Sunday, 8 January 2017

Traveling Light(ish) - What's In My Bag?



If I was travelling in true vintage style I'd be carrying pre-war luggage and a copy of S Reuben's 1939 Travellers In India*, the essential guide to the subcontinent written during the Days of the Raj. With the book's help we'd be able to find a suitable Europeans-only club, hire a man with a horse-drawn carriage and avoid any petty hotel run by Hindus and Mohammedans.  We'd be embarking on a four month voyage by sea with a chance we'd succumb to cholera on the way.

*Courtesy of dear friends, Lynn & the Welder.

While the luggage isn't half as attractive, the guide is a lot more PC. The flight takes 9.5 hours and the worst ailment we're likely to suffer is a stiff back and swollen ankles. Fully packed, my bag weighs in at 12kg (and Jon's at 10 kg) so a simple tuk tuk should suffice.

So what's in my bag?


Buddha print vest, butterfly top; vintage zig-zag halter; cotton bustier; Rajasthani mirror work top; gypsy top made from silk sari; 1970s Falmer waistcoat;  black printed 1970s tunic - all bought secondhand (except the vest) 

If you're wondering, the mysterious eBay buy was the vintage denim waistcoat. My trusty original, despite being patched last year, was still more hole than denim. I'm tempted to burnt it and scatter the ashes in India.
Four maxi skirts: Cotton Cottage block-print wraparound (bought new in India last year), black cotton gypsy skirt; Vintage Chelsea Girl block print wraparound; 1970s Dollyrockers skirt

I've knocked the vintage maxi dresses on the head, I wear separates more. These cotton jersey dresses are easy and lightweight and perfect for slinging on for our early morning beach walk.

 
Bikinis: Fringed blue (bought from eBay in 2014), Top Shop Peace bandeau (car boot sale), heidi klein (freebie, 2013)



Birkenstocks, Indian rose gold chappals, Charity shopped Converse (with gel insoles, they're utter bastards for people with dodgy joints)



This Rajasthani fringed beast will be my carry-on bag, the Jaipuri leather cross-body bag used for day trips and nights out and the huge tote (I made from a vintage curtain) is for the beach and shopping.


A pile of sarongs (which we use as everything from a cover-up, a makeshift beach shelter, curtain or towel), a couple of  block-printed silk scarves and an oversized, foldable straw hat.

Bags that can hung up are a must when you're staying in teeny tiny rooms and beach huts and I always buy them if I see them going cheap. This spotty one stores my jewellery, make-up and hair bands. I carry two pairs of sunglasses in my hand luggage as it's inevitable I'll break one. 


Beauty stuff: I only bother with make-up at night and even then its kept to the bare minimum, creme blusher & black kohl. The lipstick is just in case, I rarely bother but this Barry M one is quite sheer and makes me feel a bit more "dressed up" just in case we have a night out in a city and dine somewhere fancy. When we're away I only paint my toenails, which I'll touch up if it chips. I do my own lash extensions and pack a few spares if and when they fall out.


Jewellery : You've already seen what I'm wearing to travel in, this is the rest of it and trust me, this is the least I've ever taken. Four pairs of earrings, tribal anklets and an armlet, a coin belt, 10 silver bangles, a couple of toe rings, three rings (I'm wearing the other three to travel in) and four necklaces. I know you can buy silver in Goa but over the years the prices have rocketed and, as we're not in the touristy North, the choice in the Southern villages isn't usually great.


Another bag that can be hung up and my groovy holy cow bag. What's inside?


Other than sun protection and the solid Lush Karma shampoo (brilliant for washing not only my hair & body but also our clothes) & Jungle conditioner (which doubles up as an ace shaving cream when I do my legs) we never buy toiletries specifically for our travels, we take what we've got and replace them when we run out. Most major brands are available in India for a fraction of the price we pay at home and we're doing our bit to support the local economy.


We use once a day sun cream. It costs more but you can pack less so its ideal if, like us, you travel around a lot. Calypso is a British budget brand and, unlike a lot of the costlier stuff, it passed all the British Standard tests for sun protection. We've used it for years, even in the blistering heat of pre-monsoon Goa and never burnt. (Wilkos seems to be the cheapest stockist). My face used to get horribly spotty in the sun until I tried this Once sun cream. I found a new, still sealed tube on eBay for £5, half the price it retails for in Boots. We usually buy our Aloe Vera after sun in India but this was leftover from the Summer.

