The things I carry:

- A driver's license that soon needs to be a renewed. The picture is horrible as the smile is forced.

- A passport full of stamps marking my trek across the globe. These are my tattoos that few people get to see. They are ink-lines on hidden stories waiting to be told.

- A fading credit card with a man on a mountain in fading sunlight. He waits in some faraway place. And although I'm not the man, maybe one day I will stand where he is standing.

- A travel toothbrush that folds up into a carrying case. The brand name is faded and the bristles are falling out. It is easily replaced by the toothbrush provided by the hotel but seems to make its way into what I carry anyway.

- Sun block / Insect-repellant, sunglasses (clip-ons)

- One pair of flip-flops, one pair of walking shoes that always seems to fall apart after the trip, one pair of formal dancing shoes to dance the night away.

- One all purpose light-weight jacket.

- Seven or more casual t-shirts. I always seem to come back with more with words and images of where I've been.

- Seven or more undergarments and five or more pairs of socks

- Favorite pair of jeans; the one with deep pockets and broken in.

- Two or more pairs of slacks or shorts

- One pair of sweatpants for traveling comfort on those dreadful airplane flights

- Swim trunks for hot-tubs, pools, and topless sandy beaches in Lyon

- Change-bag full of quarters (foreign exchange version of quarters) for laundry.

- A slim, red cell phone/ music player with headphones and charger. This is my lifeline, a connection to home.

- One camera and plenty of back-up memory cards

- Razor and other grooming supplies packed up neatly in a slim green carrying case.

- (Optional) personal lap-top with wireless card and charger. It is almost four years old now and far out of date. The battery weighs a pound or so but feels heavier on a trip,

- One book on history and culture.

Other things to pack depending on situation:

- Business: collared shirts and ties (the one with yellow dragons curling around)

- Anticipated snow: warm, waterproof pants replace slacks; heavier jacket to replace the light-weight one; other winter apparel including Tasmanian Devil earmuffs, gloves, and scarf (the big one that's red and black. It's as long as I am tall and I call it fondly The Anime Scarf)

- Anticipated sunshine: Hawaiian shirt (It makes me feel like 007 and I'm then prompted to order a dry martini 'Shaken not stirred'), a beach towel that smells of salt and sand

Most importantly do not forget:

- One desire for adventure, a sense of humor, and the knowledge that we are all human despite the spaces in-between.


*Authors Note: This chapter was influenced by The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien