As an American student, before you go abroad there is usually a little counselling. They give you some tips on packing and culture shock and other various things…
However this is my list, it might repeat some of what counselors and other blogs tell you, but I have added some.
This is the most important thing to have! A freaking awesome and totally amazing best friend! Or a set of them!!
This helps you stay grounded, and that you are not forgotten. They can make you smile with some American humor that you really just can not get here, unless you find a group of Americans. They help keep your things in order and allow you to still continue on with business back home. When you cry they make you smile, even if you dont know why you were crying. Sometimes you might feel guilty because they do so much for you while your just sitting around in Asia doing nothing. Just remember, If they ever need the same thing of you, if roles ever switch than you will do the same. That is part of the definition of best friend, do not just choose someone to ‘use’ and do your bidding while you are gone. If you do I hope they kick you.
A scarf… Yes a big scarf you did just read that right. Well number two is tied a towel and a scarf. Because with out a towel well read for yourself, you should of already.
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
quotation from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
So yes a towel. Makes since to me.
But a Scarf... This is mine. I on a whim decided to wear a scarf the morning I got on the plane to go to the other side of the world.. It saved me!
So since I am in a list mood today her is a list of scarf uses….
-A scarf to keep your neck warm
-hides where you dropped lunch on your shirt
-catches food from falling on your shirt (i now take my scarf off before I eat)
-Stylish! can take a plane shirt into something a little more classy
-holds just enough warmth in to use around your shoulders when you are a tad chilly
-it can be a sheet if you wind up in a dirty scary hotel room where no speaks English and the sheets are stained and do not look like they have been washed…
-You can use as a top sheet, not this is very important.. When traveling to hot and humid location there are often many bugs… Also the hotels do not provide top sheets… NONE OF THEM! And a comforter without a top sheet I think is strangely gross. The beds are also very hard so the comforter provides a slight amount of padding.. (imagine sleeping on a box spring) So you have your scarf! A MOSQUITO NET Sheet that is not to hot!!
– Keeps the light rain out of your hair
-can be used to cover your hair and show respect if you wind up in a place where most women cover with hi-jab. It is always good to show respect when you are in a foreign land alone…
-You can tie it into a bag to help carry some things.
-You can us it on the beech to lay on so you do not get sand in your only towel…
-You can make it into a sling if you hurt your shoulder, elbow, wrist.
-You can create a compression wrap with it, just be careful
-You can tie objects together, using it like rope
-and OOOO so many more uses I am sure that I have not tried yet!!!
And that is why I love my scarfs!! because now I have many!!!! But it can not be just any scarf, it has to be the really really big ones that are currently in fashion, they are thin and light but rather tough!
Now the rest of this is in no particular order…….
When I say good shoes, I mean a couple pairs. Good for walking, stairs, climbing, RAIN, Not slippery flip flops, or mesh tennis shoes,or toms….. Its hard to find goood shoes but you should try hard
You Tablet computer! or a small laptop, or both.. Do not think that electronic are cheaper in Asia.. They are not! Some things are about the same price…. about… or WWAAAYYYYYY more. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90780/7781053.html
and as I keep learning, they are Cheaper in the US than in most countries in general, I did some research on this. And it is very simple… Purchasing Power, the US has more people who are willing to buy it so we buy in massive bulk. Other countries just can not do that. And our regulations help out to.
Camera, just like above. Just remember to actually enjoy your time and whats around you and to not live through looking in your camera
6.A good backpack! nothing to expensive but I do not recommend going to Walmart for it, with lots of compartments, but not to big! Your not hiking for 5 weeks and only living out of it but you will carry it often, and a bad backpack can really hurt your shoulders.
A list with all your contacts on it, somewhere that does not get moved often or touched often!
A few pocket phrasebooks! They tend to say things in many ways like we do so having a couple of them always helps! Mark the pages of what you need before you go somewhere, and use the cover as notes for the words you really use often. I find that when you attempt to speak the language, well at least in China and Taiwan, the people will be very nice to you and will take the time to help you. If you just come in pointing and only speaking English slowly, well they do not care to help you.
Extra medication if you have anything or take anything.. I kept being told to pack anti diarrhea pills… I did not, I ate in some of the dirtiest places I never would of thought i could eat at, and where I did not see a single bottle of hand soap in that village. but the food was good and I never had any troubles… still have not… but you if everyone is so insistant on it I will just say I am lucky and you should still pack it because if I would of needed it… I would not of been able to figure out what medicine at the store would work to fix it, if and when I could get to a store…..so yah…
10. a travel pillow! as good as the scarf for dirty hotels and planes and buses and bumpy rides….
11. something that is part of your everyday life back home… small enough for the suitcase but a big piece of your heart… I thank my dad for this one… I have a stuffed hippo my friend Alicia gave to me for my 11th birthday I believe.. and it has been on my bed ever since. I left it in the room at my dads house and when he did the check over he asked me, arent you going to bring your hippo? I put my head down and said no I decided not to because he takes up valuable space and my roommates will think I am weird.. He told me I better and well now I listen to my dad so I shoved him in my suit case and it does make easier to sleep at night, makes you not feel so far away…
a watch… The last time I wore a watch regularly back home was in high school with my Fossil watch that had the animated twinkling starts in the back…. Ever since then I have a smart phone in my pocket….So I bought a good! not walmart watch since again I am not doing extreme sports like climbing mount everest here… Which on a side note the other day i figured out I will never be able to afford to climb Mnt Everest…… its like minimum 30000$
Your home deodorant! a few bottles.. Did you know most of the world uses spray deodorant . not like axe but spray deodorant they all think my solid deodorant is strange….. I tried the spray and it felt really funny….
14. A good water bottle.. My fav. Contigo… I am in love with these things easy to carry can use a carabeaner to attach it to my bag if I dont have space, washable, leak proof, shatter proof.. I have dropped my several times and it still looks new…! Yes super cheesy that someone should love a waterbottle so much but really this stupid video shows it all…. It is the perfect design….I have stockpiled them..because my family is cursed..LoL as soon as we find an amazing product they discontinue it… anyway..
So it is late and I have morning class tomorrow so I must be on my way but that is my personal list… Really I just wanted to tell you about number one and number two….. they are pretty amazing things to have!