Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

What to bring to give away

As promised, my post about what to bring to have even more fun interacting with new people in port.

The things that worked best or worst were not really what I expected.  For example, of all the things I brought for kiddies to play with, my camera was by far the best thing.  I always thought of cameras as somewhat isolating; that the photographer would always be separated from the world by the lens.  It is true that cameras can hurt relations when you use it to take pictures of people without asking or in dodgy situations (don't ever do this) or take pictures of the military in Tibet (unless you like the idea of having your camera taken away, definitely don't ever do this).  However, if used correctly, having a camera is an awesome way to have fun with people, especially kids.

Taken by my homestay sister, Sara

Taken by my homestay sister, Kofi

I was nervous the first time I handed over my precious camera to a group of kids, but they were great and very careful.  In many different countries I had a great time showing them how to take pictures or taking pictures and then showing it to them.  (I really wish I had brought one of those Polaroid or instant print cameras so I could have given the pictures out.)  Plus, once I got back and uploaded pictures, I had a great collection of the kids and I making funny faces or the kids taking pictures of what was important to them.  I seriously can't recommend using your camera in this way enough.

A lot of people, including myself brought some fun trinkets for the kiddies.  I went a bit overboard but don't regret it one bit!

Try to bring a variety of trinkets so kids of all different ages and abilities can enjoy them.  The best things I brought were less something I just handed out, and more something that promoted interaction.  Face paint, stickers and nail polish were really fun to have.  

When shopping, just try to think what would have blown your mind when you were seven.  (Like that fake snow stuff!  Or those saucer popper thingies)  The oriental trading company is a great resource.  

My little buddy showing off his new bling.

On the practical side, school supplies are perfect.  I had so many kids 10X more excited about a pen than anything else I brought.

Without bringing anything material, bringing fun dance moves or clapping games is really awesome.  Think macarena or something like this video of Kyle, an RD, teaching kids the stanky leg.


Learning a new clapping game in Ghana

Another skill that is good to have going into the trip is to know how to fold a few origami pieces.  I had a really great time swapping origami patterns with tour guides or kids I met.  By the end of the trip, I was carrying around paper with me in case the opportunity came up.

On to homestay gifts...It really depends on where you are going to have the homestay.  I brought completely different things for each place I was supposed to have a homestay (the one in Japan got canceled).  Card games that don't need a common language, picture books, school supplies, USA themed shirts, cups etc. are all awesome.  Read up on the countries where you will have your homestay to get a better idea of what would be appropriate.

Finally, I REALLY wish I had known about this before I went.  A lot of the vendors at markets asked me if I had anything American that I could trade for goods they were selling.  I unfortunately never had anything, but it would have been a great way to take the social experience of bargaining to the next level.  People always asked for things like watches, sunglasses, phones (one kid really did trade in his iphone for a drum!), pins, really anything that came from America.  Just like you want the drum because it's from India, people will want a shirt or pair of earrings because it is from the US. 



Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you!

Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

The SAS Packing List

Packing for a SAS trip is a crazy, exciting thing.  I've been off the ship for almost two months now (boo-hoo) and I still find myself shopping for things to take on the trip.  It's like that dream you have about missing a test in high school...

I did a few posts about packing pre-trip and I wanted to combine that with my now expert (haha) alumni knowledge in a new post for future SASers.

First little bit of advice is to start early, especially for things you have to shop for.  Part of the reason is to have plenty of time to prepare and part of the reason is because who wants to wait to start obsessing about the trip!?!  I started collecting things in my SAS Bag several months in advance.  About one to two months ahead of time I started seriously making and editing my packing list and aquiring items I would need to buy.  About two weeks or so before the trip I started the mamoth process of packing because I knew it would take me several tries to fit everything.  (I was still shoving random things in as we were leaving for the airport.)

My huge duffle bag waiting to be filled.

Here is my (annotated) master packing list.  (I may or may not have copped a lot of it from other alumni's lists.)  I'll come back and edit it as I think of them.

4 pairs athletic shorts
bathing suits (two, one to ruin)
belt (2)
bras (3)
capris (1 jeans 1 khaki)
business dress/outfit (1)
dress for ambassador’s Ball  (or buy one on the trip)
flip-flops (3)
goofy outfit(s)
hiking shoes
jacket  (temperatures may get below freezing some places)
jeans (2)  (Only needed one)
khaki long pants
shorts (4)
skirt (1)
sleep shirt (1)  (You will buy more)
socks (4)
sports bras (2)
sweat pants (2) 
sweatshirt (1)  (You will buy more)
t-shirts (3)  (You will buy more)
tank tops (4+)
underwear (18) 
walking shoes
workout clothes
yellow bandana
scarf (to cover up in religious places)
Long sleve shirts made of light airy fabric (2)  (didn't bring this but wish I had)
Rain poncho

big conditioner
big shampoo
bobby pins
chapstick (3)
cover up/concealer
eye liner
facepaint (for sea olympics and having fun with kiddies in port)
hair bands
hair brush
hair clips
hair products (well, not really. you don't need them and they take up too much space)
lady things
lip gloss
nail file
nail polish
nail polish remover
tide spot stain remover
travel size bath bottles for travel in port  (didn’t use them)
makeup remover wipes

