The things we carry: travelling objects and objects of travel

So often we think about all the other aspects of travel – the journey, the jetlag, the photos, the memories – and forget perhaps the most tangible part of all: the objects that we take with us, and the items we bring back. Almost everyone has a few travel treasures on display in their homes or bedrooms, but we quickly get into the habit of walking past these each day, whilst the more mundane items that accompany us on each trip receive even less attention.

The potency and power of these objects is ever-present, yet easily dismissed. Most people will relegate their passport to a drawer (or similar ‘safe place’!) after a trip, but feel a strange sadness at retiring an old, expired passport filled with stamps and worn with use. (My partner experienced a surprising degree of sadness, guilt and longing – and I’m not even joking – when he had to get rid of an old rucksack recently. It had sat at the back of a cupboard for several months, but when he came to bin it, he realised it had quite literally been round the world with him, from his late teens onwards. He still complains that his new rucksack “isn’t the same”…).

This made me stop and think about how travel objects often stand as relics of our trips (more so than we perhaps realise) or earn this status over time. I thought about a few of my own, and also asked some of my favourite bloggers what objects accompany them everywhere – as well as what they’ve picked up along the way.

The flip-flops that go everywhere


These are truly the most boring, plain, uninteresting flip-flops that money could buy, but oh! have they seen some things. Given how long they have lasted, I imagine them to be constructed from some kind of industrial-grade rubber, as these guys have been everywhere.

They’ve seen both sides of the Pacific ocean, the Andaman Sea and the Coral Sea, the Mediterranean and more. They even flew over the Sea of Okhotsk. They’ve trampled boardwalks in California, dusty alleyways in Moroccan medinas, and the volcanic black sands of the Canaries.

I only ever dig them out when I’m going abroad, so for me they are the ultimate emblem of my adventures further afield – and the many steps I’ve taken along the way.

The friendship bracelets – from Paraphernalia


What are our travel essentials?

IPad – check! Laptop – check! Kindle – check! Oh and don’t forget the item that almost never leaves our hands, the phone/ camera/ social media device. These are likely standard for everyone these days but for us the items that come on all of our adventures are our plaited friendship bracelets.

One of our favourite things about travelling is meeting the locals.

We were in a taverna in Anafiotika, Athens a few years ago enjoying a fabulous Greek culinary experience when I couldn’t help noticing an animated conversation at the next table.

A recipe was being discussed. One guy, the one shaking his head, was a chef, the other a blogger. Nikoz Dioz writes Easy and Cheap Tips and was getting the low down on a sauce George is famous for. Suffice to say we traded stories, lunch turned into dinner and by the end of the evening we were firm friends.

Nik transferred the 2 friendship bands he was wearing, 1 to each of us. We haven’t taken them off since so they go with us everywhere.

Chance travelling encounters open minds and hearts and that’s definitely a thing we love….

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The bottle of lavender hydrolate – from Sliva


One thing that I can’t go without may sound a bit unordinary: a 50 ml bottle of lavender hydrolate. Even though lavender hydrolate may not be present in today’s female cosmetics bags, it used to replace them all together already a century ago. With a bottle of 50 milliliters that can be taken on the plane, I replace a whole array of cosmetics and substances with it.

Being a completely natural product with alcohol content, lavender hydrolate helps with every imaginable skin problem and helps to disinfect, parfume, and regenerate at the same time. Read more about it here!

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The pillow in need of a passport – from the Hackerette


My pillow has been to more countries than most humans. It should probably have its own passport at this point. I’m a pretty low-maintenance traveler, especially for a female, and I typically only pack carry-on luggage.

So, why the pillow? For one, I really cherish my sleep, and two, I really hate being uncomfortable. I was so tired of showing up to international hotels with flat pillows with pillowcases that felt like sandpaper, so I started bringing it along with me. I have never regretted it, and it has actually become one of my favorite travel hacks ever! It doesn’t take up much room and it is actually nice to have on a long haul flight for extra cushion. Plus, a good pillow can turn a really bad bed into a mildly decent bed. I can sleep well on any hard mattress as long as the pillow is decent.

I have also read that traveling with your own pillow makes for one less adjustment that your body needs to make when adjusting to a new area. Jet lag doesn’t hit me nearly as bad and I always wake up refreshed. If anyone is issuing Passports for Pillows, please let us know 😉

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What objects have you picked up on your travels, and what do you take everywhere? Add to our list below!

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