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Swabbing and Other Such Piratery


Alright people, it’s time to get down and dirty and start talking about something that’s not talked about enough when traveling. Grooming. That’s right, it’s time to go down the potentially embarrassing rabbit hole of things that happen in the bathroom.

I’m the kind of person that loves showers. It’s what wakes me up in the morning instead of coffee. Aside from when I’m getting down and dirty while camping, I like to keep squeaky clean. While there are some cleanliness essentials that are much more fun to find there, some things just prove too difficult to get elsewhere.

One such thing is Q-Tips. There are cotton swabs all over the world, but most of them are thin little wisps of cotton delicately and precariously placed on the end of plastic jabbing-rods, waiting to gouge whatever you thought needed a light cleaning. Q-Tips are the only ones I’ve found that hold together well enough to actually clean your ears, or that cool dirty antique thing you found, or whatever else you feel needs a little swabbing.

Now that you are armed with this deeply valuable knowledge, you must also know that Q-Tips are rather hard to find elsewhere in the world. This means you must bring them with you if you want their superior grooming ability. However, jamming some of them in a bag quickly proves itself a horrible idea.

I thought it would be a great idea, and so simple! What could possibly go wrong? I loaded my bag into the overhead compartment and went about my travels. As soon as I landed, I felt that filthy skin coating that grows when you are stuck in a large container of other people and their skin, and couldn’t wait to clean it off. I pulled out the bag, hoping to scrape off some of the shared grimy sheen, and out came a glorious bag with a huge cotton ball that had developed a strange skeletal structure. All of the shoving and rustling around while cavorting with the other bags overhead obviously annoyed them so much that they started trying to evolve into something that could escape.

Thankfully, Q-Tips foresaw this problem, and have since invented (though a bit gender-biased) the Purse Pack. A tiny little easy-dispense container that holds enough swabs to last you a month on the road while keeping them safe from being smashed and roughed up. It fits into one of the small pockets on your backpack, or just in with the rest of your toiletries. It keeps you from losing your hearing due to adventure-based grime and saves you from having to battle the evolving swab monster.

While these aren’t the biggest two issues facing adventure travelers, I like to think I’ve done my part by making your travels a little more comfortable. The next time you are hiking through remote areas and hear that waterfall in the distance before everyone else, you can thank that Purse Pack that nobody will ever actually see.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lonely Planet US, Chris Dame. Chris Dame said: {New!} Swabbing and Other Such Piratery #lp #travel #qtips #swab #flightster […]

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  2. Sherrie says:

    Love it, found this through the Flightster twitter travel writer posts, and I think you are not alone. My travel partner is a maniac for cotton swabs, and he thinks that they are the cure all for everything! Perhaps you are both right.

  3. Chris Dame says:

    Welcome, Sherrie! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only swab fiend out there. Patrick and I will have to get together to discuss our swabbing strategies sometime. We can at least discuss how we intend to fend off swab monsters when the revolution comes.

  4. […] written about this before, but this is my Q-Tips Purse Pack. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s tough and keeps […]

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