Far away places with strange sounding names …. the call of travel

I was only 2 or 3 years old when Vera Lynn sang the song about ‘faraway places with strange sounding names’ and it’s always resonated with me – no wonder I finally morphed into a travel writer!

While I haven’t been to China, I have seen the ‘castles in Spain’ and been ‘to Siam’ (Kingdom of Thailand) as mentioned in the lyrics sung by the popular, WW2 UK singer, Vera Lynn . (Lyrics below) I’ve also been to many other places around the world some with ‘strange sounding names’ – and if I haven’t been somewhere, you can guarantee it’s on my bucket list!

With all the travelling I do, I have found lots of luggage-type  odds and ends that helps keep my bag to the smallest size while making sure I can find my gear – and more importantly I don’t forget something vital – electronics have changed our travel needs (and or wants).

In 1995, when I started serious, long-term, traveling and writing I didn’t even have an email addresses let alone a computer or mobile phone. How quickly things have changed!

I’ve written about packing for plane travel before, but here are a few more tips for you so living out of your travel bag is easy;

  1. Buy a smaller bag than you think you need! This will help concentrate your mind on your NEEDS. (I always take too much when I’m traveling by car, from home, as I know I have space for all the just-in-case items – which should be culled.)
  2. Use organiser type bags or cubes so you can keep like with like. E.G. one mesh bag for underwear and socks. I also use airline toiletries bags for electronic bits and pieces.  And of course your toiletries need to be in small containers in a small bag. Keep any medication in your carry-on bag.
  3. And of course, rolling or folding? I believe rolling creates less wrinkles – in fact I sometimes roll clothes as complete outfits – usually clothes that are for ‘best’ or will rarely to be worn but are needed.
  4. A waterproof bag for keeping electronics/ passport/tickets can be useful if you will be on boats or during monsoon season. The same bag is great for keeping out sand in deserts or the beach.
  5. And, finally, keep all these in one bag along with lists of what’s needed for a ‘weekend’, a ‘month’, in a ‘hostel’ or a ‘5-star’ trip: and of course for that last-minute invitation to travel. Even with a list I can forget something in the last minute rush.

Here photos of my mix and match bags that I use when on the move – it all depends on the length of the trip, destination and of course the type of accommodation and transport.

Media needs a variety of bags .. for batteries, leads, chargers etc
Media needs a variety of bags .. for batteries, leads, chargers etc
Waterproof and dust proof bags are often essential
Waterproof and dust proof bags are often essential
My cat - Mista - is alert once these bags appear .. false alarm this time!
My cat – Mista – is alert once these bags appear .. false alarm this time!
I keep all my travel bag bits and pieces handy in one bag
I keep all my travel bag bits and pieces handy in one bag

What are your best packing tips? Add them in the comments for others to try for size.

See below for the lyrics to the song:

Faraway places
With strange soundin’ names
Faraway over the sea
Those faraway places
With the strange soundin’ names
Are callin’, callin’ me

Goin’ to China
Or maybe Siam
I want to see for myself
Those faraway places
I’ve been readin’ about
In a book that I took from a shelf

I start getting restless
Whenever I hear
The whistle of a train
I pray for the day
I can get underway
And look for those castles in Spain

They call me a dreamer
Well, maybe I am
But I know that I’m burnin’ to see
Those faraway places
With the strange soundin’ names
Callin’, callin’ me…

NG welcomes Madras Street reopening after quake

NG is in a historic warehouse building and was originally on the fringe of the fashion district. On the ground floor is a  boutique, and as well as avant-garde jewellery and fabulous clothing from Europe, it’s also home to designer Sharon Ng’s quality label.  NG is said to be ‘contemporary European with influences from her Chinese heritage while paying homage to the colours of her South Island landscape.’

When I last went to NG , earlier this year,  it was funny to enter the space  of one of New Zealand’s great designers via an uneven, stone-strewn car park – a car park that was where my home was over 50-years ago, the Christchurch Central Fire Station that ran from Lichfield through to Tuam Street.

We entered that way as the shop front is on Madras Street which has been closed to traffic other than those working on the quake demolition or repairs of buildings in neighboring streets. However once over the stones, it’s great inside the fabulous and historic building that many of we older Cantabrians remember as Bain’s Warehouse. While post-quake strengthening work was carried out in her building, Sharon Ng had a store in Merivale but I’m sure she was happy to return to the wonderful ambience of this building and a front door that’s open.

The gallery upstairs is open with Christchurch Art Gallery using it,  and while C4 coffee is across the road in Tuam St, it will not be long before NG has a cafe again  . . . with  the scene from the huge arched windows very different since the quake.

Once the word is out I’m sure this will soon be a meeting point for all fashion and art lovers once again. Sharon is just one more of the Christchurch heroes who has put her money and heart back into the city she loves. So, if you love edgy fashion, head to NG  where you will be sure to find something  – something perfect for your next party or occasion.

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