First Aid & Essentials: Plasters, painkillers (just one strip, Indian pharmacies are cheap as chips), after bite cream, a nail kit & sewing kit, sink plug (pretty much non-existent in India, even in posh hotels) and a nail brush. In my hand luggage I'll carry the anti-bacterial hand gel and the almost empty Odomos mossie repellent as we land at the peak biting time (we'll buy more when we run out.). The tissues are another hand luggage essential, the toilet attendants at Goa's Dabolim airport are notorious for hiding the loo roll and demanding cash before they'll hand over a few sheets. Best to be prepared and beat them at their own game.

Block print bedspread we'll as a beach blanket, a silk double sleeping bag (a welcome luxury in our £5 a night budget rooms), a journal and pen, an up-to-date Rough Guide, camera and my (new to me but secondhand) E reader plus chargers. I've downloaded over 200 free eBooks so I should be okay.

Packed - but not snapped - mosquito net, torch, travel kettle, travel plug, enamel camping mugs, a set of fold-away vintage travel hangers and a cheap mobile phone (with an Indian sim card) so we can call and book rooms in advance. We don't travel with Smartphones, laptops and the like, if on the rare occasion that we need the World Wide Web, we go to an Internet cafe. We've also got multiple copies of our travel insurance documents, passports and tourist visas.As always we split our clothes between our two bags. That way, if a bag goes missing, we've got something to wear.


So what are our plans for the next month? Absolutely none. Tropical beaches, bustling cities, ancient monuments, vibrant markets, trains, Ambassador taxis, tuk tuks, boats and buses.....four weeks of adventure await!


See you in February!

111 comments:

  1. Va Va VooM! Our Ms Vix is a bodacious beach babe!

    Well, there's still a chance you might succumb to cholera, typhoid, amoebiasis, dengue, or quite a few other tropical nasties, but oh well, YOLO!

    Odomos has a new(ish) cream that's quite lovely to use, effective, and pleasant scented like lemongrass & patchouli- be sure to pick up a tube or 2.

    Indian pharmacies are not only cheap but Indian pharmaceuticals are very good quality too! Stock up on anything that's spendy back home!

    I wish you were coming to visit us in Nepal but truth be told, I'D RATHER BE ON THE BEACH IN GOA TOO!

    Bon voyage!



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    1. One day we'll make it to Nepal! I couldn't find the patchouli Odomos - Goa must be behind the times. xxx

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  2. Fantastic ..... have a wonderful time. Lolling forward to some great pics and stories when you get back.
    Love to you both from us two xx

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    1. Thanks, Lynn! I can't believe we're back. x

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  3. I need to see a picture of how all that fits! I like to think I'm a master packer but that is a lot to fit in small space. Well fone8amd all sensible.

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    1. I don't know how it does, but it does! x

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  4. Bon Voyage Vix, I know you and Jon will have a wonderful time because you'll make it wonderful. And huge thanks for your brilliant blogs over 2016, tragic but my heart gives a little skip when I see you have blogged cos I know it's going to be amusing, surprising, informative and fun. You are a star. XX

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  5. Have a wonderful time Vix and happy new year to you both. I look forward to hearing all about it. xxx

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  6. WOW! It's nice to see the collection of items for your travel! I also like to travel to places to places and enjoy the time!

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  7. Thanks for granting us a peek into the bags! I've shared some of your prudent packing practices with friends embarking on their first real adventure abroad: they were grateful for the idea that no one should put all their "eggs" in a single "basket". * Enjoy the warmth and freedom, do leave 2016 well behind you!

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    1. Can you imagine arriving at your destination and only one of you having your clothes? Neither of you would be happy! xxx

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  8. My dear, dear friend enjoy to the full. I know you will, and soak the sunshine and wild life you adore so much.
    I shall miss you, but knowing you are happy is more than enough.
    Much, much love
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  9. You're definitely an expert packer Vix! Have a safe trip! :)

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    1. ...and I wore everything, always a sign of a successful packing plan. xxx

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  10. Have a fabulous trip!!!! 'See' you in cyberspace next month xxx

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  11. Have a marvellous time, darling.XXXX

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  12. Having just come back from a 17 day winter vacation, I'm all for packing less. Our one suitcase weighed 44 pounds, that's packing a couple of sweaters each, The Doctor's winter jacket, my bathrobe and jeans and socks. We had a carry-on for "bathroom" stuff and Rx. It was interesting to see how many people looked like pack mules. On the flight between Los Angels and Atlanta "carry-on" bags that were too big were being checked in to make room in the overhead bins. I think it's a ploy by cheapskates that don't want to pay the baggage fee.

