Josh recently blogged about his top 10 gear items he brought to Peace Corps service. If I had to pick a top 10, mine would be very close to the same, so I’ve decided to number my items 11-20. This way you have a top 20 list of the gear we brought. These aren’t in any particular order – if I had to, I could eliminate items of course (except #20). Part of PC life is learning to live without! We’ve lived without a lot of things these last 2 years, but the following have been particularly useful on a daily/weekly/vacation basis.
11. Earplugs and eye mask – These have been essential for a good night’s sleep here. They say Africa is quiet – but that has not been my experience! These two items have often helped me to get a great night’s sleep.
12. Protective case for my iPhone – I am a klutz and drop things often. Namibia is dusty. The Lifeproof case has kept my phone from impact damage as well as environment damage. It’s also waterproof which was great for places like Victoria Falls where it’s impossible not to get soaked. Carrying it around town people don’t know it’s an iPhone because the case conceals the logo. Lifeproof even sent me a new case when my old one got damaged. Now that’s great customer service!
13. Yoga mat- I brought my nice Manduka ProLite yoga mat from America and I’m glad I did because I use it just about everyday for exercising. You can buy yoga mats in the capital here but they are not great quality.
I thought about taking it on our end of service trip, but it would be cumbersome to lug it around. My friend Julia told me about these awesome travel yoga mats and so I’m planning to get one (thanks to Julia’s sister) and use that for our big trip.
14. iPod and X-mini speaker– Great for listening to podcasts and creating your own stereo system. I’ve used these for teaching aids in class (think schoolhouse rock songs). It’s also nice to use the speaker when you watch a movie. Thanks to our cousin Joey Mink for tipping us off about the speaker. I listen to my iPod when cleaning the flat or running, and for entertaining myself on the very long combi rides we must take here.
15. Chacos – These were a staple in my life in Denver and here I wear them every day. They are strong, durable and have held up very well. And one of the best parts – Chaco offers a 40% discount on their shoes for PCVs.
16. Prana pants- These Jasmine Knicker pants are lightweight, they dry fast and they’ve held up well traveling. I love them because they keep you cooler than jeans in hot weather, and they look nice. I found them on Amazon for half price. I own two pairs – the gray and the green.
17. Bag for teaching – My large backpack is great for traveling far, but for teaching I needed a shoulder bag/backpack to take my teaching preparations, pens, chalk, etc. in.
18. Toiletry case, beauty products and Dr. Bronner’s Soap – Having a toiletry case that hangs up is sooo convenient for travel! You hang it up on the back of a door and can easily access what you need. This one was only $13 on amazon and it makes showering on the road a cinch.
At home I was not a person who was very into beauty products. But here I have been! I’m really glad I brought some nice American beauty products (lotions, face wash, scrubs, etc.) They are a way to feel comfort far while from home. After a long day it’s nice to smell something familiar and feel good.
Dr. Bronner’s is a great “catch-all” soap. On trips as well as at home we use it as soap and shampoo, to wash our clothes, and even to clean pots and pans. It’s awesome!
19. External hard drive – For storing books, movies and TV shows. Some days you just want to escape and get lost in a movie or show. The danger is the food cravings that will follow after watching an American show.
20. A sense of humor – One of the most essential tools for living overseas. Don’t leave home without it! 🙂