Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Many Sticks of Lip Balm Does a Biker Need?

motorcycle packing for a trip
Sometimes you have to spend a month on the road to know what you don't need to live with.

When Sash and I left on this 6-month motorcycle road trip, we had already trimmed down our personal and work belongings. But yet, we continue to identify more stuff we don't need.

For example, Sash brought five compact mirrors with her. As if the mirrors in the motel room aren't already enough, as well as the rear view mirrors on the bike, a woman needs more mirrors to keep on her person to make sure she's presentable every minute of the day. And OK, I can understand that women have different priorities that are important to them. But how many compact mirrors does a woman need?

The same issue with lip balm.

Turns out, we have 12 sticks of lip balm with us. That only happened because when we need a stick of lip balm, we can never find it. Hence, we buy another stick.

I also discovered we have 4 fingernail clippers.

Having 12 sticks of lip balm doesn't really bother me at this point if we can agree that its excessive.  That's part of the reason of doing Road Pickle, identifying how big of a pair of pigs we still are.  We'll shop at Whole Foods Market and pat ourselves on the back for buying local, fairly traded foods, yet amass excesses of stuff that make us look like an episode of Hoarders.

Well, OK.  It's not that bad.

Whatever it is, it's good that we're taking an inventory and exploring what excesses we're still carrying on our bikes.  That teaches something about ourselves, and that's part of what Road Pickle is about.

And I'm just as guilty. I still have two laptops I'm carrying, along with a tablet. I just now relented and said that I would FedEx the other laptop and tablet back home.  I'm also carrying three pairs of riding gloves, and will send one of the pairs back home too.  I guess we needed this first month on the road to discover what we really needed.

If you really boil it down, what do you need to survive?

Certainly you need food, but if you have money, then you can just buy food wherever you are. Why carry it with you?

Since money doesn't grow on trees, I need enough stuff with me to keep my website and blog publishing business going.  That and some sets of clothes and my boots.  What else do I need?

I'm happy to see that we're lightening our load, and I hope Sash is happy about it too. I'm proud of her for making the transition away from a mom-jeans-wearing suburban soccer mom who needed her stuff to make her feel secure.  The less stuff she has, the more she relies on herself for security, the more she flips her finger at the world.

Who else is ready to do a "road pickle" of their own and do a gut check on what items they really need to live with?

12 sticks of lip balm

How many tools does one need to manicure their nails?

Five compact mirrors, too many, not enough, or just right?


  1. You know what's going to happen, don't you? As soon as you send away that pair of gloves you'll instantly find that you need them. Well, at least you can slather your hands in lip balm...

  2. Twelve! I thought I was bad, but I least I discovered the little blighters were breeding in the garage on the shelf where I keep them. Twelve! You two have got it bad!

  3. This post made me chuckle. I don't think there is a correct answer to your philosophical how many lip balm questions, out I think one or two would suffice (each person that is)

    I find it odd that I wouldn't think to take nail clippers along even on a 6 month trip.

    And what is a compact mirror? (Kidding - I now, I just don't use or own one)

  4. Steve:

    I have many pairs of gloves, but they are usually all at home or stored somewhere I can't remember and only bring two, a spare when one gets wet. As for lip balm, I have none.

    At least your duplicates are small items. I have a hard time deciding which camera/lens to bring, then there's the problem of shoes, and these don't pack easily. I think you two have it made, if all you need can fit into your luggage

    Riding the Wet Coast

  5. Danger will Robinson! Danger!

    I'm no expert on Women... My wife will testify to that!

    BUUUUUUUT... I'm thinking that coming between a Woman and her cosmetics/"fixin'-herself-up Hardware is a risky situation at best! ;O)


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)