    Enjoy your trip and I can't wait to see more photos of beautiful India

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    1. I'm always amazed by the amount of stuff people need to take with them. Some of their carry-on baggage is bigger than our hold stuff. Unless you're off to the South Pole it's not like there's not going to be any shops or a sink where you can rinse your clothes out in. xxx

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  13. Bon Voyage, lovely Vix & Jon! Hats off to you two for Flying the Freedom Flag! You give hope to hippies and vagabonds everywhere :-)
    We'll miss your posts while you're away, but seeing all your photos and reading about your adventures when you get back is worth the wait. Have a brilliant, amazing time! Sx

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  14. Hope you have a amazing time Vixx

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  15. Have a fantastic time , Looking forward to seeing your photos on return xxx

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  16. Have a lovely time. Would love to see a post on what's in Jon bag. Look forward to seeing your pictures on your return journey pat

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    1. yes - please !!! three men here that would appreciate.

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    2. He says to tell you that he took three long sleeved cotton shirts, three tee shirts, three pairs of shorts, one pair of swim shorts, a pair of cotton trousers, two hats, Birkenstocks, two lunghis and a pair of dessert boots.
      He bought two block printed, hand loom long sleeved shirts when we were there and donated all his tee shirts plus the shirt he travelled in to the charity shop (yes, there's a chazza in Goa!) the day before we flew back! xxx

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  17. Some great packing tips there Vix. Will look out for hanging toilet bags and that Once a day suncream. (have used regular Calypso before) I'm rather envious that you'll have the sun on your bones in a few hours and I'll still be sitting on top of a radiator! I know you'll have a superb trip and will look forward to hearing about it next month. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Fiona! Yes, Calypso is brilliant stuff and I got the amount I bought spot on, we used up the last one on the very last day. xxx

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  18. suncream looks interesting, I will try it on my next trip, I trust your judgement (:D) your skirts/sarongs are so mega pretty/practical and footwear looks ultra comfy. Can I show off and suggest you have a couple of joss sticks to light and have at your ankles as sometimes in outside bars/streets when sitting around they are great for mozzie attack. have a fabulous time I just can't wait to read about it allxxx

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    1. Thanks, Betty! I read your tip before I left and stocked up on incense as soon as we got there. It worked! xxx

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  19. you know I love love love your 'luggage posts', they make me feel all the enthusiasm of getting ready for a travel!, and they're pretty useful too!
    I'm glad you got that denim waistcoat in time, it's that kind of little piece which makes everything work nicely!. And I understand that you thought on a a great goodbye for your trusty old one, 'burnt it and scatter the ashes in India', ohhh yes!
    Wish you have the best time and come back with lots of anecdotes to tell us!
    besos

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  20. Enjoy your break! I hope the weather is lovely and you and Jon both have a brilliant time.

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  21. You have really got the art of minimalist packing down to a tee. It is wonderful what you've packed; you seem to have covered every angle!

    I hope you have the most wonder, relaxing and interesting time and look forward to hearing all about it when you return.

    Safe bon voyage!

    xxxx

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    1. Thanks, Veronica! Being minimal for a month is fun but I would want to live like that - it's good to have choices! xxx

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  22. You pack smart - especially for the type of places you stay at. Safe and happy travels my friend!

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    1. It helps when the weather is pretty much guaranteed. Thank you! xxx

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  23. Have a wonderful time - I've no doubt you will. I'll miss your posts, but will look forward to hearing all about it on your return xx

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  24. I admire your ability to travel light, but of course, if your travel destination is the UK, it's a totally different story ;-) Have an absolutely fantastic time! xxx

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    1. Tell me about it - I pack more for a weekend away in the UK than I do a month in India, the weather here is so unpredictable! xxx

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  25. I think I'd faint if you two went to New York just to freak us all out. Heh. Have a blast in India!!! I know you will, as you always do, you work so hard for it. I love seeing what you pack and then seeing your clothes in real life in your photo recap later. Happy trails!!!

