Are you living your Ideal Global Life?
In January, I will be one of the many globetrotters participating in the Ideal Global Life Summit. It’s free, virtual, and you are invited for ideas, tips, and great conversations.
To prepare, Small Planet Studio and Cate Brubaker, the Summit hosts, have challenged the summit speakers to blog on three international topics through November.I love a challenge so here we go!
Topic #1: What’s the weirdest or dumbest thing you’ve taken abroad?
I’ve been traveling internationally for almost 30 years! I started young.
Now I consider myself to be somewhat of a packing expert. I’ve learned how to minimize the amount of stuff I take, and maximize the items I bring.
I’ve also learned that there are just some things I cannot travel without. I call these my luxury items. I always pack my luxury items no matter how practical or useful they may seem to someone else.
What are they?
I hate going without so I try to be strategic so I still have options.
- 1 pair of lace free or no tie sneakers (makes it easier to go through security)
- 1 pair of flats or sandals for day or evening
- 1 pair black dress shoe or boot (depends on the season and location)
- 1 pair brown dress shoe or boot (depends on the season and location)
- 1 pair of heels (if the trip calls for a formal occasion)
- 1 pair of flip flops (for summer travel)
I’m a messy eater and a klutz! A small travel size packet of laundry detergent goes a long way when you pack light. Whether you take a load of clothes to the laundromat or do a quick handwash in the sink, it allows you to reuse and recycle from a limited wardrobe. Its invaluable!
First Aid Kit
Getting sick when you are abroad sucks, but it happens. It can be really difficult to find the medicine you need if you don’t speak the language or are in a remote area.
Once while traveling in Poland I was trying to find a heating pad. Allow your imagination to wander as I tried to explain and mime “heating pad” to the local pharmacist.
My First Aid kit includes:
- Band-aids of varying sizes
- Graval or other motion sickness medication
- Cold & Flu medication (in pill form)
- Cough drops
- Mosquito/bug repellant
- Bug bite cream
To keep my kit small, I take just enough of each for 1 or 2 days. I figure if I require more than two days of treatment I can make the effort to go to a local pharmacy for more.
Then there are those items I refuse to pack! There are just some things I know I can find or that I can live without. They are:
- Hair dryer
I suspect you are still wondering what’s the weirdest or dumbest thing I’ve taken abroad.
It was a pair of cowboy boots.
What made this otherwise innocuous item so dumb?
I took them to South Korea where you are required to take your shoes off anytime you enter a home or restaurant. One of my most vivid and humiliating memories of my life in Seoul, was a lunch with my students in my cowboy boots.
To show their appreciation, my class took me to a traditional Korean barbecue restaurant. In traditional restaurants the tables are only about 12 inches from the ground, and you are expected to sit on the floor. This makes shoe removal essential.
Have you ever tried to take off cowboy boots?
It requires some effort so ideally one is seated in a traditional western chair so you can leverage the boots off by pulling on the heel of the boot.
Not so easy to do standing up.
And of course, my students thought they should help me as I tried to lever my boots off while standing.
Now envision me being held up by one student while the other pulled on my boot! It was the closest I’ve ever gotten to living out an episode of “I Love Lucy!”.
There was no dignity in this process what so ever.
Needless to say it was the last outing those cowboy boots had. I went out and purchased myself a pair of Korean ankle boots…they came with a side zipper.
I learned an incredibly valuable lesson that day.
It isn’t just about packing light, it’s about packing smart. Think about “where” you are going and learn about the culture. Be sure to choose items you will need to effectively participate in the culture you are visiting. It will only make your experience that much better when you have appropriate clothing for your trip abroad.
I’m going to the Living Your Ideal Global Life Summit taking place January 13-17, 2014.
The global panel of guests will walk you through how you can create a global mindset, define your very own ideal global life, and start living it.
Join me on Day 5, Friday, January 17, 2014 (9 am PST, 12 PM EST, 5 PM GMT), my interview “Make Your First Time Abroad Rock!” features:
- important factors to consider before going abroad,
- how to assure parents and handle resistance from friends or family, and
- how to translate your international experience into marketable job and leadership skills.
Other guests will share what it’s like to run a business abroad, how global living affects childhood, networking in new countries, and more.
Sign up for the free online summit HERE.
Do you know others interested in a global life? Share this with them.
This is a great story, Tamara. It’s always those things that seem like such good ideas at the time that turn out to be the dumbest. But they do make for good stories!
I’m with you on the laundry detergent – I always bring it with me when I travel. In fact, I bought a tube of my favorite German detergent when I was in Munich last March! It’s THE best for hand washing clothes in a hotel sink. 😉
Thanks for participating in the blog challenge!
Thanks for the invitation! After posting my blog on Facebook, a millennial globetrotter recommended using a drybag and laundry strips for laundry on the go. I’m going to give them a try.
Meghan Fenn says
Really enjoyed reading this. I lived in Japan for a few years and found that I didn’t want to wear the boots I had brought or my strappy style shoes either for that exact same reason! I bought lots of Tatami style slippers and loved those. Wonderful #MyGlobalLife post.
Thanks Meghan! Some lessons are learned the hard way.
What are these laundry strips that were suggested to you? Before we were limited in the liquids we could carry on a plane I used to bring a tube of “Rei in der Tube” from Germany for hand wash – it worked great. I’m looking for an alternative that I don’t have to stuff into a plastic bag with my make-up.
Thanks for participating in the #MyGlobalLife Link-Up!
Hi Tamara, I really loved reading your post and tips. Packing is an art form in and of itself. I’ve given up on flip flops since I moved to Europe. It seems they don’t mix well with random spurts of heavy rain and cobblestone. Thanks for the #MyGlobalLife post.
Thanks Kim for reading the blog. Hope to you you at the Summit.