Photo by Trey Ratcliff

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Well-Stocked Traveler's First-Aid Kit

Most people skimp on first-aid supplies when traveling, thinking they'll find whatever they need once they're at their destination (should anything untoward occur). That's definitely not the case. Imagine if you're a woman in a country where you don't speak the language and, in the middle of the night, you realize you have a vaginal infection. Good luck finding treatment or relief. The same goes for going off the beaten track only to find that you've been stung by a jellyfish or you brushed against poison ivy. Or if you're sitting beside a campfire and an ash flies into your eye. What do you do?

For these and many other reasons, I always carry a well-stocked first-aid kit when I travel. Below are my recommendations. You'll notice that I've grouped the supplies into categories based on symptom or body organ/system, which makes it easier to determine what you need for what ails you.

Bites, Stings, Rashes, Burns

Benadryl cream - for itching
Aloe vera gel - for sunburn relief
IvyBlock - to prevents poison ivy rash
Calamine lotion -- for rash/itching
Antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine -- for allergies or rash/itching
Hydrocortisone cream - for rash/itching
Tecnu - poison ivy skin cleanser
After Bite -- for itching after a "bug" bite

Cuts, Blisters and Bruises

Betadine or other antiseptic wipes
Bacitracin topical antibiotic cream
Blister kit with moleskin
QuikClot - to stop bleeding fast
Spenco 2nd Skin squares/pads - for blister protection
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain and fever
Bandage strips (in a variety of sizes) as well as “butterfly”-type bandages
Nonstick gauze squares and gauze roll
Ace-type, elastic wrap bandages
Adhesive tape
Aquaphor ointment - for blisters 
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat, Teeth

Eye Wash
Lubricating Eye Drops
EarPlanes to unclog ears on the plane
Saline nasal spray

Stomach Issues

Bonine - for motion sickness
MiraLax - for constipation
Pepto Bismol chewable tabs - for diarrhea and to prevent traveler's diarrhea
Electrolyte replacement powder - for diarrhea
Peppermint Tummy drops - for stomach upset

Women's Needs

Diflucan (single oral dose) - prescription pill for vaginal infection
Monistat vaginal cream - for vaginal infection

continue reading "A Well-Stocked Traveler's First-Aid Kit"

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Packing With Only A Carry-On

I never check luggage. Even when I’m on the road for six plus weeks, I only travel with a carry-on bag and a small backpack, along with my 7-in-1 wallet. Checking luggage has no upside. It’s expensive and time consuming. I like to jump off the plane and hit the ground running. No waiting at the carousel for luggage. Here’s how I do it:

On the plane, I wear my heaviest items, including my bulkiest outer wear and shoes/boots. Aside from a dress, on the plane I wear black leggings, a merino wool hoodie, and a merino wool or fleece sweater/jacket, and a down vest that doubles as a pillow.

I choose clothing that in neutral or earth tones, often black, tan or grey -- so there's a lot of mix and matching -- with tees, tanks and a scarf providing bright accent colors.

Almost all the clothes I pack do not wrinkle and are made of wickable fabrics, which means they don't absorb moisture easily so you stay dry as you race about town, but they also dry relatively quickly when you wash them. (I hand wash my underwear, pants, shorts, dresses and shirts and they dry in no time.)

When packing my bag, I roll all the clothing. 

Here’s what I pack in my carry-on:
2 dresses
1 pair of pants (that convert to shorts)
2 t-shirts
2 long sleeve shirts
1 tank top
1 buff (that doubles as a scarf/hat)
1 rain jacket
1 pair of Mary Janes or sandals
3 pair of socks (Merino wool)
3 pairs of underwear (Merino wool)

Here’s what I pack in my small backpack:
iPhone plus bluetooth keyboard
First-aid kit
Vitamin supplements
Toiletries in travel sizes that fit in the TSA-recommended bag
Charging cords and international plug
Earplugs and eye mask

My 7-in-1 Wallet contains:
credit cards
drivers license
lip balm
cell phone
business cards

continue reading "Packing With Only A Carry-On"

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Culinary Delights in St. Kitts

Unlike Nevis, its tiny, placid sister island that’s a mere
seven minutes away by water taxi, St. Kitts buzzes with
an overabundance of large cruise ship activity, with
travelers gravitating to casinos, zip lines and ATV vehicles.
However, I sought out and found the serene side of this
island, including chill restaurants that satisfy all tastes,
whether vegan or confirmed meat eater. The photos (below)
reflect some of the scrumptious desserts served at the
MangoLand Cafe, an informal eatery where guests sit in
the placid backyard in the shade of, what else, but
mango trees. This is my latest article for Forbes on St. Kitts. 

continue reading "Culinary Delights in St. Kitts"

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Safely Walking on Icy Surfaces

As I walk in cold climates where icy streets are the norm, I’m always
observing how people walk on slippery surfaces. Many people break
their shoulder, arm, wrist or hip when falling on a slick sidewalk.
There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of falling.

