Period.  Full stop.  The end.

NZ waterfall

The lovely Whangarei Falls in New Zealand are not the flow I'm talking about

Nope, not that period.  I’m talking about that enjoyable time in the heroine’s journey, whether she is home or traveling abroad.  You know, the one that comes monthly — or 3 times in 10 weeks if you’re super lucky (or perhaps half empty).

If you read my packing list, you know that we had small bags — certainly not enough to last for 10 weeks.  The plan was to do laundry frequently and replenish toiletries along the way.  This included feminine products.

Our quest for feminine products ensued late one night after driving all day through New Zealand.  We were starving in the wintery darkness, but I wanted to make sure we found a store before closing time.  Thankfully, the first shopping center we stumbled upon contained a huge store called The Warehouse, akin to Target in America.  We found the appropriate aisle with a wide array of products.  Most of the brands were unfamiliar, but I wasn’t too worried because they all seemed similar to the products that Mr. HalfFull buys for me at home.

However, I did find it odd that the tampon packages were so small.  I checked the count on several boxes of various brands, which all seemed to be about the same.  I was slightly suspicious, but at this point I was too tired to care and figured it was a first world country with similar products; everything would be fine.

I didn’t end up opening those Kiwi tampons until Australia, nearly a month later.  Yes, they were indeed different; these did not include an applicator.  What?!?  I’ve NEVER seen a tampon without an applicator.  I’ve seen cardboard applicators and plastic applicators and even ones that collapse into smaller packages, but never NO applicator.  Hmm…this seemed a bit tricky.

bus safari

Ms. HalfEmpty midair in a remote, restroom-free area of Mount Kosciuszko in Australia

We haven’t told you much about our adventures in Australia, but it included a bus safari through the mountains between Sydney and Melbourne.  What’s along the twisty, winding mountain roads from Sydney to Melbourne?  Exactly, my point — not a lot of towns.  For much of the safari, we were bouncing along dirt roads on mountain cliffs that require a special driver’s license.  In other words, we were in middle of nowhere.

You might be asking, “What kind of bathrooms do they have in the middle of nowhere?”  Answer:  the porta-potty sort, with no running water.  So no running water and no applicator?  Way to think this safari thing through Mr. HallFull!  The same man who convinced me to walk out of an international airport had now stranded me in the rugged wilderness along the banks of the Snowy River during my visit from Aunt Flo.

At least I had the foresight to save hand wipes from airplanes and brought along antibacterial gel from home.  But yes, it was gross and uncomfortable, especially with one porta-potty and a busload of people waiting for me to figure out how to use an applicator-less tampon.

maxi liner

Fun facts on the maxi liner!

Although I didn’t run out of my American tampons until Australia, I needed the new maxis in New Zealand.  These too were different than the ones I’ve seen in the US.  But this time, the difference was fun!  The throw-away sticker liner included trivia; Mr. HalfFull and I learned all sorts of silly facts.  For example, did you know that in Pacific Grove, California, it is a misdemeanor to kill a butterfly?

So I guess my experience with feminine products in the South Pacific was half empty and half full.

  • Does your husband/boyfriend buy your feminine products?
  • Have you ever seen a tampon without an applicator?  Is this typical in foreign countries?
  • Do you think the lack of applicator is for environmental reasons?
  • Do you travel with hand wipes and antibacterial gel?
  • What products (or lack of products) have complicated life while traveling?
  • What products have made you chuckle?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!