They say to halve the clothes but double the budget, and while I hear this, intellectualize it, know it to be likely so true, I resign myself to the fact that I will nonetheless burden myself with too much attire and wish for more money on my round-the-world journey.
Which is precisely what happens.
I load myself with so much unnecessary shit that I hand a third of my clothes to Dianne for a safe return home in week two of travel, another massive packet goes back with my dad at Christmastime, in addition to two care packages mailed home, one from Nepal, another from France. Come time for South America, I pare down to the absolute basics, preferring to keep extra space for souvenirs and what-not instead of as a back-breaking exercise, and frankly, one of my favorite travel pieces are my India pants.
So, don’t do as I did.
Because, the truth of the matter is that a pack is only ye big and that airlines only allow a max of 25 kilos, sometimes only 20 kg, and no one wants to haul almost 50 lbs up stairwells, hoist it to top bunks of moving trains, pass through tight corners, into rickshaws … you get the point.
The other beautiful lesson is that the world, actually, has all that you need, most everywhere, and is a wonderful teacher in showing you that less is better and local even more so.
And, that you are, likely, a piss poor anticipator of what you’ll want to wear in 90° tropical heat when sitting in the garden on a breezy Colorado spring evening.
Curiosity kills the cat, and just in case that’s you, here’s my laundry list, starting with my top, life-saving stow-aways, items I rely upon like little godsends–
Advil: Used all that I brought
Alarm clock, battery operated
iPad: Life-saver … communication device, journal, lens, kindle, travel planner, and so much more!
–more useful items–
Prescription anti-diarrhea pills
Shampoo: All toiletry items are available world-wide, albeit maybe not your brand, so be judicious in the size you ring and how much you pour out!
Tampons: Enough for one or two cycles, not a whole year
Epilady: Battery operated
Anti-itch cortisone stick
Mace: Never use it, but I feel so happy to have it
Camera: I take my SLR, a clunker, but I can’t imagine not having this to shoot what I see
Extra camera lens: I pack a 50 mm and a 55-200 zoom
Sneakers: I heart old-school New Balances
Sandals: TEVA makes a great sporty-city-water sandal
Ankle socks, 2
Warm socks, 2
Jeans: yes, they’re heavy, but for chilling at a bar or walking around town, they’re ideal
Linen, Tibetan pants
Hiking/Bermuda shorts: something long enough to enter sacred temples, churches, etc.
Pack lock and cable
Contact solution: found all over the world; bring only a small bottle
Contacts: enough spare pairs for travel time
Money: dollars work wonders everywhere
Vaccination record: yellow fever card, immunization record
Stuff sack and clothing compartments: save space, organize, and vacuum seal clothes you won’t wear for a specific destination
Plastic bags: sealable baggies are amazingly diverse for storing dirty laundry, electronics; consider document dry-bags for the important stuff
Passport photos: they’ll be necessary for visas and other official documents; bring 10
–and those I wish I’d left behind–
Medications: I came with an arsenal, and all I ever use are Advil, prescription anti diarrhea meds, Neosporin and an anti-itch stick for bug bites; the rest goes to waste …
Malarial meds: I get prescribed meds to take for almost the duration of my trip that make me nauseous–fun–so make sure to do your research on type of pills, dosage, and if they’re honest-to-god necessary for where you go