AA bateries  (didn't need them)
AAA Bateries  (didn't need them)
auto-shut off curling iron and straightener
bag of beans (to dry out electronics in humidity)
battery powered alarm clock (or cell phone with alarm)
book light
camera battery charger
camera case
camera cord
video camera
waterproof case (you WILL want this!)
DVD movies
cell phone 
cell phone charger
flash drives
handheld fan
hard drive  (you will definitely want one!)
headphones (2)
ipod speakers
ipod USB cord
iPod wall charger
laptop charger
kindle charger
solar charger and cables 
extra camera memory card 
universal outlet adapter (or at least European adapter)

Yeah, that's right.  A coloring book.  It was awesome.

My homemade journal.

calculator  (pocket sized so you can bring it with you in port and calculate prices!)
blank paper
colored pencils
coloring book
lined notebooks
pencils (11)
pens (9)
rubber bands (10)
safety pins
sketch supplies
water colors
glue stick

Art  supplies

School Supplies (The smiley faces are vital)

1 bottle advil
Emergen-C  (good for rehydration and preventing sickness)
aloe vera
anti malaria meds
antibiotics for travelers diarrhea
band-aids (40)
blister pads
cold eeze
cough drops
first aide kit
hand sanitizer (4)
medical documentation
Medical hisotry 
neosporin (2)
non drowsy dramamine!!!!!  (may save your life/sanity)  
ginger gum  (for nausea)
vapor rub
prescription meds IN their original containers

For On The Ship
anti wrinkle spray!!!!!
my roommate had this awesome cosmetic holder that hung on the door...get that
beach towel
big world map for wall in cabin (can buy on ship for like $4)
blanket if can fit  (Didn't need it)
candy  (can buy on ship, but bring your own too)
clothes pins (10)
collapsible hanging boxes (didn't bring/need)
dry erase board for door
dry erase markers
duct tape (1 roll) for taping drawers shut in rough water.  Some staff members said it was banned, but other staff members said it was ok and let me take it on.  Don't sneak it on.
laundary stuff
laundry bag
lock/safe  (don't need.  One in room)
magnets (20)  (bring even more of these than you think you will need so you can decorate your room)
pictures of friends and family
playing cards
sink stopper
small jorunal (2) 
snacks (you will get sick of ship food fast!  think ahead!)
      -Cup a noodle soup
      -powerbars or granola bars or something like that
      -fill all the extra space in your bags with food!!!!
sunglasses and case
tea, hot chocolate packets, crystal light!!!!!
tide spot stain remover
trash bags (2)
travel mug
Word magnets
ziplock bags (9)
sewing kit
ear plugs
peanut butter (FYI don't try and sneak this into Tibet)

Misc. and Docs
$100 in $1  (at least)
$1 per day for cabin steward tips
2 copies of passport photo
4 copies of passport front page
addresses of friends/family 
copies of credit card (2)
copy of birth certificate
credit/ATM card
driver’s license and copy 
emergency contact list
foreign currency ($25 per port)  (getting it there can be a hassle and more expensive) 
immunization records
sas paperwork
student ID
travel student ID
travelers checks (didn't bring/need)
yellow fever proof

For In Port
binoculars  (did use these a bit surprisingly)
camleback (2)
compass (but not really)
gifts for the kiddies  (more info in future post)
homestay gifts  (more info in future post)
Things made in USA to trade (more info in future post)
money belt (or just keep things in your sock...)
mosquito repellent with deet 
purse  (one that is not easily stollen/unzipped)
sleeping bag liner (did not bring/need)
travel toilete paper
travel wet wipes 
waterbottole (2)
a small doll or stuffed animal to take pictures of (especially if you are doing Vicarious Voyage)

Getting there
2 roller duffel suitcases
fold up duffle bag for end of trip
1 smaller cary-on duffle (for flying in port)
large backpack


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you!

Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

I'm not quite dead yet!

I'm still here, spending embarrassing amounts of time pining after SAS.  Instead of writing about it, I've been working on fixing the format of past posts and developing a few informational posts geared towards future SASers.  Stay tunned...

In the meantime, I would love to add your questions to an upcoming FAQ post!  Post them in the comments!  :0)


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you!

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