A farewell/goodluck gift for my wife while she's hiking the Himalayas
September 9, 2009 8:40 AM   Subscribe

My wife is heading to the Himalayas, where she and I will be incommunicado for an entire month. What can I give her that she will appreciate (and maybe even remind her of me) while she is gone? She will be carrying her own large hiking pack through the mountains for much of the trip, so there's an emphasis on small, resistant to breaking, and useful.
posted by Plutor to Human Relations (21 answers total)
Best answer: Write 30 letters on 15 notecards (front and back), have her read one per day.
posted by chrisalbon at 8:45 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do you wear a particular scent regularly? Spray a handkerchief with it and put it in a small bag (to keep in the smell – I suppose a ziplock would work but a cloth satchel would be nicer).
posted by yawper at 8:53 AM on September 9, 2009

Does she enjoy comics? Give her a bunch of The Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes (or whatever her favorite is) comics, one for each day. Write a personal note on the back of each. This will be light and durable, will give her a daily laugh and reminder of you, and will be a small connection to civilization and home.

Also, if she's going with a group she'll be a hero for passing these around every day.
posted by bondcliff at 8:58 AM on September 9, 2009

Give her a dollar bill. Tell her it's a lucky dollar. Maybe write a note on it, saying so.
posted by Danf at 9:02 AM on September 9, 2009

For my money a long hiking trip is always made better with a Leatherman tool.
posted by skewedoracle at 9:03 AM on September 9, 2009

Seconding yawper's idea. My boyfriend relocated for work a few months ago, and before he left he gave me his favorite hoodie, and it was such a comfort to be able to put it on and have that sensory reminder of him.

Or maybe some kind of multipurpose tool, something she'll be able to use regularly -- maybe a nice Leatherman?-- and think of you when she does.
posted by alynnk at 9:06 AM on September 9, 2009

A netsuke that she can wear around her neck or attach to her walking stick?
They come in a lot of forms and you might be able to find one that means something special to both of you.
posted by Billegible at 9:24 AM on September 9, 2009

Response by poster: I don't wear cologne regularly, and my deodorant has a very subtle odor. And based on past experience, I'm not certain that my natural odor is appealing to her. Is that perception something that might change when we're apart for an extended period of time?
posted by Plutor at 9:49 AM on September 9, 2009

If you're going with the scented thing, keep in mind that perfumes and colognes can attract bugs. I suppose if she was keeping it in a ziploc bag that wouldn't be too much of an issue, though.

Personally, I'm with skewedoracle - a Leatherman tool is lightweight and infinitely useful. Perhaps you could get one and have it engraved with a phrase that will remind her of you?
posted by ellehumour at 9:51 AM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

Does she have a hiking stick yet? If not, you should get her a nice quality walking stick like this one and have a nice little note engraved on the side. If you can't get someone to engrave it, just simply write something on a small piece of paper and use packing tape to "water proof" it. Something along the lines of, "I will always be here for you to lean on. I love you."
posted by banannafish at 9:51 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I was 7 my mom backpacked in Utah for three weeks. I made and gave her a powdered drink mix (sort of spice chai) that she could add to her hot water. We had a glass of it together before she left, and I could think of her enjoying it while she was gone.

When she came back, she said it was really nice to have on cold nights and remembered me, and that she shared it with her friends. 14 years later it still means a lot to me knowing she had something to enjoy because of me!
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 10:19 AM on September 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Either several notes, or just one note, entitled "For Whenever You Need It", reminding her of how much you love her and how you'll be thinking of her while she's away. Nothing else is as meaningful as a letter, in my opinion.
posted by Cygnet at 10:22 AM on September 9, 2009

honestly, she can get anything (walking stick, etc) she needs out there, and she'll probably *want* to in order to preserve her own memories, and i know from experience every little gram counts when you're doing a long trip.

i would suggest instead a decent little flask with some high-quality alcohol she likes, which she can sit and sip looking out at the mountains, because while you can get beer out there (is she doing annapurna? everest base?) you sure as hell can't get any good liquor... she'll feel a little warm, a little buzzed (esp at that altitude!) and definitely think of you.
posted by yonation at 10:54 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: How about a small finger ring? I could understand if it would be cumbersome to her, but it would be small, very portable, and right there on her hand whenever she wanted to look at it.

If she has lace-up shoes, maybe a small piece of jewelry that could go around her shoelaces.
posted by amtho at 11:31 AM on September 9, 2009

Best answer: How has no one suggested a compass yet? Useful and symbolic.
posted by MsMolly at 11:41 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think all the ideas of getting the useful things (Leatherman, compass, etc.) engraved with meaningful sentiments are awesome. You can also get said meaningful sentiments embroidered on blankets and towels.

It would make me really happy to use a Leatherman that had a note of affection from my husband on it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:47 AM on September 9, 2009

Response by poster: I like the engraved compass even better than the engraved Leatherman. Stanley London has some nice small engrave-able compasses at reasonable prices. I think I'll also combine BusyBusyBusy and chrisalbon's ideas and buy loose leaf mix I know she likes and empty tea bags and write individual little notes on the teabag tag. I might also get a finger ring that she won't have to worry about losing, so she can leave her wedding/engagement rings at home.

Thanks for the ideas, all. (More are still welcome!)
posted by Plutor at 12:31 PM on September 9, 2009

You are so sweet, Plutor.
posted by amtho at 1:39 PM on September 9, 2009

I came here to say compass.


If you can afford to, buy her a handbearing compass. I have the Iris 50 and find it incredibly useful.
posted by cior at 2:32 PM on September 9, 2009

Another vote for a compass. Two of my best friends gave each other compasses instead of engagement rings, so they can always find each other.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:23 PM on September 10, 2009

I was going to say exactly what yawper said, except I think you can forgo drowning things in particular scents and just find a well-loved T-shirt, which already blends your cologne, shampoo, laundry detergent, and natural odors. There is nothing better than the shirts and such of people you love.
posted by whatzit at 4:53 PM on September 11, 2009

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