Dave and I both were really into packing lists. As a control freak, what I bring is really the only thing I can control. And as someone who used to wear high heels every day (and hope to when I get back! Never forget!) I wanted to look cute. I wanted to look like ME, not an REI version of me. I am not that kind of girl, though I tried to be for a while. I’m a failed REI shopping. It’s ok. That’s why I brought $48 moisturizer on the trip. I will indubitably learn a valuable lesson about that one later.
Needless to say, we obsessively read packing lists. Especially like, in February, when this trip was just a twinkle on my visa card. Ones that I found most helpful for me (DK may have a different story) were from Legal Nomads, Answering Oliver, Traveling 9 to 5, and GQ Trippin‘.
So, what am I schlepping around for the next 3/6/9/? months?
1 pair of North Face Manzanita Sandals (i.e. the anti-Chaco)
1 pair of running shoes
1 pair of Toms
1 pair of flip flops. I bought these at Nordstrom. Havianas cost what a daily budget in Laos can be. #priorities
1 maxi dress
1 midi dress
1 pair running shorts
1 pair chambray shorts
1 pair of purple chinos because, god damnit, I grew up on the Main Line and needed to take SOME preppy with me (note: I am not preppy).
1 knee length pencil skirt for going out mostly. It was less than $7. If I wear it 3x and then toss it that’s ok. Thank you Forever 21. Skirt — you are on your way back to your ancestral homeland.
1 pair god-awful wide leg yoga capri pants which I will wear incessantly once I give up on being fashionable somewhere after Laos when I realize I haven’t worn lipstick in three months, high heels for four, and have been freed from American (read: my own) standards of attractiveness.
1 pair hippie super light pants. yes that is a wee bit of a dropped crotch. Oppa Bieber Style
1 pair leggings
1 spaghetti strap tank
4 wider strap tanks because I have an editing problem. For real. Who needs four tank tops in a 50 L bag? I do.
3 t shirts
2 elbow covering shirts. i.e. my India shirts
1 fleece. Most likely for bus rides as air con will be the coldest temp we’ll feel
1 lightweight rain jacket
2 bathing suits. You will never see pictures of me in them, so don’t worry. Unclench your jaw. Release those shoulders.
Along similar lines: not pictured are 7 pairs of underoos, 2 bras, and 3 pairs of socks.
1 resistance band
1 jump rope
(everyone train with Anthony in DC! Email me for his contact info — awesome trainer!)
Traveling Pharmacy. I am carrying our medical supplies and DK is carrying cords/laptop.
SPF 50 & 30 sunscreen
eczema medicine for me 😦
advair for me and my asthma 😦
aloe vera for DK’s inevitable sunburn 😦
Opposite of Imodium….
Melatonin & Ambien
100% DEET bugspray
Metric shit ton of advil
Here’s where i begin to become an idiot
tiny playing cards
EMBROIDERY FLOSS FOR ALL THE FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS I WILL MAKE AND SHARE WITH CHILDREN ON TRAINS.
Our mascot for the trip: tiny gay purple bear (thanks HRC friends!) we’ve affectionately named JT.
worlds’ greatest showing of accessory restraint
Toiletries in varying level of needs.
amazing makeup restraint IMHO
vaguely named “lady supplies” and make up packed up.
6 packets of tissues
1 packet baby wipes
(I KNOW. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. SERIOUSLY. )
inflatable travel pillow
silk sleep sheet
This is how I’m packing it all
16L compression sack for bulky items
1 small packing cube: holds all my shirts
1 medium packing cube holds: shorts, pants, dresses
black purse for the dolla dolla billz. also for when i need to feel like a lady and carry a purse instead of a backpack.
black case with my unmentionables
This is it. everything going in my large pack.
These are odds and ends for my carry on.
this is it. Probs weighs like, 30 pounds all but I am hoping to shed things as we go. I’m sure by the time I’ve done enough yoga to be more zen about material possessions I’m sure I’ll be ok not carrying around 4 ounces of argan oil like an idiot.
So, lessons from packing this all up?
- Packing cubes are like tiny zippered gifts from the baby Jesus
- I am irrationally hoarding toiletries
- I am irrationally hoarding tissues as part of my coping mechanism when dealing with Asian toilets
- I tried to keep my capsule wardrobe all in the same family. I went with mostly black and white but pops of color (a lot of purple. it’s an issue). Everything I am bringing can more or less be worn with everything else.
- I went nuts with gear research and am bringing like none of it. I think it’s fine. I’d rather look cute than be dry. It’s going to be 9,000 degrees with 400% humidity so why not at least look cool.
- I’m sure I’m going to shed some of this on the road. I’d better. I’m ridiculous.
- Also, sunscreen is heavy.