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Essential 'Round the World Item #1: Handkerchief

By SammyK on Sun, Oct 19th 08 at 02:06PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

There are a few essential items that you must have with you when traveling the world. There are the obvious ones - food, water, a place to sleep. But what about the other items that make traveling the world much easier? William and I are slowly discovering things that make budget traveling easier.

Most people think of handkerchiefs being an "old people item". The only people they can think of that actually ever used a handkerchief was their grandparents. But I believe having a handkerchief in one's pocket is a "lost art" of sorts. The handkerchief is one of the most multi-purpose tools one can have in their pocket.

Let's uncover the top 10 most important reasons why the incredible handkerchief is so crucial for traveling around the world.

1) Mutes Coughs and Sneezes.
I don't know about you, but when I'm walking behind someone who sneezes or coughs, I always hold my breath as I pass the, "infect area." It's gross - you sneeze and your junk goes everywhere. If you sneeze or cough in your hand - that's gross too because all that junk goes in your hand. Who wants to shake your hand now?

When you get sick while traveling the world - and believe me, you will - your body will be preforming many coughs and sneezes.

If you have a handkerchief handy, not only do you completely contain the infected area caused by said cough or sneeze, but the sound of it is muted substantially. So if you have an obnoxiously loud sneeze, like William, people around you will certainly appreciate the hankie.

2) Keeps You Dry
In the States, whenever I would go dancing at a dance studio party or just to dance practice, I always made sure I had a handkerchief in my pocket. It's essential to wipe the sweat off of one's brow. It's even more crucial at a dance competition to not look so sweaty in front of a crowd.

It's much better than using your sleeve that someone might bump up against and think to themselves, "Eeeeew."

3) They're Green!
Being "green" is all the rage these days. Having a hankie in your pocket keeps you from having to use napkins or tissues for wipe your nose. Or cleaning up little milk spills when your awesome box milk leaks. You need to blow your nose? The hankie will not hold it against you. Throw it in the wash and you have many a nose-blow ahead of you.

4) Impressive To Ladies
A man with a hankie is hot to women. Well, maybe not at first, but as soon as there is a little mud puddle that you can lay your hankie in so that a pretty girl doesn't have to step in it, you just scored major points. Or if your lady is in distress you can gently wipe her tears away with your clean* hankie.

* It's not recommended that you use a hankie that you just sneezed into to wipe all over some girl's face. You'll no doubt lose some serious points doing such a thing.

5) Fancy Toilet Paper
When you're traveling around on a shoestring budget, it's not a matter of "if", but "when" that your sitting there in your shady hotel on the communal toilet with no TP in sight. Hankie! It's better than walking around unwiped and it feels awesome. Not that I can speak from experience on this one.

Note: You might want to just throw your hankie away after this type of use. It's not recommended that you stick it back into your pocket so that you can wash it later for reason #3. Don't worry - not a huge loss - they're cheap! (See reason #6)

6) They're Cheap!
Yeah, you can buy like 3 of them for less than a dollar. Think of how much use you can get out of them for less than a dollar! These days, that kind of deal is rare.

7) A Wee Pillow
Say your ridding along in your budget bus ride in some country. Your using your arm to prop up your head as you try to catch some sleep. But your elbow hurts where it is resting on a hard and bumpy surface. Just whip out your hankie, fold it up a few times and then place it carefully under your elbow. Instant comfort.

The Wee Pillow might be a little too wee for your head while sleeping at night. But I'm sure some have tried it - it's better than a rock.

8) A Great Washcloth
Whether your washing some camping dishes or your body, the handkerchief doubles as a great washcloth. It's able to get behind the ears and in all the nooks and crannies of your portable dish set.

9) Stops Blood From Spewing
In the unfortunate event that you cut yourself badly enough to need a tourniquet, your handy little hankie could very well save your life. Just tie that sucker around your arm or leg or wherever the bloody gusher is, and vowala! No need for an expensive hospital. After all - we're on a budget here!

10) Just Give Up
If you're every in a situation where you need to surrender and you don't speak the language of the people you are surrendering to, simply tie your hankie at the end of a stick and wave it around. They'll get the message.

We're obviously just scratching the surface here. There are millions of uses for the handy handkerchief which makes it one of the essentials for 'round the world travel.


Steve and Anita wrote on October 19th 08 at 06:15PM
So how many hours did this take to think up these top ten uses? Quite funny!
William's Aunt Susan of Seattle wrote on October 20th 08 at 12:44PM
Hi Sam, I am really enjoying your blog, photos, etc. It's great that you love dancing. Here is a little tidbit about William - his Grandmother Barbara (my mother) was an Arthur Murray dance instructor in her youth. As children we were all taught the basic ballrooms dances - cha cha, waltz, foxtrot, etc. just as soon as we could walk. Or perhaps it only seemed that way. So William has dancing in his genes...! When you guys return and I'm in Lexington for a visit, please show me some of the new dances you have learned in your travels. I look forward to meeting you and will continue to follow your's and William's exciting adventure.
The incredible story of how two recent college grads are traveling around the world on an impossible budget.
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