Saturday, 5 April 2014

Snivel Kit (2 1/2 sleeps)

It's the middle of the night and I'm awake making lists in my head. My bag is packed - 19 kg - and it's down to last laundry, last cleaning and have I forgotten to pass on any important information. There was the last minute glitch in plans for what we will be doing come next January, which already has a fix in the works.
Draft one of packing my bag.
My oldest son explained to me the highly technical military term "Snivel Kit" some years ago. In the Canadian infantry (and no doubt in any military group), there is a very specific and structured packing list for your gear. Everybody carries the same things packed in the same place in their pack so that in an emergency, you know where to find something in buddy's pack as well as yours. That pack carries everything you need for the day, or the week, or the mission. Of course, after learning this in basic training, you then learned to upgrade some items. For example, replacing the standard issue leather boots with waterproof, insulated, better fitting Gortex boots from MEC.

When you were out in the field and were cold (or too hot), and wet, and tired and miserable, what made all the difference was what you had in your snivel kit. Something small, not regulation, not really essential, even, that gave you a bit of a sense of luxury. One of the people with my son always carried a small set of spices to liven up the freeze dried meals. I read about someone else who had a system of making sure that he always had a pair of clean socks even after weeks in the field in the same clothes. I unexpectedly contributed to my son's snivel kit when I made a high tech fleece jacket (upgrade to regulation by being warmer, softer and with a windproof layer) and for a laugh tossed in a funny pair of mitts out of the left over material. No, he explained, these were not going to be tossed aside. They were "Gucci Snivel", because when you were on guard at -40 degrees in the middle of the night and everybody else was tucked into their sleeping bags, it was absolute luxury to have fuzzy kid mitts that you could pack a hand warmer into.

I've been thinking the last week about what is in my snivel kit for this trip. Nothing that is on the list of what we are to bring. So books, music, camera and sunscreen are basic issue. Something small enough to fit in a very limited size bag. The one bit of luxury that will lift the spirits when I am feeling homesick or otherwise snivelly. Mine is a small package (about the size of a good hardcover book) of sewing gear as I plan to quilt my way through this year of travel. And Cal is carrying our coffee making gear - our one addiction is a good hot cup of real coffee first thing in the morning. When we want it, not when the restaurant opens. Not instant or espresso or latte. Not tea ( although I will be delighted to share a cuppa later in the day).

I started my year of travel quilt last summer. Sun dyed the fabric on the only hot sunny day we had. The leaves which have left their mark are from the plants in our yard. I have a plan to create a similar, but different, piece of fabric for the back when we are in Perth in November.

What will be in your snivel kit, my friends that I am about to meet and journey with for the next six months? 2 1/2 more sleeps until we start our journey. And a little over a week until the Odyssey begins.

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