Travel, Travel Fashion

Cabin Bag Flatlay | Bali

Over the years, after one too many plane rides, I declare that packing a cabin bag is a life skill. The challenge to come up with a lightweight, practical, sufficient and cabin-permitted stash is both a science and an art. Hence, I am launching a flat-lay series, where I share the contents of the cabin bags I take on trips.

What's in a bag | Words and Wanderlust

( Clockwise; from top left)

1. Passport Wallet – brand less; a birthday gift. With a shiny red finish, this is my current favourite as it is big enough to hold everything (passport, plane tickets, cash bills, and cards) but is flat enough and does not lose shape.
2. All-purpose scarfCotton On; Ramones. Thin and suitable when going to the tropics. Can double as a scarf, towel, sarong, blanket, and head gear.
3. Neck pillowTypo. Very convenient for long-haul flights and bus rides. Comes with a clip that can be attached to the straps of your bag.
4. SunglassesOakley. Always have high-quality, polarised sunglasses. I also use a soft case that doubles as an eyeglass wipe.
5. Book – Choose one that you’ve always meant to read but never had time to. Waiting happens a lot when traveling. Utilise “waiting time” to read a book. Once finished, leave it book exchange centres (coffee shops, hostels, hotels etc.).
6. Kikay KitTypo. I have this cheap but sturdy waterproof pouch that contains my travel make up and other female thingamajigs. (Maybe I can do a flat-lay on this one day). It contains the basics: eyeshadow palette in neutral shades, face powder, lip gloss, lipstick, eyeliner, tampons, pocket-sized perfume and mints.
7. Wet wipesCrop. A bit pricey than other brands but made from organic. It is also a double-sided wipe: one side has a textured finish that is good for exfoliation, and the other has a smooth, moisturising side.
8. Toiletries – Kathmandu. contained in a transparent pouch from Kathmandu are my toiletry basics: deodorant, moisturiser, BB cream and lotion. I have a big-arse bottle of hair conditioner and body wash in my check-in luggage, because, who needs those in a cabin bag?
9. Coin purse – Coach – It also comes with a pocket for cards and a wrist holder, so when I do not need to lug around my cabin bag (city strolls or mall shopping for example), it’s the only thing I ever bring.
10. Toothbrush / Toothpaste – free from hotel. I keep two sets of toothbrush/toothpaste – a proper one that I keep in my check-in luggage and a disposable one (usually looted from staycations, LOL) in my cabin bag.
11. Journal – from a local souvenir shop in Candidasa. I realise that I rarely have time to do scrapbooking post-trip because I either have to immediately go back to the daily grind or am busy planning for the next trip. Therefore, I keep a journal and a roll of washi tape to immediately stick tickets, receipts, polaroids and whatnot
12. Smart phone with earphonesiPhone6. Really, I could no longer imagine a life without smart phones. To say that my whole life is on iCloud is more fact that it is hyperbole. And earphones – as opposed to headphones. small, convenient, more affordable and just as useful.
13. PowerbankCygnett. Lightweight, long-lasting and given the amount of my iPhone use, this is truly a necessity.

NB. – Bag is from Zapatos, a local Indonesian brand. I also carry a separate bag for my gadgets which contains a Macbook, DSLR (Canon 6D) and GoPro. When not taking my DSLR, I use an Olympus OMD. For beach destinations, I recently bought a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Drone.

Fellow wayfarer, what’s in your cabin bag? If keen to contribute, please email me at

Australia, Camping, Oceania, Travel

Weekend Camping | Patonga

Spent on working long hours during the week, Friday sundowns are usually a shut-off kind of day for me and the boylove. We pretty much do not move until midday on Saturdays.

But that Friday was different. Our friends were waiting for us at a camping ground, an hour’s drive south, through the winding forest of Brisbane Water National Park. Amidst intermittent mobile phone reception, one of our friends, Cristina, was somehow able to semi-bombard us with a couple of where-are-you messages.

You see, Patonga Foreshore Reserve has been something that was always planned but never realised. Well, until that Friday.

camping patonga - Words and wanderlust 4

Being seasoned travelers, our whole house is pre-packed according to the type of travel activity. So even if straight after work, we still needed to load camping stuff onto our Jeep, we have had plenty of time left to sit down for a meal. Kilaban, that’s how my Ilocano husband calls a chow between meals.

We sat down on the dining table devouring a bowl of cold rice topped with leftover Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beef Steak) while discussing what to bring and who’s gonna pack what.

FRIDAY – Day 1

It was almost sundown when we began the drive down to Patonga via Pacific Motorway, Kariong and Mount Ettalong Road. The map on our GPS showed a shorter route via Gosford, but Siri thought otherwise. As you know, what Siri wants, Siri gets.

It worked out well though, because despite the winding road, the scenic route was well worth it. It was a shame we couldn’t stop-over and enjoy the sights more. We had sunlight to beat.

camping patonga - Words and wanderlust 3

When we arrived, the rest had already pitched tents. Lit only with headlamps, we somehow managed to set up a decent dwelling for the weekend.

Dinner was no problem (and so were all meals thereafter). When one is amongst Filipinos, one is guaranteed to always be well-fed.

Booze was not a problem too. As expected, the boys stayed up for beer and poker long after the camp lights were turned off.


Still half-asleep very early on Saturday, on my way back to the tent from the loo, I was greeted by a 4-ft long snake crossing the road. Because Australia.

The camping ground was located at the tip of the sandy spit jutting out from the forests of Brisbane Waters National Park. Think unicorn.  How else would one describe a serene creek on one side of the shore, and a secluded beach on the other?

camping patonga - Words and wanderlust 5

In between siestas and meriendas, we fed birds, took a dip in the channel and strolled around the art and craft laden town centre.

Sure, I still stood under random light posts where I get faint 3G reception. But for the most part, I was off-the-grid, and was surprisingly okay with it.

SUNDAY – Day 3

camping patonga - Words and wanderlust 5
When the clock struck 12 to mark Sunday, my friends and I were gathered around a bonfire by the beach, under a moonless sky.

We knew that by sunrise, we would be back to the daily grind of the consumer world. But in that moment, we were in the very bosom of mother nature, safe and placid.

After breakfast on Sunday, we dismantled our tents, rejuvenated and fully-charged. Packing our stuff back to our trusty Jeep, Rufus, was a ceremony in itself. Whilst it marked taking on the challenges of Mondays yet again, it was also a reminder that there will forever be weekends after each manic work week.

And that, Patonga was always just a drive away.

Patonga Travel Tips - Words and Wanderlust