day long.
Not pictured, optional:
- Hat. If you’re out for a long day a small hat works well for preventing nasty scalp burns.
- T-shirt. As I learned on my last outing, which included the train ride, sometimes you are simply caught off guard by how hot it is. Do yourself a favor and pack a fresh top to change into upon arriving at your destination.
Assemble all of these goodies before skipping out the door. Then laugh at yourself when you realize you’ve just packed the adult equivalent of a diaper bag.