Device helps women on the go “go” in the woods or elsewhere

If you’re a woman traveler, you’ve probably been in a quandary at one time or another wondering how and where you might pee. Gazing about, it seems that no bush is big enough. Trees seem skinny. Where is the best angle to squat to be the most discrete in case someone unexpectedly rounds a corner?

If in a vehicle and nature calls, the nearest gas station or fast food place may seem like the only solution.

For a guy, it’s a different story. I mean, really–don’t guys just seem to go any old place?

Here’s a new solution for women that’s better than the portable toilet that Catherine wrote about two years ago–no offense to the portable toilet. It may be a swell idea for a car trip, but it’s not as if you’ll lug one along on a hike.

The GoGirl, however, looks practical. According to the description of how it works in Hilary Howard’s New York Times article , it could be fun. The contraption allows women to pee in “an arc-like penile stream” while standing up.

Sarah Dillon, the president and founder of GoGirl, is currently focusing on the women hikers and women traveling with young children market. Another market Dillon might consider tapping into big time is women who are traveling to countries where squat toilets are widely used. Squat toilets create another dilemma.

Squatting and peeing straight down takes practice. GoGirl might be a perfect solution to keeping shoes pee free. With its small size and affordable price of $6.99, GoGirl could be easily added to Annie’s Top 10 things not to forget on a trip. For women, make the list a Top 11 list for peace of mind.

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Indie Travel Podcast launches new magazine

Craig and Linda Martin have been traveling the world together since 2006. In that time, they’ve launched the Indie Travel Podcast and turned it into a successful website (they were named Best Podcast in Lonely Planet’s 2009 Travel Blog Awards) and an excellent source of information for the independent traveler. Now, in a time when major glossies seem to be folding right and left, they’ve launched a magazine. You’ve got to admire that kind of moxie.

The Indie Travel Podcast website combines inspiring destination features with practical advice, like how to use Skype and other internet phone services or what to look for when booking a hostel. There are also entertaining and informative podcasts, videos and hotel reviews. The newly launched magazine combines the best features of the website with the same Indie Travel focus – it’s geared towards independent, adventurous travelers, and budget and long-term travelers.

The Indie Travel Podcast Magazine launches September 1. There will be four issues per year, available at NZ$40 (around US$27) including postage. I had a chance to take a sneak peak and was quite impressed with the quality of the production and the writers (familiar names in the blogosphere) attached to the project.

The feature articles are fresh and interesting – Tim Patterson’s article on the Kachin Independence Army in Burma put a human face on war, and Lola Akinmade’s photos of Lagos were stunning – and the regular columns promise to be informative and helpful – Kim Mance will offer practical advice for woman traveling solo and Christine Gilbert will show us how to be “location independent” so we can earn a living while traveling the world. In the premier issue, there are also blog reviews, an interview with round-the-world traveler Gary Arndt, a guide to tapas in Seville, book reviews, and profiles of Tonga, Egypt, Alaska, Angor Wat and the Baltic capitals of Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius.

If you’ve ever felt out of touch with the Travel + Leisure set (you know, those who file a $200 per night hotel under “budget options”) or if you’re just looking for more inspiration and practical information to feed your wanderlust, check out the Indie Travel Podcast Magazine. I think as the mag continues to grow, the quality will get even better. Plus, I’m a sucker for moxie, and I like the idea of supporting two “indie” travelers with the courage to follow their dreams.

Pretty Fly – Tiny travel beauty fixes

Annie Scott with the Pretty Fly products (out of the package)Pretty Fly makes a pack of single-serving beauty products you can use as the plane descends to wake yourself up and counteract some of the damage that flying can do to your skin and hair. The products are all natural, and created for a growing market: women travelers.

According to Pretty Fly, women travelers take almost 50% of the business trips in the U.S., and they also make 70% of travel decisions.

On their slim, no-problem-at-TSA package, no thicker than a magazine (see gallery for the front and side views), Pretty Fly has printed “S.O.S.” defined as “Single-servings Of Sanity.” I wasn’t sure how much a beauty product would make me more sane, but then I smelled the Refreshing Lemon Zest Lotion. Its citrusy-sweet, lively scent would totally open my eyes as the plane descended. And it’s even good for your hands, with everything from aloe to fatty acids listed in the ingredients. The other products have similarly beneficial natural extracts and scents. Each pack includes Renewing Orange Blossom Soap, Restoring Grapefruit Dry Shampoo, Replenishing Lime Lip Balm, and Refreshing Lemon Zest Lotion.

I tried out a Pretty Fly pack — “a natural high at 30,000 feet” — in the closest thing to an airplane I could think of: a small New York City apartment after a long day. Click through to see the products in action and how they fared, and visit Pretty-Fly.com to purchase a few packs for yourself or your stressed out coworkers!
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A book for women that most women travelers might recognize

When I read about Rachel Kauder Nalebuff’s intriguing book My Little Red Book yesterday, I thought about women travelers and the calculations many make when hitting the road as to not be surprised by “that time of the month.” Sorry guys.

