What does a globe-trotting yoga-teacher always travel with?
I'm not really a fan of packing per se, rather of what comes after, but I can say I'm pretty good at it. I travel light and have all I need in my super sack. But, wherever I go, there are some things I never travel without and the following five are at the top of my packing list (right after passport and travel mat ;).
No matter where I travel, I always carry a jar of organic virgin coconut oil, one of natures most amazing gifts. I use it to clean and moisturize my face, as all-over body oil, to put on my hair ends and, when in need, even as deodorant or toothpaste. Mixed with sugar it serves as an amazing exfoliator for both face and body. I also eat a spoonful every day as it nurtures inside and out. Coconut oil is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and generally - anti anything bad. It also has a natural SPF 4-6 so it can serve as a (very low factor) sunscreen. Packing a jar of coconut oil (or buying one upon arrival) saves packing facial cleanser, moisturiser and body lotion-- so saves quite a bit of space.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree essential oil comes from an Australian native plant and has been used for decades by indigenous people. Recently its effectiveness in killing bacteria, viruses and fungi has been backed by scientific research. Known for its antimicrobial properties, this essential oil will serve as a surface cleaner (think of dodgy bathrooms), hand sanitizer, can soothe sunburn, insect bites, skin rashes and other skin issues, fungal infections etc. Packed in small bottles it's easy to carry around and such a little multi-tasker.
Rose water or other facial mist / tonic
This is my in-flight and long-layover essential. It's also great on buses, trains and at the beach to help keep my face refreshed and fight off air-con dryness. This time I'm carrying rose water I got in Morocco a few months ago, but any type of herbal or floral hydrolat is great.
Probiotics + vitamin / mineral supplements
I'm a big fan of probiotics and I carry them with me anywhere I travel to fight off digestive problems or other gut issues.
I'm a vegan, so my food choices are sometimes limited when I travel and I sometimes end up eating more or less the same food for days, for example only banana and coconut. This is why I always carry vitamin + mineral supplements, or superfoods like spirulina to supplement my meals.
Silk sleeping bag
Many years ago, when I was in Mysore, India I visited a local silk factory (recommended!) where some of the best quality silk you can find in India is made. I bought some and made two pairs of pants and a silk sleeping bag which at first seemed like a waste of silk but turned out to be the best travelling companion. I use it on buses, trains or other transport as a blanket, to sleep in it if I feel I'll be more comfortable (i.e. if I see dirty sheets), I even used it as a towel, shawl and a beach towel. It's small, super light yet super useful.
As Mark Twain had ones said: 'travelling is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow- mindedness'', so it is also good to leave those at home. As well as work, schedules, some daily rituals, certain beliefs, our concepts of what is normal, what is comfortable, what is beautiful or even what is clean. Traveling widens our hearts and minds, but only if we leave all the unnecessaries at home and open up to whatever comes our way.