When I travel, I take it all. The mini shampoo and conditioner, lotion, extra soap. I take the roll of toilet paper and extricate the tissue box from its ceramic cover or the metal box built into the bathroom wall. My hotel in Minneapolis keeps extra rolls of toilet paper and tissue boxes in the closet. I peek inside when packing the night before I leave. I take it all.
I remember my mom bringing me back chocolate from her travels. “They put chocolate on our bed every night. I kept them and collected them for you.” I always thought it was funny.
My mom would be proud if she opened up my carry-on luggage and discovered I brought this stuff back home. No waste, put everything to use. I set aside the mini toiletries, give them to my mom, and she sends them to the homeland in Balikbayan boxes. Not really sure what that translates to…but they’re these huge boxes (I can fit inside if I wanted to) that Americans send or bring along to the Philippines filled with essentials—clothing, shoes, cans of spam, chocolates, towels, toothbrushes, and other items family members have requested. Anything we don’t use goes to the Philippines. I used to throw things away as a kid and eventually find them in the basement, retrieved by one of my parents, awaiting shipment to the homeland.
I always collected the mini toiletries. I didn’t always collect bathroom paper products. But one day I found myself stuck in the bathroom. I’d run out of toilet paper. I hopped over to the kitchen and wiped myself with paper towels. I told myself never again. Sure, I keep my bathroom vanity stocked with TP. But I also found myself in hotel bathrooms thinking that I could take the TP and use it back at home. I assume the housekeepers throw away half-used rolls and replace with brand new ones. What a waste. I could be the TP savior, ensuring that they go through a complete lifecycle.
If you chance upon my place and happen to find yourself in my bathroom, peek inside the cabinet, there’s an assortment of toilet paper and tissue waiting to be used.