What’s in your bag?

If, like me, you are a child of the 80s and 90s, you will surely remember good ol’ Potli Baba from our very own Doordarshan. 🙂 Nabila is a travel blogger whose blog name, Potli Baba, was inspired by the show. In true Potli Baba style, she pulls out envy-inducing tales of awesome places, one after the other from her bag. She seeks Potli Baba’s blessings and knowledge to accompany her on her many travels, and, in the process, inspires me and many newbie travellers like me. And, oh, I have to tell you that the pictures accompanying her travel posts are just WOW!

Nabila very kindly agreed to do a guest post for my blog. What else can it be about but travel? 🙂 She chose to write about the must-haves she does not travel without.

Go on, check out what she has to say!


What’s in your bag?

I’m extremely good with packing. I always pack a book to read and do my research before going to a place. But that doesn’t make a travel guru, does it? What I can tell you for sure is that after having wandered here and there quite a bit over the years, I’ve come to realise that there are a few travel essentials that I do not journey without, and which, I reckon, one should never journey without. Everything else is, well, just there.

So, here’s my list of must-haves:

Willingness to make multiple stops on the way

So, you might get delayed reaching your destination by a couple of hours. You might miss the sunset on the horizon or a jungle safari or shacking on the beach. So what? It’s impossible to make a train or bus or flight stop mid-way (that might be dangerous too!), but don’t be afraid to make multiple stops on your road trips. Some of the best adventures are waiting to greet you during unplanned, unexpected halts, I can guarantee you that.

A good camera and extra batteries

It’s a boring bus ride in a rickety government Volvo bus in the ghats, and your eyes are drooping shut when, suddenly, the bus screeches to a halt. There’s commotion in the front. Wondering what it is, you move to the driver’s area and realize that there’s a herd of bison leisurely making its way across the road ahead – there’s even a little baby bison! It’s a sight you’ve never seen before. You reach into your bag to capture that moment and, what do you know, your camera is missing. Or, worse still, it’s out of charge. Yes, you will be right to slap yourself hard at such times.

A small medicine pack

Nothing can be worse than going to someplace fully excited, trying the local cuisine or doing a Shahrukh Khan-style outstretched-arms-wind-in-the-hair routine, only to fall sick soon after. Here’s a true story: I’m a big fan of seafood, especially prawns, but every once in a while, I develop a mighty allergy to prawns. The first time this happened, I felt an allergy coming on, but didn’t have any meds handy. And I was in Goa. And the sea was inviting. And the shacks were beckoning. And the music from the all-night discos was tantalizing. But where was I? In my room, alternating between itching and running to the loo. Please don’t be like me.

An open mind

To me, this should be the core of every journey one makes. No open mind means no willingness to let go, no desire to explore that animal trail with overgrown grass, no curiosity about what rabbit meat tastes like, or no thirst to learn about places from locals – often, the most knowledgeable guides. Things might not go according to plan sometimes, but that’s alright; holidays that deviate from the plan can turn out to be even more fun! But only, only, if you have an open mind and are ready to go with the flow.

Toilet paper

Saves the day, believe me!

A smile

It’s the best social networking ploy in history. If you use it, more often than not, you will end up meeting extremely interesting people from diverse walks of life on your travels, with several stories to share. A piece of friendly advice: If you’re travelling alone, be sure to follow up the smile with pepper spray and run like hell – depending on how the other person responds to your smile, of course.

A scribbling pad and pencil

There will be moments when you’ll be overwhelmed by something or the other. Pour out how you feel on paper. Sure, you’ll have your phone, but by the time you finish selecting the right words on T9, that feeling will have passed. With paper, your hand will just string one word to the other seamlessly, flowing alongside your thoughts.

That pretty much sums up almost everything I take with me on my holidays. And of course, Potli Baba, my trusted companion who makes every journey a remarkable one. Try out this list at least once in your lifetime. You might hate me for it, but it might make you live a little too!


14 thoughts on “What’s in your bag?

  1. This is perhaps a list that most of know about, but never follow. It is always nice to be reminded of this someone else. Thanks Nabila. Like you, I have allergy stories and tales of forgotten memory cards in my potli. If I may suggest, one more thing that is essential for travel it is good footwear.

    Just checked out your blog and it’s Wow!

    TGND, you are bringing out such a fantastic list of guest blogs from your potli. 🙂 Thank you.


  2. AGREE AGREE AGREE AGREE ! Lovely post and absolutely true 🙂
    I do read Nabila’s posts (more of a lurker there) and it is such a joy to see her share her list here. I like to believe I quite follow it ( though there have been a few instances with the camera ) except the open mind to taste rabbit meat 🙂

    I can’t agree more about the scribbling pad and pencil !

    Thank you TGND for having her here. Such a joy to read you, Nabila! 🙂


  3. Interesting! Some other things that I always always pack –
    Small soap and moisturiser! You never know the weather where you would be going. A few bandaids, avomine for nausea 🙂


  4. Nice post! And Nabila I love your blog… have been following it for a couple of months now.. though I don’t remember how I landed there 🙂 And I agree with TGND, the pictures on your blog are simply WOW 🙂


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