Nalebuff has collected 92 short memoir type pieces from women of all ages around the world about their first period experience. As the book review in the New York Times indicates, each selection is presented as a slice of life. Each, though, is part of a whole and offers up an aspect of the lives of young women not often talked about. From the book review, the stories are a cultural journey into what ties half of the world’s population together.

Nalebuff, who is only eighteen years-old, thought of this book after her own horrifying first period experience and began to interview female family members to find out about theirs. In the process, she found out intriguing, but not normally talked about stories like that of her great aunt Nina who avoided being strip-searched by guards at the German border while she and her family were fleeing Poland for France during World War II because “HER FRIEND” made a just in time first visit.

Again, reading about this book reminded me of certain traveling moments and the number of times women who scale mountains, trek across deserts, scuba dive in waters where a shark might lurk and perch precariously on top of a cargo truck on an adventure down a narrow highway, might sigh with relief at the sight of a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom that they’ve just dashed into because, despite careful calculations, travel can bring about the unexpected.

At the book’s Web site, people can add their own stories.

Sounds of Travel 4: King of the Road

Here at Gadling we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite sounds from the road and giving you a sample of each — maybe you’ll find the same inspiration that we did, but at the very least, hopefully you’ll think that they’re good songs.

Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in the Comments and we’ll post it at the end of the series.

WEEK 4: “King of the Road” sung by Roger Miller

When my brother and I were young, our parents gave us Hummel figurine music boxes. His figurine was a small boy sitting on a fence with a bundle tied on a stick that rested on his shoulder. When the key was wound, the melody “King of the Road” played while the boy turned.

My figurine was a girl feeding chickens. Although, I dearly loved my music box– the girl looked like Heidi, that independent lass who lived in the Alps with her grandfather, I was drawn to my brother’s more. There it sat on his chest of drawers in a spot within reach.

Even before I knew the lyrics, the title of the song was enough. King of the Road. What could sound more grand?

The lyrics, though, said it all. Hitting the road without cares or worries–the thrill of being in control with each step towards the horizon. A life spent enjoying simple pleasures as long as a person can keep moving and make connections with folks along the way.

Never mind that I happened to be female–and at the time, one of the only known female travelers who got much press was Amelia Earhart–and we know how that turned out. I come from a line of women who have wandered.

Those women carried the aura of far away places, particularly Aunt Clarissa. It wasn’t the stories my great aunt told me of her time in Japan as an Army major after World War II that captured my interest–I don’t specifically remember any– it was the feeling I surmised that traveling gave her. The zippidy do dah.

When Roger Miller wrote King of the Road in 1965, he was telling the tale of a carefree traveler at the same time Miller was on the road seeking out his dreams as a singer-songwriter. After he sings in the video, Miller recalls that the song was inspired somewhere between Dayton, Des Moines or Chicago when he saw a road sign that said, “Trailers for Sale or Rent.”

What caught my attention about this version is Miller’s utter exuberance, both in his voice and his body, particularly when he belts out the third chorus and throws that fast crook in his elbow–and how the song stuck with me all day once I listened to it again.

When I think of my King of the Road experiences, the ones where this song played in my head, I am:

  • by myself on a bus heading to Maine from New Paltz, New York to work at a summer camp after my senior year in high school, the possibilities endless. This summer was late nights doing laundry so I could head out every weekend to places like Boothbay Harbor, Camden and Ogunquit, eating lobster and clams dripped in butter and skinny dipping in a lake with the moon shimmering across the water;
  • I’m walking down the streets of Arhus, Denmark, my arms swinging in stride with my legs as I head to the Viking ship museum, my entire body feeling in sync with the sidewalk beneath my feet and the breeze through my hair. I’d come alone–or if I was with someone, I can’t recall because the memory of being so in touch with my body on that day and the sense of adventure has eclipsed a companion;
  • I am walking away from my village into the Gambian bush to hang out under a tree for a few hours drinking tea, writing and listening to music, soaking up a bit of R&R from being the village Peace Corps volunteer. As cows grazed nearby and finch flitted and darted between the scrub brush, I regained balance;
  • and I am taking a friend of mine on a road trip through New Mexico so he can see how the landscape changes. As the hues of reds and browns change with each turn past Jemez as we get closer to Bandelier National Monument, we marvel at the wonder of us and our good fortune to have a car and all the time we need.

Whenever I hear that song, my feet start tappin’ and I want to head out–see new places, make new friends, visit old ones and know that the world is my oyster. What better feeling is there than being a king of the road?

Despite the lyrics, I’ve never smoked a pack of cigarettes in my life. I do, however, look at trailers with great affection.

Here’s a bit of King of the Road trivia: It’s been used in the movies: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Swingers, Into the Wild, Im Lauf der Zeit (In Due Time), and if you saw Brokeback Mountain, who can forget the scene where Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack, confident and full of energy, is heading in his truck to see Ennis? King of the Road was playing on the radio. Of course, that was before Jack’s hopes were dashed.

Still, the song for me is an optimistic all will work out.

Click here for previous Sounds of Travel.