10 Things I Can’t Tour Without!

I’ve been on the road for three months now, and it’s been… interesting. I’m kind of a homebody, and as much as I love to travel and see new places, it’s hard for me to be away from my flat, my friends, and my cats for too long. Change is scary for me; it sucks, but it’s the harsh reality. So I’ve learned over the past couple of years, through trial and error, some ways of making myself more comfortable when I’m on the road.

I hope these help you out or inspire you to think about what YOU need next time you go on the road!

1) My Own Pillow

Whether I’m in a van or a car, I CAN’T tour without bringing my own pillow. It’s such a necessity for me, to a point where I’ll bring it on all road trips that are gonna be longer than three or four hours. And it’s not just because I love sleeping in the car and have a habit of nodding off when we drive for a long time; I’m not a huge fan of using motel or hotel pillows if we’re lucky enough to be spending the night somewhere with four solid walls and a roof (not because of germs or cleanliness or anything, just because I like to have “the same feel” every night, and don’t wanna risk something too puffy or whatever), and camping without a pillow is just the pits. It’s also just nice to have something comfortable to lean against during long journeys.

2) Twining’s “Lemon & Ginger” Tea

It’s not throat coat, but this stuff has saved my arse more times than I care to recall. I actually prefer it to throat coat. Whenever I have a sore throat or am feeling a bit stuffed up, I’ll stop at a gas station and grab a cup of hot water, or fill one up at the motel/campsite, and have some of this stuff. It kinda burns on the throat in the best way, and it really helps clear me up and knit my throat back together when I need it.

3) Car Power Inverter

GAH. HOW DID WE EVER SURVIVE WITHOUT THESE!? The one I have is 100 watts, which apparently isn’t powerful enough for my hair straighteners but is perfect for my laptop and phone. Being able to use my laptop in the car has been awesome; I’m actually writing this blog post as we drive from Winnipeg, MB to Calgary, AB right now! Yay, thank you, power inverter!

4) A Scarf or Sleeping Mask

I’ve tried sleeping in the car with one, and without one, and the difference is really noticeable, to a point where I always make sure I have something to cover my eyes with whenever I’m planning to sleep while travelling. It makes it easier to a) get to sleep in the first place, and b) get back to sleep when you inevitably wake up at some point before you’re done snoozing. And although the quality of sleep you get when you do it in a moving vehicle is always pretty crappy, the eye coverage helps a bit. Because let’s face it, you’re gonna spend more time sleeping in the car than you want to on tour…

5) A Decent Supply of CDs or the Songza App

There is NOTHING more fun than radio station hopping when you’re on tour, because you find the most RANDOM stuff! We spent a lot of time listening to odd Christian channels and talk radio over the last month, mostly because it was so different from what we usually listen to and it was kinda amusing. But, especially when touring throughout Canada, there’s a lot of places that don’t get radio coverage, and the same four CDs you usually have in the car get old REAL fast. Definitely worth bringing a lot of extras.

6) A Razor and Shaving Gel

This… pretty much goes without saying, but I had to put it down anyway because it’s a big one for me, especially because my skin is quite sensitive. I need to be able to “scrub up” and feel super clean on tour, and that involves shaving whenever I get the chance to shower. It makes a big difference!

7) Comfy Socks or Slippers

When I’m in the car, I take my shoes off. Period, end of story, said and done. LOL! I can’t handle wearing my shoes in the car, mostly because I feel uncomfortable and unsettled, so warm socks or a pair of slippers might be super grannyish, but it keeps me feeling snug. <3

8) Stop-Itch, After-Bite, etc

Mosquitoes love to piss me off. This stuff has literally kept me sane all tour, because the bastards got to my ankles in Louisiana and the other southern states when we were camping, and the itchy aftermath has been driving me nuts, especially just before bed. I definitely make sure I’ve packed some of this before I leave home. Also, add Reactine or some other kind of non-drowsy allergy med to this, too – I don’t take it every day, but when I need it, I’m grateful to have it.

9) Battery Pack

It’s impossible to predict whether or not you’re going to be able to find a safe outlet to charge your phone in at a venue, and when you’re camping you don’t really have that option. So, when we were in Japan, we bought this battery pack that you charge up in the wall; it has a USB port, as well as micro USB and lightning plugs that go right into your smart phone. I love it, and now it always comes with me… because I’m a sucker with an iPhone and it has awful battery life. Le sigh.

