Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Packing Principle*

*A short digression - part 2 about Australia will be after this post!!

"You've been travelling for eight months – wow, how do you pack for that"? I was asked this question recently and could not for the life of me come up with an adequate answer. I was truly stumped for words which made me think about it enough to want to write something about it. Thanks for the great topic Lynette!

I am well aware I'm going to be joining the thousands of other travel experts and bloggers out there who have written extensively about long term world travel and how to pack for it. The trouble is the advice given out there is understandably and ironically all over the map – so much so that it is really difficult to tailor their suggestions to your own packing and travel needs. What makes it even more difficult to figure out what to bring is when you have to go to many different countries and climates. I know thes advice given are the writer's opinions and experiences and may not apply to you: kind of like the typical warnings you'd hear regarding contracts or recently bought items on The Simpsons: the opinions expressed may not be applicable to your own travel needs. Sorry for the Simpsons digression – I swear any excuse to work it in the conversation I'll find it!!

I've read suggestions ranging from packing just a duffel bag to buying the clothes you need as you go along and then to save space in your suitcase, donate them back to the community. A lot of other ideas have ranged depending on budgets. Low budget, you backpack it. Higher travel budget? No problem; just hire a porter to carry your things for you. It still goes back to the main question though: how do you pack for this? I can honestly tell you that I have no clue. I can, however, admit to making many mistakes and have had to send a few things – ok a LOT of clothes and stuff back home to Canada as I've gone along on this world trip because:

  1. Excess weight in the suitcase.
  2. It just wasn't needed anymore.
  3. I made a wardrobe mistake and don't even wear that particular item (a very common mistake when traveling).
  4. I bought new things and wanted to keep but also get rid of the older stuff.

So maybe the answer to Lynette's question could be that when it comes to packing, particularly for eight months of travel, it's probably best to just do what you want. I know that was a cop-out to a difficult question but there is just no other way to answer this question easily. If you feel the need to pack five suitcases, go ahead, but keep in mind that unless you have the budget to support your decision, be prepared to suffer the economical and physical consequences. If you feel like a pair of undies and toothbrush will suffice? Ok, that's kinda gross but again fine, do what you think will fit you the best and more importantly makes you happy. After all the point isn't the packing it's what you're going to see as you travel. Believe me you'll adjust to your new surroundings eventually and after a while on the road, so will your suitcase!

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