Although I bring a gigantic bag that could fit in it an entire adult contortionist, there isn’t that much that a person really needs on the road. I am not going to “go all Thoreau” on you, describing in great detail all of the purchases I’ve made in preparation, belongings I have compiled (and piled), etc. There are only a couple of items that I find to be not entirely boring, and how I acquired them is none of anyone’s business.
The three items of particular interest to me are:
Trail Mix – I try to bring several big bags, over a pound apiece. I have become increasingly health conscious, and Trail Mix (I don’t do the kind with chocolate or yogurt covered bits) is an option for snacking that I have convinced myself is healthy. In Germany, where we spend the bulk of our time, it’s called “Student Food,” and comes in about two varieties. In contrast, America is the land of Trail Mix opportunity, where a person can find just about any combination of dried fruit, nuts and seeds their heart desires. My favorite variety recently suffered a massive recall due to Salmonella. Having eaten one of the bags in question, I can only testify to its deliciousness. My new blend is one that includes dried cherries, pistachios and walnuts – I do occasionally miss that Nantucket Blend. We had some good times.
Books – I love to read, and since traveling provides an excellent opportunity to do so, I bring a significant amount of reading material. No less than three books. This time I’m bringing The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien, The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry and The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. If I find another few square inches of room in my bag, my reserves will be The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Blue Boy by Jean Gionot.
Melodica – The Melodica is a musical instrument related to the harmonica and accordion. I know the thought is appalling, but hang on. It has piano style keys like an accordion, but instead of squeezing to create air pressure, you blow into it, like a harmonica. All three instruments use reeds for sound production, so they have common tone qualities. It is compact and portable, handy for busking (playing on the street for money), working on song ideas, “jamming,” and irritating others.
As for the rest of my packing list (surprise! I’m bringing clothes), it’s far too dull to bother you with. Additionally, I feel I may have pushed it a little with the elaboration on Trail Mix, so I’m finished here. For all you know I left my underwear at home.