Friends, I gotta tell you—living with just what we need is pure enjoyment. I haven’t missed one iota the stuff management that unintentionally comprises more of my time than I prefer. There is delightful freedom in just a few bits of clothing to choose from each morning (and yep, I’ve already tweaked my wardrobe choices—more on that soon).

I’ve been meaning to share the “other” stuff in my bag—the stuff besides, the clothes, in other words. Well, here you go. This is everything:


I might not have exactly nailed my wardrobe on the first try, but I’m pretty happy to have seemingly hit toiletries out of the park. I already enjoyed a minimalist, natural approach to beauty and grooming, so it was fairly simple to just pack it up and take it on the road.

Our main bag is a simple packing cube from Tom Bihn.)

1. Insect repellant: I initially brought this travel-sized spray deodorant from Weleda, mostly for the spray bottle (found it at the checkout aisle at Whole Foods before we left). Once it ran out, I rinsed it and started using it for our family’s insect repellant. It’s a simple concoction of 1-ounce water and 8 drops of TerraShield essential oil. Works brilliantly and smells great.

2. Lanolin: This is my usual lip balm, even at home (yep, it’s what you use for breastfeeding)—I’ve used it since my firstborn, almost a decade ago, and I just bought my third tube before this trip. Lasts ages (obviously).

3. Disposable razor: Nothing fancy. I’ll get a new one when I need it.

4. Soap: We brought a small thing of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap, and thanks to a—shall we say, eager—child in the shower, it was used up quickly. We’re now on to our Dr. Bronner’s bar soap. Not sure how long it’ll last, but we’ll buy another natural one if we can find it. If not, we’ll shrug our shoulders and buy what we can.

5. Hair butter: When I’m in drier climates, like Bend, I use Hair Butter for its intended purpose—to smooth out frizzy hair. I haven’t needed it in humid climates so far, but this also makes an excellent lotion for all skin types—the whole family uses it when necessary (it’s my main lotion at home, too). A little goes a long way, so I’m hoping two 4-ounce tins will last us our entire trip. I love this stuff.

6. Facial oil cleanser: Most of you know I wash my face with oil and have for years. Thanks to these seriously amazing GoToob travel bottles that don’t leak a drip (seriously—we’ve tried), I’m able to pack my olive oil-castor oil-tea tree oil concoction with zero problems.

7. Shampoo: I don’t use anything in my hair to wash it (I formerly used a baking soda concoction, but now my hair goes completely nude). Really—a good scrub with the fingertips and it’s fine… but I’ll admit it does get a bit greasier in the tropics. As I suspected. We brought a travel-size container of my favorite shampoo from Trade as One (support them!), but seeing as this is for everyone, we’re already low (though one three-ounce container for a family of five, for six weeks = pretty awesome). Like the soap, we’ll try to find a natural option to buy, but if not, oh well. I only use it about every two weeks and just a tiny bit on the scalp at that. (I promise, my hair has never been healthier since I went poo-free).

8. Deodorant: I was hoping to find a natural deodorant in Chiang Mai, and lo and behold, I found one for 52 baht (about $1.60 US) from Tesco Lotus. Score! Kyle and Tate use the same. These things are compact and take ages to use up, so we should be good the rest of the year.

9. Brush(es) and comb: The comb is for the boys, just after bathing.

10. Floss: Just your basic stuff—it can be bought anywhere (we got this here in Thailand).

11. Toothpaste: We brought three travel-sized Tom’s toothpastes and spread them throughout our backpacks. So far, we’re still on our first one.

12. Toothbrushes: This is the one item that may seem like overkill, but hear me out—about a year ago our sensory processing disorder (SPD) kiddo’s therapist recommends he use an electric toothbrush to strengthen his mouth muscles, so we all got one in our stockings (Santa goes big in our household). We all love these Spinbrushes, and they cost five bucks a pop; a simple battery and head replacement are all that’s needed. We brought several heads (seen below).

13. Bandaids: Brought just a few from home; we’ll replace anywhere when it’s needed.

14. Glasses and contacts: I wear my glasses 99% of the time, but I wanted my contacts for a few other things. In fact, I’m still looking in to the possibility of corrective surgery here in Thailand (it’s very common), so maybe I won’t need this at all soon. We’ll see.

15. Hair doo-dads: Just the basics for Tate and me to pull our hair away from our humidity-drenched skin.

16. Saline: For the contacts—I barely wear them, so when I run out of the stuff, I’ll just buy more. It’s readily available.

17. Healing Balm: My friend Nina whips up this fantastic stuff full of natural goodness, and it’s great on cleaned-out owies and rashes.

18. Advil: You know…. headaches and what-not.

19: Diva Cup: I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say I’ve used a Diva Cup for eight years, and I CANNOT imagine using anything else. Total and complete game-changer. Makes travel, big or small, a breeze. Real life, too.

20. Replacement heads for our Spinbrushes.

…And then there’s the washcloth we picked up in Yangshuo, China. Oh, and nail clippers.


My makeup is terribly uninteresting. I hardly wear it on this trip, but when I do, I use Mineral Fusion.

Other packing posts:

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