On a ride from central Cappadoccia to the area airport a few weeks ago, there were exactly four people in the van: Alpay, me, and a woman and a man we hadn't before met. The guys cordially nodded and proceeded to ignore eachother for the ensuing 45 minutes, going so far as feigning sleep to avoid engaging in conversation, while within minutes the woman and I had exchanged names, histories, and email addresses, looked inside eachother's purses, and offered to share snacks.
Perhaps because my own mother's purse was Strictly Off-Limits, few things are as gratifying as looking in another woman's purse--with permission, of course. On the ride to Kayseri, when the woman opened her bag to offer me some nuts, I commented on how organized her bag looked. In the habit of tidy people everywhere, she was happy to show off her tricks and opened the bag right up, the better to examine the contents, which we did, piece by piece. Of the things I noticed right away: there were no loose items at all--not one. Everything was in its own little a bag or case or canister of some sort--passport, sunglasses, cell phone and ipod. Even her lipgloss was stowed away in a little bag of travel essentials, which is where I got the idea of creating my own travel essentials bag with one of the free gift-with-purchase bags I'd brought along.
Contents of my essential pack from top left: ibuprofen, 2" x 3" notebook, pencil, hand sanitizer, tissues, moleskin (to cushion blisters), wallet with cash, ID, and credit card, hand wipes, epi-pen (for allergies), (free, GWP) lipstick, ponytail holder, sun block, bandaids, and mirror/bronzer.
It all fits nicely in a little clutch. After pulling this together, I was ready for anything! And my bag was a lot tidier, too.