Last year, I published a fairly popular Christmas gift list for the design conscious traveller, which functioned as a kind of ultimate wish list of lovely things that I imagined would be great to have along with me. This year however, being actually on the road, my priorities have inevitably changed. Turns out that mini makeup kits hold less importance when your shower consists of a dribbling hosepipe sticking out of the wall and you can’t find any deodorant that doesn’t simultaneously bleach your armpits. Who knew.
This year I will be in India for Christmas – my first ever Christmas away from home – and sadly won’t be there on the morning of the 25th to tear wrapping paper from gifts at 7am like a crazed five year old before spending the day watching disney films, getting merrily hammered on wine and eating until I am physically unable to move, as is the norm in my house.
Nevertheless, here is my last minute 2013 Christmas gift list for travellers on the road – imagined as though Father Christmas could find me in Goa with no postal address and bring me a large sackful of my wandering heart’s desires. As it is, I’ll probably have to make do with buying myself a string of fairy lights, a new pair of travelling pants and maybe a bar of half melted fake Dairy Milk. Merry Christmas.
1. Amazon Kindle
I am of a particularly stubborn breed of bookworm, staunchly loyal to actual books made of actual paper, and as a result decided not to buy a kindle to bring travelling with me. This was an error. Books are really heavy and I’m currently lugging 5 of them around in my backpack.
2. How to Be An Explorer of the World
Anyone who knows me can tell you how I feel about collecting things. I make notes, draw, stick things, take pictures, keep every business and receipt from my travels. This lovely guided journal actively encourages hoarding whilst providing a place to keep it all nicely organised. Available from Amazon.
3. Batiste Dry Shampoo Gift Set
Because my hair is crazy, all the time. And because I rarely have access to shampoo more regularly than once a week. And because this stuff smells nice, and I usually don’t. Available online from Cult Beauty.
4. GoPro Hero 3
I didn’t realise how awesome these cameras are until I met other people travelling with them. They are SO AWESOME. I have a mini photography geek freak out every time I see one. Wide angle video, simultaneous video and photo, waterproof to 40m and it weighs like nothing. I want one in my life. Available from the GoPro website.
5. F**k Off Floral Eye Mask
I feel like this would be endlessly useful in a variety of irritating-inconsiderate-asshats-on-public-transport type scenarios. And it’s pretty. Available from urbanoutfitters.co.uk
6. Neon Travel wallet
I have a passport cover which doesn’t hold anything other than my passport, a man’s card holder that I keep losing and a big plastic wallet with a large tear in it that I shove everything else into. This approach to organisation leads me to scrabble in an undignified manner for my documents every time I approach an airline desk at the airport – a travel wallet would solve this problem. You can get one from Habitat, sadly now only online.
Don’t ask me how, but I’ve lost more pairs of pants than anything else. There is a trail of my pants left with laundry women across Thailand and Cambodia. I would very much like some new ones, bikini bottoms only go so far in an all-day-every-day scenario.
They don’t really do dairy products in Asia, and as much as I love paneer, I would happily trade a lesser used appendage for some proper blue cheese right now, the kind that makes you wonder what crawled in and died when you open the fridge. Or some real buffalo mozzarella. Or baked camembert. Mmmmm camembert…. Cheesey gifts from the Fine Cheese Co. who also offer actual wedding cakes made entirely from cheese, which is pretty much my dream scenario.
9. Butterfly Twists ‘Leah’ Leopard Print Foldable Ballet Flats
My only proper shoes – a pair of denim blue Converse – got stolen from a hostel during my first week in Bali, and I’ve been surviving with only 2 pairs of sandals ever since. These pony hair leopard print flats are not only beautiful enough to satisfy my ex-fashion student shoe cravings, they also fold away, making them perfect for stashing in a backpack. Available from Butterfly Twists.