If there's one thing I've never been all that good at, it's packing. The only time I have found packing to be particularly easy is when the trip is for work- 2 suits, some shirts, the same shoes every day...boom, done. But packing for pleasure, that's a whole different ball game. For every trip I've ever taken, I've packed for every "What If" scenario I can think of. What if we go to the beach? What if we go to a fancy dinner? What if I want to work out? What if there's a random cold spell and Los Angeles drops into the 50s (gasp!!) I've had the luxury of throwing whatever I want in my suitcase or in the car and not having to pick and choose my most coveted items. I would ALWAYS overpack.
This time I don't have that luxury. This time I'm carrying everything I'm going to wear for the next 10 months on my back. This time I can't pack for every possible scenario because, not only do I not want to carry it all, I don’t have the space! This time, everything I wear for the duration of this trip will have to fit into my 70 liter Osprey Farpoint travel backback.
I have been researching how to pack for 6 months. What to bring has been on my mind more than any other facet of planning. In contrast, Jake has barely thought about it at all. Boys.
Many people have asked how I'm packing for the trip and what I'm bringing. The answers, simply, are I'm packing very carefully and deliberately, and bringing layers that go with everything! Since we're starting off in colder weather (Paris, Ireland, and Scotland in March...brrrr), I need some long sleeves. I have many layers of warm, fluffy things that I'll wear through Europe, and then send them all home during the summer before we head to the sweltering heat and humidity of Thailand in July. At that point, if the one pair of shorts I'm bringing doesn't cut it, I'll buy more. Jake keeps reminding me that we're going to places where people live and buy things, we can buy things there, too.
Most packing advice I've received is "Pack the stuff you want, and then take out half of it." Well, here's what I'm starting with (pictured below):
- 3 layering tank tops
- DKNY Cozy sweater
- Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket
- Rain jacket
- maxi skirt that can also be worn as a dress
- bathing suit
- all the underwear I want
- Nike Frees sneakers
- Tieks ballet flats
Just writing this out I know it's too much. The great thing is that I know it all fits in my pack- I practiced packing! In order to calm my nerves about packing, I needed to see what it all looked like together, whether or not it would all fit in my pack, and how heavy it would be. The good news is that it all fits, and it's about 15 lbs.
Other things I need to fit in there are a small makeup bag, my hair straightener (seriously, I need it.), and some electronics. The last thing on my mind is whether or not I bring my knee high brown boots. I really, REALLY, want to have them- I'll feel more myself wearing them, I'll be comfortable, I won't look as much like a tourist all the time...but they're big. And if I bring them, I'll have to wear them when we travel, which means I'll have to put my sneakers in the bag, which means less space for other things...oh the domino effect of packing! The only way to solve this problem is to practice packing again this weekend.
One thing I've learned is that packing cubes are the BEST THINGS EVER. They keep things organized and easy to access- my OCD self just loves them. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check these out. I'll never pack without them again!
As we get closer and closer to our departure date, I have to get more and more realistic with myself- do I really need all of these things? I'm not sure yet, but I'll have to make the decision by the end of the weekend! I better go practice some more...