Here are a few:

Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets. Instead, keep your
arms by your side.

Take small steps and keep your weight forward, on the front of your foot,
rather than leaning back or putting your weight on the back of your foot

Look for parallel surfaces, such as sand, grass, snow or even gravel, that
are not slippery and that you can safely navigate to your destination.

When stepping off a curb, do so cautiously, placing your foot straight down,
rather than taking a big step far from the curb, which can place you off balance.

When walking down outdoor steps, especially steep, long ones that are
found at many outdoor metro stations, always hold the rail.

    Wear shoes or boots that have great traction. I’ve written about a company that sells shoes and boots with tiny cleats, such as Ice Bug.
    continue reading "Safely Walking on Icy Surfaces"

    Sunday, January 19, 2020

    Gear Review: Comfortable Cross-Trainers

    Unlike most people, I'm no fan of sneakers because they don't allow my feet to breath. So, I always worked around my disdain for sneakers by either wearing sandals or boots of some sort. But sometimes you just need a cross trainer type shoe that's breathable. I'm now in love with the Torrent Pro manufactured by Chaco. While I adore Chaco's sandals, I haven't had a lot of experience with their shoes. I wanted something that was breathable, lightweight, comfortable, provided plenty of room in the toe box, offered good traction on wet surfaces, didn't require lacing, and, of course, looked good with jeans or black leggings. These shoes completely fit the bill. They come in a selection of colors from the bold (orange) to the very tame (black) along with other neutral colors.

    continue reading "Gear Review: Comfortable Cross-Trainers"

    Saturday, January 11, 2020

    Photos: Bahamas - Long Island

    In the Bahamas Out Islands, Long Island is for travelers who desire a low-key, laid-back environ with nothing in the way of shopping malls, water parks, mega resorts or casinos. Instead, it's all about protected coves and desolate stretches of sand. In essence, an island that appeals to nature lovers.

    continue reading "Photos: Bahamas - Long Island"

    Saturday, December 28, 2019

    Photos: Saint Kitts

    With its almost 4,000-foot dormant volcano, Mount Liamuiga, that often has clouds swirling around its peak, stone ruins that provide reminders of the island's sugar plantation past, lush rain forest coating undulating terrain, and numerous opportunities to relax in plunge pools or the relatively calm Caribbean Sea, Saint Kitts in the Caribbean is a picturesque isle. These images provide a small window into the island's treasures.

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    Sunday, December 22, 2019

    Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for the Traveler

    Looking for a last minute gift? Something that’s unique by an small, independent, woman-owned business? Gifts that are perfect for the traveler in your family or office or for a friend who already has journeys planned for the New Year? Below are two small products that fit the bill. These are items that I designed, that are Made in America, and that you won’t find in stores. And, though some of you may think you’ve seen these sorts of wallets and bags before, you haven’t.

    The cross-body bag (below), like all my bags and clothing, is minimalist. It doesn’t show off that you are carrying your vitals. It opens vertically -- like all my bags -- revealing three deep zippered pockets. These are perfect for carrying everything from a small bottle of sunscreen to sunglasses. There’s also a special section that keeps credit cards secure. The best seller has been the dark camo, so much so that there is only one left!!

    This 7-In-1 wallet allows women and men to have easy access to access to heir vitals, whether you wear it cross body, on your belt, over your shoulder or four other ways. Lots of zippered and Velcro pockets.

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    Sunday, December 15, 2019

    Gear Review: Stylish Winter Boots with Traction on Ice

    When the temperatures drop and the sidewalk and other surfaces are coated with ice and snow, I turn to shoes and boots manufactured by Ice Bug, a Sweden-based company that strives for sustainability. What makes their footwear unique is that many of them have soles with studs that allow for slip-free brisk walking, running or hiking on icy/snowy terrain. One of their most popular boots is the Metro 2 BUGrip, a trademark name for the carbide steel studs imbedded in the outsole. (The traction system is referred to as dynamic, meaning that it adapts to the surface and the amount of pressure your foot exerts on the ground. Each stud is acting independently.) The shoe is stylish with a side zipper; it’s water-repellent, insulated, and allows me to easily walk on most any outdoor surfaces thanks to the stable grip. Of course, once I transition indoors with these boots, I have to remain vigilant, walking carefully on marble or tile flooring because steel studs do not mix well with these slick surfaces. That's the only downside to these boots, but then any studded shoe would have the same problem

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