FON (freak of nature), MM (Mama Mandy) and TBGG (Tibetan baby gangsta girl) are favorite nicknames that close friends have bestowed upon me. The names really do portray facets of me quite accurately, but one of the more recent tags in the line up, seems to capture me completely…Prada Hippie.
I can see why this loving moniker was gifted to me because my lifestyle covers an extreme band-width from yoga, meditation and coffee enemas to spending a colossal number of hours shopping for life’s beautiful luxuries and using them during my frequent globetrotting. Like the infinity symbol, the ends of my life’s spectrum are fused and intertwined, as they faithfully and continually represent all that I am.
One of my passions is the country of India and one of my favorite passions in India, is the search for authentic, hidden Vedic astrologers, palm readers and oracles. One night at Jai Mahal Palace in Jaipur, a palm reader was sitting outside the restaurant offering readings for 500 rupees. As my reading was complete and my friend, Jean Jean was plunking herself down for her reading, the palm reader looked up at me with a final proclamation, “No one can figure you out. You are a rainbow of contrasts.”
With this accurate description of me, I offer this blog article in the spirit of my true self…your loving Prada Hippie.
In 1999, during my first journey to India, I traveled to Puttaparthi to experience the infamous avatar Sai Baba’s darshan. Camping out in the ashram’s 15’ x 15’ concrete cell, four other women and I cozily shared four walls with a side room offering a toilet, hose, bucket and cold water. For the first and last time, the highlights of my packing list included Ajax, 409 and PineSol.
Since that first adventure, 17 years ago, India beckons with its siren’s call, and I obediently go…I recently returned from my tenth odyssey.
This Prada Hippie used to be a perfectionist! But, closing in on two decades of working on myself and my perfect imperfections, I have seemingly tamed the need for ultimate perfection. However, not achieving a complete and total purge, small threads of my old perfectionist tendencies break through and present themselves every once in a while.
In pulling up my India file to review my packing list for this past trip, It was glaringly obvious that the “sacred record” was one of the things my inner “P” has played a heavy hand in. One would think that after my ninth trip to India, my list would be pretty solid. But, it was as if some possessed demented part of me had taken over and upped the bar of perfection.
As a result of my partial insanity, my new mission was to pack as much as I could into the smallest dimensions as possible. To accurately illustrate this crazed state, 48 hours before departure, I found myself perusing Sephora in search of perfecting my travel toiletries. After a 30-minute debate with the sales girl over which facial mask to purchase, I spied a fabulous kit with a mini wet bar brush and other hair products. The kit was $28 but I only wanted the brush.
It was as if I was having an out-of-body experience as I witnessed my practical, grounded self being shoved aside as my old raging perfectionist broke free of her chains.
It was game on as I efficiently Googled “mini wet bar brush” and found that Nordstrom was selling the brush for $10. It was my lucky day, and with Ganesha on my team, the finish line was near. Still standing in Sephora, I phoned Nordstrom, and a lovely salesman informed me that they had one brush left. Tearing out of Sephora, I ran down to Nordstrom.
I know you are wondering…why the need for speed? The answer to that is for an entirely different blog…bottom line here is I got the perfect brush.
The joyful part in letting Ms. Perfectionist come out to play is the fact that this mini brush will be replaced in a heartbeat as soon as a better mini brush crosses my path. As a result of my packing dedication, every year my packing list gets more and more refined, and I do my happy Snoopy dance of joy over its accurate, organized precision.
The meticulous packing behavior originally surfaced preparing for my second trip to India. My yogi friends and I traveled to Mysore to practice yoga with the founding father of Ashtanga yoga, Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. I had no idea that my packing was so thorough and well-organized was even noticed by others until one day several years later Rupali, my dear friend and leader of the group, commented on what she named my “magic black bag.” Rupali could not believe how much I was able to pack in my luggage and said it seemed to have an endless bottom.
My magic black bag has racked up quite a few frequent flyer miles as its well-thought-out provisions have come to the rescue for multiple requests ranging from crazy glue for a torn nail to a dental kit for a damaged filling.
Today, I still love checking out travel stores, travel sections in drugstores and travel websites. Even though my Bohemian days of roughing it in India are in the past and my travels now tip toward the chic end of the scale, my travel Potty John’s still are a vital necessity.
