Christmas is a strange time for us. We’ve been shedding our possessions over the past six months yet the list of things we need (ok, want) for our trip continues to grow. You might be wondering what do two people who don’t want to own anything receive for Christmas? Well, funny you should ask. Here, dear, let me show you.
National Parks Pass
Brian and I are kicking off our travels with a 3-month road trip of the United States. Since moving out west almost eight years ago, we’ve dreamed of taking a chunk of time to explore the jaw-dropping beauty of the U.S. National Parks.
A National Parks Pass costs $80 but grants access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites including, of course, all of the National Parks. The pass covers entrance and amenities fees for all passengers in your vehicle. Considering that admissions fees to just a single National Park normally run about $20, the National Parks Pass is a helluva good deal.
It’s amazing how much stuff you need to go tromp around in the woods for a week or two. Since we’re not planning to go all Last American Man and catch squirrels with our bare hands, we needed some lightweight and compact cookware to carry into the wilderness. This GSI camp cookware set weights only 6.3 ounces but contains two cups, two bowls, two sporks, a pot and a strainer. Our backpacking stove even fits inside. No starving in the backcountry for us!
Therm-a-Rest Ground Pads
I learned the hard way during my backpacking trip to the Wallowa Mountains that a ground pad is often the only thing standing between the frigid, rocky ground and a good night’s sleep (I didn’t have a ground pad. I didn’t sleep). That problem is now, thankfully, forever in the past. Our new Therm-a-Rest ground pads should keep us sleeping like babies aside from those nights when I’m sure to be wide-eyed and motionless waiting for Grizzlies to saunter into our campsite.
Pacsafe Citysafe 200 Secure Shoulder Bag
I wanted a bag that I could easily sling over my shoulder when we set out to explore new cities. This Pacsafe bag fits the bill. It’s cute-ish, has lots of compartments, and comes with safety features like a slash-proof shoulder strap, lockable zipper and two hidden, large, zippered pockets. It’s small enough to pass as a purse but large enough to fit our camera and even our netbook.
Okay, this clearly has nothing to do with traveling… or does it? Consider this: My 2012 mantra is No Crap in the Trap! I want to be in tip-top shape when we leave to travel. I don’t want to feel shy in a bathing suit or spend my days cursing the Gods over the short shorts trend. In other words, I don’t want my body to hold me back in any way. The juicer helps me focus on healthy eating now, before it all goes to crap again.
Side note: Brian and I have been drinking juice made of spinach, kale, carrots, apples and ginger every morning and it’s actually, surprisingly tasty.
The Coolest Ornament Ever
One of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating the tree with all the ornaments we’ve received throughout the years. Each ornament represents an era of our lives: My first Christmas, my childhood as a soccer player and Brian’s as a baseball player, those few awkward years when I was obsessed with cats. Each ornament strikes a match of memory and I love them all. Imagine our thrill when Brian opened a present Christmas morning and found a passport ornament inside. It’s the perfect way to commemorate this exciting time in our lives.
Thank you to our wonderful families for these great presents and, especially, to my amazing mother-in-law Terry who somehow always finds the perfect gift. I mean, who else tracks down a passport ornament? Terry. That’s who.