What to take? Part 1

I’ve become addicted to packing advice, packing lists and packing YouTube videos aimed at backpackers. The problem is that most backpackers are 20+ years younger than me. At some point I may have been able to flourish in an unfamiliar country armed with only a camera and a bikini but those days are long gone. The older you get, the more stuff you need. My packing dilemmas and decisions fall into the following categories.


Dispensing with one’s skincare regime for the duration of the trip seems to be pretty common advice. Not going to happen, and not even for reasons of vanity. I’m one shower away from becoming a komodo dragon if that shower isn’t followed up with a liberal application of ‘dry skin’ body lotion. I can’t apply just “any” sunscreen unless I fancy dealing with a plethora of irritations and allergic reactions. Both products are coming with me and I already feel mild panic about what I’m going to do mid-trip when they need replenishing.

Oral Hygiene

I’ve heard that some youthful backpackers sprinkle baking soda onto the nearest twig when their teeth need a brush, but in your 40s that is not going to cut it. I dread to imagine the horror that would await my dentist if I returned after 6 months without my Philips Sonicare, so that goes into the pack. Same goes for floss, interdental brushes and my Invisalign aligners. I didn’t spend 18 months getting straight teeth to abandon that project now.


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