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What’s in your bag?

What’s in your bag?

Bastian

I’m on a three week trip to Cambodia. Back in France I work as a nurse and because of my profession, I always have some paracetamol tablets stashed in my bag. Since I also play music, an extra ukulele string is a must—on my journeys, ukulele is the perfect replacement for a guitar. It goes together with my mini-tuner.

Other than a wallet, my passport and Alain Delon cigarettes, I also have a digital clock that never works properly and a carabineer which I use when I have to fix something.

There’re also two sea shells, and the most important thing: a pen.

Dimitry

I’m Belorussian, working and living in Phnom Penh. Let me see what I’ve got in my bag. First comes... Nokia cellphone with 4.1 megapixel camera. Next, I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy S—this one operates on Android.

I also have a sort of weapon that combines brass knuckles with a blade and can also be used as a carabineer.

There’s a pack of condoms – opened but not used yet. I won’t go into explaining this story.

The other pocket has cigarettes and a lighter, two silver rings from Pakistan, one with black agate. There’s also a belly piercing. I have a special hole for it but it’s better to keep it in the pocket.

I also carry six business cards of people I don’t know or remember; two Mobitel scratch cards, not used yet. I keep seven SIM cards from different countries, and this mini visa credit card—the smallest credit card ever, issued by the Pakistani Alfalah Bank.

In a secret compartment of my wallet, there’s a scrap of paper with a number of a Canadian girl. I’ve kept it for five years - I’m not sure why.

Mariana

I’m from Spain traveling around Southeast Asia and am living and working in China. In my bag you’ll find the usual: an iPhone, a pack of Marlboro Red, some money and a nose decongestant spray—to breathe properly—because I’ve been a little been ill recently.

A small notebook also comes in handy for writing email addresses of people I meet or directions. Some pain killers, lip balm, bus schedules for Vietnam, a pen and a tape roll are also there.

At the moment I also have a bottle of Raid insecticide but I don’t carry it every day. I borrowed from the bar to spray mosquitoes in my room.

Marie

I’m a French teacher from Marseille, currently on a six month break that I decided to spend travelling around Southeast Asia. I only arrived in Phnom Penh today, after visiting Vietnam.

My bag is full of various weird stuff. I have two books I haven’t managed to sell because they’re too old—a very good French novel and a guidebook on Vietnam—a bit damaged after having fallen into the water. I still keep all the leaflets, tickets and other papers from Vietnam... and a piece of paper that reads “1kg = 70”. No idea what that was about.

I’ve got two pages from a cookbook that are very precious to me: these are zucchini recipes and other dishes I would like to eat.

I also carry around a small notebook on the back of which there are marine creatures, like crabs and shrimps, drawn on it. I use it in countries where I can’t communicate to explain that I’m allergic to seafood. Also because of my allergy I always have a shot of adrenaline on me, in case I wind up eating something bad and have to save my life.

What else? A pair of glasses, two toothbrushes—when the first one starts tasting bad I have another one. And this mystery—a small cosmetic bag which contains tweezers and nail polish, because you never know when you might need it.

This pen I have a special fondness for because it’s a gift from one of my pupils, and a lucky dime I got from a man in Sri Lanka which will be a gift for my brother when I go back to France.

Photograph: Alexander Crook/7Days

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