My zeal for the perfect packing list will always be a joyful quest, and as I have expanded and evolved, so has my magical India black bag. I have shared my India packing list with so many friends, and they in turn have created their own magic travel bags.
Along with the list, I add this disclaimer: I’m aware this list is a tad over the top, but please use it as a baseline and add or delete according to your travel comfort and style. Namaste.
My Amazing India Packing List
For ease of mobility, pack it all in a rolling duffle…click for the details on all my favorites!
- Body Lotion
- Body Wash
- Bug-Bite Cream: Benadryl Cream
- Clip and Rubber Bands for Hair
- Dental Floss
- Ear Plugs
- Essential Oil: to mask the smells (Click for travel tip!)
- Eye Drops
- Facial Wash
- Foot Lotion
- Hair Root Coloring Spray (Click for travel tip!)
- Hair Brush
- Hand-Cleansing Gel
- Hand Lotion
- Kleenex Packs
- Krazy Glue
- Lip Balm (Click for travel tip!)
- Makeup (Click for travel tip!)
- Makeup Brushes (Click for travel tip!)
- Metal Pick Plaque Scraper
- Mosquito Bug Repellent (need to bring DEET product!) (Click for travel tip!)
- Muscle-Ache Cream: Om Balm
- Nail File
- Nail/Cuticle Clippers
- Nail Polish & Remover Pads
- Perfume (Click for travel tip!)
- Safety Pins
- Sewing Kit
- Shout It Out! Wipes
- Shower Cap
- Skincare Facial Products
- Tampons & Pads (+ Adult Depends, for heavy flow)
- Temporary Dental Kit (Click for travel tip!)
- Toothbrush and Toothbrush Holder (Click for travel tip!)
- Tongue Scraper
- Toilet Drops
- Travel John Portable Pottys & Solid Waste Kit (Click for travel tip!)
- Travel Toilet Paper Rolls
- Travel Paper Towels
- Tweezers & Compact Magnified Travel Mirror
- Wash Cloths – Camping Expandable Towels
- WetOnes Hand Towelettes (bring lots, at least two/day)
- Woolite Packets
- Artemisin by Allergy Research (for malaria and parasites)
- Charcoal Tablets
- GI Synergy K-64 by Apex Energetics (parasites)
- Ginger Chews (for motion sickness)
- Herbal Tea
- Manuka Honey Packets (antibacterial and antifungal)
- Nasya Oil
- Olba Inhaler
- Smooth Move Tea or Capsules
- Tylenol or Aleve
- Triphala (great for digestion; can be found in India or Banyan Botanicals)
- Vitamins – packed in daily baggies
- Alinia* (Nitazoxanide; best parasite drug)
*These can be purchased in India.
Drugs That Can Be Purchased in India
- Retin A
- Otek Ear Drops
- Latisse with g 0.03% bimatoprost
- Onerex Cough Syrup
- Camera, Battery & Charger
- Cell Phone & Ear Buds
- Charger Plugs
- Converter Plug (for your chargers)
- Mini Lite Pocket Tools by Victorinox
- iPhone (unlocked)
- Tracking Devices (Click for travel tip!)
- Travel Charger for iPhone and iPad
- Energy Bars (Click for travel tip!)
- Coffee Enema Bags/Coffee/Strainer (Click for travel tip!)
- Eye Mask
- Face Masks for Germs on Airplane
- Flashlight – Mini
- Gemstone Detector (Click for travel tip!)
- Gum (to help minimize water intake on long car rides)
- Jewelry and Jewelry Case (Click for travel tip!)
- Mini Handbags & Travel Cases (Click for travel tip!)
- Luggage Lock, TSA (in case you bring home another bag of goodies!)
- Mini Blender Bottle Shaker (see photo under “Food”)
- Neck Pillow (for travel on planes and long car rides)
- Pillow – Travel (for bed)
- Rain Poncho (travel size)
- Sunglasses & Reading Glasses
- Zip Ties (for outer pockets of bags)
- Watch (or just use iPhone)
- Wine Container/Ice Bucket (Click for travel tip!)
On the Plane
Keep these things handy in the smallest sizes possible!