Happy Notions for the New Year

5 hand-palm sized non-cycling essentials under $30

When you read my blog you might have come to understand I try to live a basic life and make do with as little as what feels comfortable for me. A life on a bicycle means being creative with the things you got and make them multi-functional.

The days of festivities being around, this might be an idea to practice doing with less, to give small and not necessarily expensive presents, to minimize your footprint on earth (however little difference that will make), to think about what make sense to buy.

I know from experience how fun it is to prepare for a big journey and buy all gear slowly in advance, but reality is that most people buy too much, and for me, I left about 3/4th back home, never used.

5 hand-palm sized non-cycling essentials under $30

Cycling through the Atacama desert gave me plenty of space to roam my thoughts. Since I was in a space void of fussy matters of mind, where all was perfect and blissful, my mind went over other things. Stuff I came up with and labeled essentials.

Then I cycled through Patagonia and my mind was occupied big time. These stupid 5 hand-palm sized non-cycling essentials were all forgotten about.

Then, one day, I got stuck on a stormy day in an abandoned house. I had fixed the broken Hilleberg zipper and was left with more time on my hands. Then I remembered this funny 5 hand-palm sized non-cycling essentials.

1. Mirror


Assistance for applying mascara (which I use when I stay in a town flaunting around). To check and, when necessary, ease pimples. To help me see the backside of my head when I cut my hair, and it’s handy to shave.

$20 originally double-sided MAC mirror.

2. Tweezers


To remove stranded eye-brow hairs. To pick iron particles out of a flattened tire. To help me grab on cacti needle all over my body.

$4 bought at Iranian market after MAC tweezers was stolen by Iranian with beautiful black thick eyebrows.

3. Cup


Perhaps the most valuable item of this list, as it relieves me from going to the shop over and over again. It saves me money, as I never have to buy Tampons or hygienic pads. It’s better for the environment, as only water is needed to clean it. The Cup is trouble-free while cycling, as you won’t feel anything when inserted. I use it for about 6 years now and it still looks good, although colored.

$30 ordered over Internet; I have never seen them for sale in a shop or pharmacy.

4. Scissor


A very cheap bendable scissor which doesn’t really cut that well, and I certainly don’t cut my hair with it, but it’s such an item, like a piece of cord, it comes in very handy quite often. I keep it in my handlebar bag so I have easy and quick access when I need it. To cut toe nails, hair from an animal for my embroidery art, pieces of cloth to use for varied works, cleaning the chain for example.

$1 bought by a friend at a market in Liberia, West Africa

5. Sink-plug


I think any piece of rubber will do, but I bought the universal sink plug thinking it had a special design. It’s nothing special really but damn handy when I do laundry at a gas-station or there where no plugs are, which is often the case. Keep it separate from a laundry soap-bar, as it bites trough the rubber. Before I used a sock to stuff into the sink hole, but this work way better, and is light enough to compromise on a sock.

$7 bought in an outdoor-shop.

And with coming to an end of this post, I wish you a satisfying new year where your dreams will be transformed to reality. Lower your impact, save your money and buy less, use your items until they fall apart and be prepared to save money with which you can make your journey last longer.

I never make good intentions for the new year, as I try to live day by day with daily good intent. But if there is one I may suggest: try not to be part of consumerism society. Another would be: with each new product you buy, another has to go. This makes you think twice whether you need it, and you are likely to replace only when it’s absolutely necessary.

I am curious whether you have decided to buy a smaller, multi-functional, lower-impact-on-earth, less economic valued item called a ‘hand-palm sized non-cycling essential’? Something you are sure the other, or yourself, appreciate, and be likely always taken along. Think of a cloth-line, a titanium cup, a bombilla to drink your Yerba mate, a shaver, a wash-cloth, a pouch…

By Cindy

Years of traveling brought me many different insights, philosophies and countries I needed to be (over 90 in total). I lived in Pakistan, went over 15 times to India and when I stopped cycling the world, that was after 50.000 kilometer through 45 countries, I met Geo. Together we now try to be more self-sustainable, grow our own food and live off-grid. I now juggle with the logistics of being an old-fashioned housewife, cook and creative artist loving the outdoors. The pouches I create are for sale on

14 replies on “Happy Notions for the New Year”

A have a small swiss army knife for not only the blade and can opener but also the bottle opener, cork screw and tiny tweezers. It was the smallest and lightest i could find with a bottle opener essential for many good beers, knife suitable for cutting fruit and those times when the tins in the shop are so old they don’t have pull rings so need an old fashioned can cutter.


I had one too, but a heavy one which I happened not to use. So I sold it. Instead I use that scissor and a normal knife. With this knife I open the cans of tuna, which usually have no modern pull ring. I never drink beers or wine so no need to have a tool for that. Funny because I thought I really needed an army knife but practice turned out different. Do you use the tweezer too?


I used to have a multitool, remnant gear from my years on racing yachts. I didn’t use most of it while bushwalking so i gave it away and stopped drinking while walking. I missed the occassional quality beer or wine and cut myself opening a can so, after some research, bought a little light weight knife with only the things i need. Including the tweezers for my menopausal chin “whiskers of wisdom” 🙂 🙂 🙂


Mash sprouting bag. Costs nothing, no weight and SO practical! I sprout lentils and beans and alfalfa ( if I can get some), but also use it to dry vegetables and salads by swirling it in the air. I put my underwear in it if I use a washing machine somewhere and of course you can use it to stock things.


That’s a great thing to have indeed! How wide are the holes of the netting? How long must the beans in it (with water? In a pan?) I actually have no clue how to use it??

So: how do you carry these beans and how long before they sprout?


For alfalfa you need really small holes, but for beans and lentils just the size for them not to pass through ….
Just soak them overnight in water and than let them sprout, while washing them 2x a day with little water or in a stream or something. Doesn’t need to be drinking water. I put the mash bag in a cotton bag or cloth and keep them in my paniers for the first 3 days…. they like pressure and don’t need light. When you see the roots and first leafs pop up they are ready to be eaten but you can keep them some days more in the same bag but with more space and less pressure.
How long it takes dependson the weather, longer when it is cold of course! But in 4-5 days you have your lentils ready to eat normally! Very healthy, you can put them in your warm meal just at the end, or on your salads. I even make kind of spreads with them, most of the time with oignons and spices, but sometimes with honey and cinnamon…
And I LOVE your pictures!!AND your courage!
Keep save


Thanks Gabrielle, I understand and will try. I’m staying put at the moment, a good chance to try. I understand that when the lentil has sprouted the bean itself will be an empty shell. I haven’t really tried this ever…. only bought it in the supermarket. I am going to try it soon!

Thank you for your sweet compliment 😘😎😊


No, I am sory, I was not clear enough, difgicilt to explain without images..
You can look up foto’s on the internet of sprouts lentils or beans. You should just let them sprout until the beginning of the root and leaves are growing. You should eat them before the green leaves begin to grow! Than you have the best amount of minerals and vitamins.
Eet smakelijk!!


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