I’ll start with this: I love packing. I love organizing. I love pockets, bags, and hidden compartments. I love folding clothes up into neat little squares with Marie Kondo finesse. I plan every outfit in my head and try to bring only the things I need. I’m a singer/songwriter, so I find most of my essentials revolve around relaxing, writing, and being outdoors (and most definitely swimming!).
On my trip from Kumeyaay Territory (San Diego) to Rumsen Ohlone Territory (Monterey), I also detoured via boat to Pimu (a.k.a. Catalina Island) for two nights of camping. This definitely required more planning than the rest of my packing, as I had to load everything I needed into a 55-liter backpack to hike it into camp. Out of everything I brought, these are the essentials that carried me through my California road trip.
1. Jojoba Oil
My #1 favorite product in the world, especially when I travel. So many factors can affect your skin while traveling: the sun, temperature changes, sunscreen, diet…but this is my saving grace. Face looking dull and dry? Jojoba oil! Ends of your hair extra crispy? Jojoba oil! Legs looking ashy? Jojoba oil! Can’t find your chapstick? Jojoba oil!
I bring my ukulele on all my travels. I love laying down my towel or setting up my hammock and just spending the day singing and writing. You really won’t find me traveling without it.
3. Notebook and Felt Tip Sharpie
This is my combo! I like notebooks that have no lines. This allows me to sketch or press flowers and plants into them and have complete freedom with the pages. I also store business cards or reading material in it. I love colorful felt tip Sharpies for their inky crispness.
This snap-and-go camera is the perfect camera for me. I’m not one to fidget with lenses or manual settings. This camera allows me to move at my pace, get the shot, and keep going. It’s hard to take bad photos when your camera is this good!
I think everyone needs a cozy sweater when traveling the California coast. Mornings are brisk and foggy, oceanside breezes can chill you, and nights can be icy! This one is cute, comfortable, and Native-made!
I fell for the ads, but the Sand Cloud towel is true to its claim! It doesn’t hold on to sand like other towels. I’ve used it as a shade canopy, a towel, a beach wrap, a doggy carrier, a floor mat, and a cover for my hot leather car seats!
Merrell is my go-to for outdoor footwear! These babies have been with me for five years and I suppose it’s time for a new pair but I’m so attached! There was never a break-in period which I loved, and they’ve held up great considering how often I wear them and how rough I am on footwear.
Everyone should use sun protection, especially in California! Don’t be fooled by overcast days! I like Sun Bum because it is as safe as sunscreen can get for you and the marine environment.
I bring a pocket knife with me for so many reasons, and I find myself using it quite a bit. For cutting plant medicines, slicing apples and cheese, digging little holes, opening cans, or cleaning under my nails (hopefully I never have to use it for self-defense). I’m sure I’ll keep discovering ways to use this handy little pocket knife.