Christmas Gifts For Soon-To-Be World Travelers

by Kim on December 27, 2011 · 14 comments

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.

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.

Backpacking Essentials

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.



{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jo December 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Awww I LOVE that passport ornament… so cute. One of my favourite travel gifts I have rec’d was a ‘wedding’ gift from my Mom in law – almost the entire Lug line – packing cubes, passport/ticket organizers, carry on bags, etc.


Kim December 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm

What a fantastic gift!!! I loooove my packing cubes. Great for traveling and even for backpacking (like backcountry backpacking).


Carmel December 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm

That’s awesome. I love the ornament, too.

I was just thinking about the little things we’d like for our trip and making a list of them so when someone asks me what we want for Christmas or our birthdays, I can give them an idea besides just money (which is always welcome). These are great.

Shawn and I have also started to think about adding a month of road trip to our itinerary as well. We would love to go back to Northern California. It was one of the more affordable trips we took and definitely the most memorable.


Kim December 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Yeah, I don’t know why it took us so long to really settle on driving through the US first. I think since it’s home and so accessible we didn’t think we needed to explore it. But then when we started thinking of how much we love the west and want to see all the National Parks in the west it was a no brainer.

Good idea with keeping that list of things you need. I have something like that and have been working off of it for two Christmas’ now!


tunimaal December 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Nice list…. But the juicer??? Seriously LOL… definitly the best accesory on your list…
I hope that one day they will make a backpacker size juicer, for those who love travelling and getting a fresh fruits juice in the morning, without having to fight with the fruits to mae it


Kim December 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Haha, I know the juicer has nothing to do with traveling but my sister gave it to us and I really, really, really wanted one. I wouldn’t buy it myself since it is clearly not related to anything we really need. BUT, I love it, and the best part is I’m just going to give it to my sister when we leave, so it’s sort of like she bought herself a juicer for Christmas.


Krystin December 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

The National Parks pass & Passport ornament are perfect gifts! How exciting you guys are closer and closer everyday!


Kim December 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Yep, isn’t that National Parks pass amazing???? So excited! Can May just get here already?? 🙂


margot December 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm

It doesn’t seem like your body holding you back is an issue — the core issue seems to be vanity and buying into mainstream body image socialization for women. Your body is in amazing shape…better than 99% of Americans, and surely healthy enough to do anything that travel would require. Looking good (as defined by your own head) in a swimsuit or in short shorts isn’t about health or your body holding you back. It’s about your head holding you back. No need to be shy. No one else cares how you look in a swimsuit, and I’m sure you look fabulous any time anyway.


Kim December 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Well thanks, it is primarily about health. However, I don’t think it’s vanity or buying into mainstream body image. If you knew me you would know that I definitely don’t buy in to that OR look anything like that “mainstream” and I’m proud of that. I’m strong and I love it but I also want to be in the best shape that I can be in. I know what that means for me and I know I’m not there right now… but I will be, thanks in part to that damn juicer.


Nomadic Samuel December 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Great ideas! I’m a big fan of pacsafe 🙂


Kim December 27, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Love Pacsafe!


Dev December 29, 2011 at 2:51 am

Nice camp cookware set.small but much sufficient.


Kim December 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Yes, definitely sufficient… and so lightweight. Fantastic.


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