Surviving on a Desert Island

Being a running blogger is challenging when one’s injured and unable to run, which is the situation in which I currently find myself.  Other than sadly reading others’ tweets and blog posts about their recent workouts, the closest I’ve been to running this week was a 10-minute turn on the AlterG at physical therapy.

I won’t say that I’m battling a case of writer’s block, but the Blog Muse has definitely left the building.  I don’t want my blog to go the direction of my left hip flexor, so I need to write something that doesn’t include photos of my chubby kitteh or lengthy missives about how much I want to run.

Hmmm… so what to write about… what to write about…

Aha!* [Don’t worry, it’s not another Proust Questionnaire.]

If I was stranded on a desert island and had all of the life-sustaining necessities (my family, shelter, water, food, sunscreen, medicine, etc.), what 5 items would I bring in my personal survival kit?

2014-01-07 11.38.12-2Are there bartenders on desert islands?

Winnowing this list was difficult because I rely on so many things every day to be a normal, functioning person (e.g., my Vitamix, which helps me make green smoothies which give me energy and make me easy to be around even without coffee, or under-eye concealer).  Plus, many of my necessities are dependent on electricity and/or wifi.  While I can’t imagine going a day without my iPhone or iPad, those two items didn’t make the cut because of the electricity and connectivity issues.

In no particular order, the following comprises my survival kit:

5.  A subscription to Indiespensable.

I’ve discussed Powell’s Books Indiespensable book club before.  For $39.95 per month, I get a signed, special edition hardbound book, as well as other thematic goodies, delivered to my doorstep.  I love books and cannot survive without them.  I would go totally cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs cray-cray if I was on an island for even a day without anything to read.

Photo Jul 14, 2 51 00 PMIndiespensable’s monthly selections are extremely well curated, which means that Portland- based Powell’s doesn’t send me the latest Jodi Picoult novel. (Sorry, Jodi Picoult fans out there.) The books—which have included The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Mara, and most recently All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, pictured—are always smart and well-written, even if they’re not necessarily my literary cup of tea.

The bonuses included in each package are always a fun surprise. Sometimes they’re a sweet (such as local cake pops or hand-pulled caramels), sometimes they’re another book (usually an advance copy), and sometimes they’re something different altogether (like a Powell’s magnet or, in this month’s case, a heart-shaped pencil).

And, no, a book club membership isn’t cheating as far as this desert-island-essentials premise goes.  Ever heard of drone delivery?

4.  Running shoes.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 10


Surprise! Ha ha, just kidding. I’m a running blogger, remember? Therefore I would need my trusty running shoes to run around my desert island… assuming the island has hard surfaces on which to run, because girlfriend doesn’t run on sand. My Achilles tendons are too old for that ish.

3.   Fran’s Salted Caramels.

Caramels Salted Caramels


This item’s in here to throw you for a loop, because everything up to now has been about staying physically or intellectually active and busy. Actually, I lied—I’m including these caramels in my list because they are incredibly delicious and I love them and I can’t really afford to eat them very often because they’re somewhat expensive… But!  If I was on a desert island, having good-quality chocolate would be a priority. These, like the books, would keep me sane.

2.  Lip stuff.

Anyone who has known me since I was a wee Molly knows that I cannot live without something on my lips at all times. I think I have some irrational phobia that having naked lips will cause them to crack and fall off of my face.

Are you ready to hear about my love affair with lip stuff? Grab a cup of coffee and settle in; this may take a while.

In high school, I was addicted to Carmex. Then I moved on to Cherry Ice. Basically, if it had menthol in it, I wanted to slather it on my lips. Cherry Ice and I were together all throughout college. In grad school, I broke up with Cherry Ice (which had started to seem immature and cheap) and moved on to the more stable but still exciting Burt’s Bees. In my 30s, as I settled down and matured, I moved on to Chapstick. Yes, good ol’ boring Chapstick.  Chapstick and I hung out for a few years but I was never that into it. A friend introduced me to Aquaphor several years ago and that was it: love at first swipe. I need use it only once or twice a day and my lips are well-hydrated, never chapped. No more of this hourly-application crap.

ULTA beauty product


I would not be able to survive on the desert island without the fifth member of my family, Aquaphor.

1.  A journal and pen.

Is this cheating? Does this count as two items? They’re totally related. Although I guess I could use strips of bark from palm trees on which to write instead of paper. Or better yet, with all my free time on the island, I could cut down a tree, chop it up, grind it down into pulp, and then make my own paper.

Red Moleskine with Ruled Pages 5x8 Journal
But I’d rather bring this pretty Moleskine journal. I would draw pictures of and write about the things I would see, and the way I would pass my time. I would document my kids’ lives.   Maybe I would actually start writing that novel I’ve wanted to write since I was a senior in college.  I could graduate from being a plugged-in blogger to an unplugged journalist and novelist.

Hmmm…I like the sound of that.  Can I do that even if I don’t go to the desert island?

What 5 items would be in your personal survival kit?

*Thanks to Alexandra at Man Crates for the inspiration. Man Crates is a cool online store that creates drool-worthy themed gift crates for guys. I have an incredibly tough time shopping for the men in my life, and am going to look into trying one of their crates in the future. It looks like they have a crate for every guy: sports fan, beer enthusiast, gamer, wannabe zombie hunter, you name it. All that’s missing is a desert island crate! 


8 thoughts on “Surviving on a Desert Island

  1. This is great! Okay, so it would be really tough to narrow down a list to 5 (FIVE?!?) items; you should see me try to pack for a weekend trip. I definitely agree with books and I’m wondering if we could count multiple books as one item? Because I’m going to need more than one book. I love Moleskin journals, another great idea, and definitely running shoes and lip balm. So…that only really leaves room for one more item. Hmm. I’ll have to think about that one. 🙂 Great post, and I’m so sorry you are injured. UGH. Also, I apologize in advance for my running tweets…

    • I’m the same way with over-packing, which is why making this list was so difficult. Let me know which final item you decide upon! (And no worries about the running tweets–I’m happy for those who can still run.)

  2. Martha B says:

    Do I ever hear you on the bloggy block that comes along with injury.
    I don’t want to read or write… I just want to eat ice cream and watch TV.

  3. I hope your hip feels better soon! After seeing that picture of the fruity cocktail, now all I can think about is drinking a pina colada on a deserted island. I’d take my running shoes too though, for sure.

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