My Packing Problem

As the temperatures drop here on the east coast, so do the number of days I have left until I’m out! As I am writing this there are under 30 days left. See?


Knowing I have only a few weekends left, last weekend I started to collect the items I plan take with me, in one place. Spread out across my little couch, it didn’t LOOK like that much stuff, especially not for a year; a handful of tops both sleeveless and short-sleeved, bottoms of various lengths and bathing suits, electronics and wires, a cell phone, an old and new passport, bug spray, hairspray and deodorant among other things. Nothing in the pile was unreasonable or unnecessary, but still, I could tell it was too much.

To find out exactly how too much, I did a rough pack. I put most things into packing cubes and plastic pouches and stuffed them into my backpack (seen below) in a somewhat realistic fashion. I lifted it onto my back and felt a pang of panic; umm no, I cannot walk around with that on my body! I like to think I’m kind of strong for my size, but I’m clearly no She-ra, Princess of Power. So, a bunch of this stuff has to go! But what?!


And herein lies my packing problem: I am going to be gone for so long and in so many different situations that I need a large variety of things. I need clothes that can take me from the beach to the jungle, from a church to a bar, and they all need to fit on my back. Plus, in Latin America, when you dress like a true gringo (yoga pants, flip-flops and most other clothing that we would find completely acceptable) you stick out like a sore thumb. While some of that is unavoidable, I’d like not to be the sloppiest person in sight. So, I need things I can hike in one day and wear to a restaurant the next. This is hard! Plus the full-sized shampoo, conditioner, hairspray and curl cream I am packing, are adding definite weight. But, smaller sized items will just be replaced by full-sized ones later, so it seems better to budget the space and weight from the outset.

So, this weekend, I looked at everything again and made some progress in lightening my load; I guess I don’t need this white t-shirt, these boxer shorts, this mouthwash or so many hand sanitizers. I stuffed my backpack again, and felt a definite difference, but I would still like to cut it down further. Afterall, no one is going to carry this backpack for me, and I don’t want to be struggling every time I have to move. So, there is still work to be done and I have a feeling it’s going to take me the rest of the weekends I have left to fully solve my packing problem.


4 responses to “My Packing Problem

  1. Hah, yea these backpacks get heavy quickly. Sounds like you’ve got it under control tho! woot woot, under 30 days (crazy)

    • The count is getting so low it’s amazing! But I am taking comfort in the fact that I always think my bag is too heavy when I first put it on, and then I wear it successfully all the way to the airport on public transportation. So, I’ll manage.

  2. I love coming across blogs like yours. Love seeing, hearing, and reading about women who take the plunge to just travel. As far as your pack is concerned, once you hit the road you will dump so much. You definitely need a whole lot less than you think you do. It’s the classic quote “Take half as much as you think you need, and twice as much cash.”

    Safe journey, travels, and experiences!!

  3. Thank you, Jai! And you’re right; I always end up with things in my bag I never touch. I’m going to keep trying to weed those things out now, but anything that escapes me will get tossed later!

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