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  26. As always, you make travelling light look very easy - and very stylish!
    Hope you have a brilliant time, of course you will, looking forward to seeing you when you get back.
    Love you! Xxxx

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  27. I am in awe of how little you take! Have a fabulous, fabulous time. x x

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    1. If only I could be that minimal in real life! See you soon. xxx

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  28. You make packing looks so effortless, Vix and still seem to have all eventualities covered. As the arctic blasts head towards the UK, you are bringing a little bit of sunshine to your corner of the Net. Hope that you and Jon have the very best of times and come back soon to regale us with exotic tales of your adventures. Xx

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    1. I think I timed my trip slightly wrong - I can't believe I've come back to snow! xxx

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  29. Crikey, so organised! Have a glorious holiday, I'm already counting the days till your next post so we can all see what you've been up to! xxx

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    1. The only time I ever am organised! xxx

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  30. I couldn't help but think of Downton Abbey as I walked through these homes and saw evidence of lives once lived here -- family photos, forest city

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  31. Ooh I just want to nip in quickly before you go to wish you Bon voyage. What a wonderful prospect; a whole month of being answerable to no one and making it up as you go along. Travelling light is the only way. Once you get there the last thing you think about is whether you have a different outfit for every day. I always love your packing tips, in fact I bought one of those hang up bags for Cuba -£1! Right my lovely, have a wonderful time and we'll see you looking bronzed and beautiful in Feb. Hopefully in person!!! Xxxxx

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    1. Right, I'm back...when are we meeting up?!
      Hangy up bags are the best, just hang and go. No wasting time unpacking stuff! xxxx

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  32. You are so organized, not to mention HOT!!!

    Have an awesome trip. I'm looking forward to your photos when you return.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. You're too kind! Hope your trip was as fab as ours! xxx

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  33. have a wonderful time in india!!!
    i bought such a hang-up bag 16 years ago from a big german outdoor supplier - its still in pristine shape and usually holds all the toiletries and medicine for both of us. and it is hot pink. best buy ever :-) and we travel with only one small suitcase - the airport staff is always speechless - haha.
    xxxxxx

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    1. I love my hang bag - I'm always on the lookout for a replacement just in case mine ever wears out! xxx

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  34. Safe and happy travels to you both. I always enjoy these adventures of yours and so look forward to February when you do your show and tell.

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  35. What great advice!! I want to go to India but my husband thinks it's too dangerous. (????)

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    1. Dangerous? How? Do like plenty of Western women I've met in Goa do - leave him at home and come on your own. India is safe, friendly and wonderful, I promise! xxx

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  36. Have a wonderful holiday. I'll think of you as the snow falls. I'll look forward to your wonderful photos when you return.

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  37. Not sure which is neatness clothing item. But sure hope you have a grand time.
    Coffee is on

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  38. I envy you - have a wonderful time, you deserve it 💗

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    1. I bet it won't be long until your next trip, Trees! x

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  39. Odomos - the best you can get. Have a fab time and I look forward to seeing the photos.

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    1. It is. It's a fab after sun, too - lovely and moisturising! x

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  40. Enjoy your Holiday in India. You look amazing in your bikini, Vix!

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  41. Happy travels, dear Vix! We'll be patiently waiting for your new Indian tales in February.

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  42. Have a fabulous time Vix! Looking forward to your vacay pics. Sounds like heaven.

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    1. Thank you, Cherre! Good to hear from you! x

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  43. Oh my, I'm so excited for you! Happy travels, my friend. xo

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  44. Have an amazing time Vix! I look forward to hearing all about it when you get back x

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  45. Waaaiit! Come back! You forgot to pack ME into one of your bags!!!

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  46. Sometimes I like predictability. That you are going to India during Winter and that I go to Italy, to mention one example.

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    1. Once you've found your place there's no real reason to change! xxx

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  47. At the time I'm writing this you and Jon are most likely lolling about on a beach somewhere! Hope you're having a marvelous time. I can't believe you packed all that in just two bags. You ARE a talented dame (and you look damn fine in a bikini too).

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    1. Thanks, Shelly! It was amazing but went far too quickly! xxx

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  48. Have a great time. ENJOY every moment.

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  49. I've caught up with all your blogs that I've missed during my Non Blog time! And you're in India now, I presume (I can't remember the date you're leaving). You take THREE bikinis??!! I take so little when I fly, particularly to somewhere warm, and you are a super organised traveller with many outfits - and earrings! I usually take two pairs, max. Wishing you a fabulous, wonderful holiday. xx

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    1. Phew! You've had a mammoth catch-up, I'm doing the same today.
      Is three bikinis excessive? I could probably cut down on the earrings but I forget them one year and play safe now.xxx

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  50. Have a wonderful time in India Vix! Already eager for your return!

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  51. I'm always so impressed by your organisation!! It's truly amazing. Hope you're having a magnificent time, can't wait to see your pictures xx

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Love from Vix
xxx