I just spent a month in France and while it was an amazing experience to have access to foods I could never find here in the U.S., it was a bit of a nightmare trying to find certain spices, and having to work with sub-par equipment, dull knives etc....
I was thinking that next time I travel, I'll pack my chef knife, or maybe another, smaller good/sharp knife if I decide to buy one, and small quantities of some of the spices I use the most like coriander, cumin, peppercorns, smoked paprika, oregano, saffron, turmeric, etc..... (of course you can find those spices in France but who wants to go shopping for spices every time you want to make a single dish).
BTW anyone else noticed that most people don't have a single useable sharp knife in their kitchen? At some point I felt like I was trying to fabricate a chicken with a fork handle.
Meanwhile... I'm back!