All of Deb’s tales of travel and tech


Pack Vicks VapoRub or Tiger Balm 1

Either Vicks VapoRub or Tiger Balm should be in your bag as you travel, especially when you travel long-term. Either will likely turn out to be one of the best values for its weight and size.

Both of these similar ointments are helpful for a wide range of medical conditions.

Both are available in my counties.


More packing tips: space-saving travel substitutes 2

It can be difficult to leave luxuries behind. Fortunately, in some cases, you don’t have to. There are often alternates to those nice things.

I’ve already written about how many things a sarong can do.

Here are some more of my substitutes. My goal is to take up very little space and weight.

Don’t worry: I am not going to tell you to cut a neck and arm holes in a plastic garbage bag to make a rain coat.


Redondo Beach get-away packing

I’m back to living in my adopted hometown for a while, so you might not call that traveling. But LA is a major travel destination — and I am traveling within it this weekend! From Friday – Tuesday, I’ll be a guest of a friend in Redondo Beach. I get to show her all the tricks of the iPhone, see friends, and enjoy the beach air and all that Redondo Beach and the Redondo Beach Marina and Pier have to offer.

Wondering how I packed?


Best amusement park in the world – people-powered!

In the forest about an hour north of Venice, Italy, is a 100% people-powered amusement (theme) park built by one local restaurant owner named Bruno. The story, images, and video is inspiring and amazing.

I certainly don’t want to visit Italy again without dining at Pioppi and trying some of his 40 electric-free rides amongst the trees. I think it must be one of the most unique restaurant/theme park experiences!


My practical traveler’s thank you to hosts 2

As a guest in people’s homes, it’s a given that I bring food or a gift for my hosts. But for the longer-term visits, I typically try to contribute to the home in some way as a special thank you. Sometimes my host/hostess knows. Other times they have no idea unless they notice the difference later on.

Sometimes it’s just cleaning floor molding and cabinet doors. Once I recaulked a bathroom. Once I repaired a large hole in the wall…

The tub with the new silicon sealant.

Normalcy of a bedside clock

[I write this while in LA, newly sub-leasing a small apartment. My plan is to stay in LA for a while, enjoying family and friends here for a while.]

Each night now as I go to sleep and look at this red clock beside my bed and I think: “I have a bedside clock.” It’s been a long time since I’ve had a bedside clock. One of these red glowing LED lights that shine the numbers that tell the time. It might seem silly but it’s a luxury I’ve long lived without and a bit of normalcy for me. I haven’t had much normalcy in quite a while — in 4 1/2 years.


Best deodorant for travel – Crystal

The Crystal Body Deodorant Stick is the perfect deodorant to take traveling! It is small, pure, long-lasting and doesn’t contain anything that can clog or otherwise damage your body.

Images of my Crystal Body Deodorant Stick over time shows this is a top choice for deodorant for travel.


Giving up heavy shoes

I’ve traveled so many years, for years at a time, that you’d think I knew the best packing. I think I do — but we all make mistakes…

These shoes were not a good travel item.

While a nice sandal, the Columbia gave me no ankle support, so they were not a good choice. They were also very heavy. Heavy in my backpack — and heavy to lift on my foot with every step so walking in them made me tired.


Best dining option at Dead Sea hotel zone

The Taj Mahal restaurant is a very welcome change from the hotels that line the Ein Bokek area of the Dead Sea. It is outside! You have the Bedouin-inspired benefit of cover without walls so you can feel the air and see the Dead Sea. You can choose from a range of seating styles: tables with comfy cushioned seats, benches and metal-backed chairs, cushion seating at low tables, and thick-cushioned lounge chairs around low tables. The decor is unique, fun and a bit eclectic. And, the food is fantastic! As are the owners.


My Safe Skies Cable Lock finally failed

Nothing will change that I loved my Safe Skies Cable Lock — but sadly, I now have to report that this lock has failed me. It reached its limit, so I have a use warning for you now.

The lock still looks almost brand new, even after using this lock daily for about 1 year and 5 months and even more when you add intermittent low use, for about 9 months after that heavy use.

However, one day months ago, during the low use time, while sliding the lock open, it failed me and it is no longer usable.


Natural help for burns — raw egg membrane! 1

We all know the feeling: the pain of the burn, then the blister. Then the pain as the blister pops and the new raw skin is exposed before it’s ready. And the possible pain and infection if the new skin becomes irritated, opens or becomes infected.

What if you didn’t have to go through that pain again?

And the solution is simply a discarded part of a raw egg!


Thoughts on travel hacking

…disappointed that she was in China and her friend didn’t want to experience it …couldn’t care less. Then I realized! She wasn’t with “travelers. She was with “travel hackers.”

It’s one thing to take advantage of a great New Card offer and get $50,000 bonus miles — giving you a free flight from say, the USA to Europe. It’s not easy to save for a vacation and we all need vacations. And a new card now and then is legitimate. But go on that vacation and enjoy the place you’d selected! Travel overland while you’re there and see the place. Take a train or bus and talk to the locals! Experience the place! Savor the locale, the people, the foods, the languages, the experiences.


House sitting in Tzfat Israel 1

This week I had a new experience in Tzfat. A woman I have known for a while invited me to her home. Then she needed to go away but she also needed to be here for the refrigerator repairman. So I got to house-sit. I cleaned out the fridge and salvaged food.

Sound boring? Sound crazy?
Here’s the thing: that fridge is in a stone-walled kitchen!


Living the downsize: from 2 bedrooms to 65 liters

This time 4 years ago I lived a typical American life in a two-bedroom condo. It was home to my furniture, photos … two dressers full of clothes…. kitchen full of fine appliances…home office.

Now I’ve virtually been living out of a 65-liter backpack. If something fit into that backpack, I don’t take it with me.

Sometimes I miss my old stuff but If I still had it I would need to still have a place for it to — and I would not have had the freedom to be in whatever country I happened to be in at that moment.

The truth is, we really need very few physical items to be well-dressed, clean, well-groomed, and comfortable. And your perception or definition of “very few items” will even change as you live the downsize.