I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's "Down Under" to get some preliminary ideas of places I should visit in Australia. This has inspired me to look at a few more websites, one of which is a rather good gap year site set up by a twenty-something person who wanted to offer independent advice to other people who are thinking of embarking on similar trips to those he and his girlfriend have been on. He writes about inter-railing, coach tours and working holidays, and it's all useful stuff. However, I was struck by the following sentence in the "What to Pack" section: "However some items are essential (no not hair straightners and laptops) so check out the essential items list to see what every traveller should take with them."
Not hair straighteners?! As I'm sure anyone who's been camping with me will attest, for this girl hair straighteners are not a luxury item. They are literally one of life's most basic essentials, keeping me looking and feeling human and providing happiness and confidence. I don't feel like myself with natural hair, and I certainly don't look like a person that any right-thinking individual would want to approach. I refuse to resemble a wild hedgerow-cloud being with the fringe of Renee Zellweger in Chicago on my travels, so I will be packing my precious ceramics and a plug adaptor for every possible electrical system in the world, and woe betide anyone who tries to persuade me otherwise. They can replace the sunglasses which appear on the "Essential Kit List" and which I've never worn in my life.
Somehow, I guess that all the girls out there will fully understand this point of view while the men may be less convinced. Alternatively, you may all remember just what my hair turns into when left to its own devices and agree with me wholeheartedly!