Thinking of taking a gap year without a trusty first aid kit? Kiri Bowers is on hand to convince you to pack one…
Understandably, the first item my Mum insisted I take travelling was a first aid kit. We were slightly bowled over by the choice on offer in Boots, but narrowed it down to the Emergency Travel Kit (costing around GBP 20). For the first month of my trip, I was convinced it was a waste of money and backpack space; you can buy plasters anywhere, whilst creams and mozzy sprays are sold in almost every shop so why on earth was I carrying around a lifetime supply?
A Change of Heart
My stance on this changed the morning after I ended up with one side of my face, shoulder and knee cut up after a nasty fall. Having been advised to share my first Thai bucket with my two friends, I of course decided this was for wimps and devoured a whole one to myself in half a minute.
This masterfully disguised bottle of whisky had me rather wobbly on my feet. My friend was so inebriated that I found her leaning over a balcony, kindly spewing her guts out on to the beach below. And while her boyfriend sensibly decided to take her home so she could spew in the privacy of their bungalow, I insisted I wanted to stay and ensured them that yes, I would be absolutely fine without them and no, they did not need to worry.
No sooner had their taxi turned the corner, I was so busy ogling the wall of an amazing Thai tattoo artist, that I didn’t spot the floor, right there in front of me. I fell hard onto my face and shoulder and was so drunk that I had no idea I was even bleeding until the tattoo artist scuttled over and sat me down.
The Walk of Shame
The next morning my friends turned into nurse and doctor extraordinaire, and the first aid kit was put to good use. Antiseptic wipes were applied to my face, shoulder and knee but I had so much gravel in my wounds that they decided to take me for a dip in the sea to wash it all out. I can tell you that sea water in fresh wounds is exactly as painful as you can imagine.
Days later when I was bandaged up, limping and wearing Jackie O sunglasses to hide my face, I walked past a little Thai clinic and decided to have them check me over. I seemed to be healing up well but was told to stay out of sunlight for 4 months if I wanted the cut on my face not to leave a scar. Well thank you doctor, I’m only on a 4 month trip in some of the sunniest places on earth…
Roving backpackers, what are your first aid kit essentials? Share your top tips below…