10) And Lastly… Something From Home!

I bring Jasper, my bear, EVERYWHERE when I travel. Having a little something that reminds you of home, something you love that smells and feels familiar, helps keep the homesickness at bay at least a little bit. So as “lame” as it sounds, whatever it is that makes you think of home, take it with you. xxx

Cosplay: Who Is It Really For?

I see a lot of judgement all over the Internet. Most people seem to have at least wised up to the whole “you can be any skin colour to cosplay any character” and “you can be any size to cosplay any character”, but that hasn’t stopped the judgement, and it hasn’t stopped the snobbery.

10646881_1556513307904227_8907355579274898531_nRecently, I posted this photograph to my Facebook wall. I love it. Like, a lot. And the reason I love it so much is because it takes cosplay back to the fundamentals of the reason so many of us do it – and this may surprise you, but it’s NOT to appease YOU.

When I posted this picture, here are a few of the comments that were posted by good friends of mine (whom I have nothing against and will not name, but they’re perfect examples!) voicing their opinions:

That Korra bugs me. I don’t care about your size/gender but at least buy a wig. Hair color is like my biggest pet peeve when it comes to cosplay. these characters have a set hair color, it’s not that hard to get a wig.

Actually when people do the wrong colour hair it drives me bonkers. Wigs are not difficult. It’s just confusing if why go to all the trouble of having an accurate outfit but then your hair looks terrible.

I guess personally I feel a bit it’s like going to the opera and instead of wearing a dress just not bothering and just rolling out of bed in pajamas.

People have this attitude about cosplay that drives me nuts, and this attitude is that PEOPLE’S COSPLAYS MUST APPEASE ME. Well, while I allow everyone to have their opinion, and to each their own, I’m here to express MY opinion on the matter. And my opinion is that COSPLAY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO APPEASE ANYONE BUT THE PERSON WEARING IT.

I agree, if you’re looking to do a cosplay that is accurate and looks incredible, a wig is absolutely necessary. I’ve tried doing a few pink-haired cosplays with my regular hair and it just didn’t cut it; the only one I’d likely actually do with my regular hair is Vi (League of Legends). To me, a well-styled and perfectly-tinted wig is what really, really sets off a costume.

But really, who am I to judge if people don’t want to use wigs? If people want to use their own natural hair colours? My response to my post was fairly simple, that some people may be uncomfortable, itchy, or claustrophobic in wigs, or maybe can’t afford a decent one. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and I find it a little mean to say that it upsets your eyes or annoys/bugs you, because quite frankly, when a person cosplays, the cosplay is for THEM, and nobody else. THEY are the ones who should be happy with it, and if they’re happy with it without the perfect wig or using their own natural hair colour, who are we to judge?

To prove my point, I went out and found a couple of absolutely awesome cosplays by cosplayers who look INCREDIBLE despite using their own hair rather than going out to search for the absolute perfect wig.

This Kristoff and Anna are ADORABLE!!!

This Kristoff and Anna are ADORABLE!!!

So her hair might not be down to her thighs, but this Tifa looks INCREDIBLE!!! (Cosplay by Val Raiseth)

So her hair might not be down to her thighs, but this Tifa looks INCREDIBLE!!! (Cosplay by Val Raiseth)

Her hair might not be platinum blonde, but this Elsa is ready to freeze your ass.

Her hair might not be platinum blonde, but this Elsa is ready to freeze your ass.

This Ariel looks beautiful with her Prince Eric, despite not sporting the usual crimson locks. (Cosplay by Jigglepuff6.)

This Ariel looks beautiful with her Prince Eric, despite not sporting the usual crimson locks. (Cosplay by Jigglepuff6.)

So the next time you see a cosplayer whose wig isn’t perfect, or who is sporting his or her own hair rather than a wig, DON’T JUDGE! Because it’s lame. Instead, appreciate the personal spin each cosplayer puts on his or her costume, and remember that COSPLAY IS FOR EVERYONE and COSPLAY IS NOT A CONTEST!!!

~ Kiery