Getting to this point was every bit as stressful as I thought it would be. I quit my job last Wednesday to allow myself enough time to get things done before I left a week later. I had my 10 year high school reunion all weekend, which went much better than I could have imagined (much to my relief). After the festivities wrapped, I visited my sister in Memphis for three nights (a must, as she is leaving for a 10 month study abroad to Uruguay before I return from my trip and unless I fly down to visit, I won't see her until next Christmas). The timing of everything only left me with a 3 days to wrap up everything on my To-Do list, which was quite an undertaking.
I'm an incredible procrastinator and, though I've known for more than a month what I'm supposed to be achieving in order to leave for half the year with a clear conscious, I've managed to put off most of the big things til the end. Which is why I spent the better part of Thursday working on updating my iTunes playlist. UGH. I ran out of time to get things squared away the way I wanted (as in, I have more music than is formatted for my 8G iPhone and now the other applications don't work right), but I have tons of new music to listen to while I travel so I won't get bored with my old stuff. I really have no idea what's on there, I just pulled stuff after sampling a few songs from each artist and figured I'd get acquainted with it later--for better or worse. Not like I won't have time!
And then there's the packing. Oh the packing! My room has been Ground Zero for weeks and I thought I'd be able to give it a proper cleaning (so I'd actually be organized enough to locate things upon my return), but no such luck. Most of the stuff landed in a heap in my closet. I'm only taking a medium-sized backpack and a tiny courier bag (as a checked bag which will contain things I won't mind if the airlines lose, i.e. toiletries and books). Which means that everything else I own is split between my parents house in TN and my storage unit in CO. My mom has threatened to redo my room (or even sell the house) while I'm away. I'm skeptical, but if she chooses to follow through on that threat all I can say is GOOD LUCK TO YOU! I don't even want to touch all that crap when I get back and I'll HAVE to, she'd be doing it because she WANTED to, and that's a concept I just can't understand.
I'm not accustomed to traveling super light (I love to car camp because I can bring luxury items like coolers full of fresh veggies and meats for dinner, beer and I don't have to compress my sleeping bag and all my clothes and even though I sold most of my stuff after leaving DC two years ago, I still have an amazing amount of crap). I'm really proud that everything I'm taking for a 5.5 month trip fits (mostly) inside a 3000 cubic inch pack. Most people I've run this list by who have done anything with me in terms of camping or moving are floored by this! David still thinks I overpacked, but everything he owns will fit into his car, so consider the source. Here's what's coming with me:
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair softshell pants
- 1 pair insulating fleece pants
- 1 pair hardshell gortex pants
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 skirt
- 2 long sleeved shirts
- 1 short sleeved shirt
- 1 tank top
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sundress
- 2 pairs of shoes (1 pair tennis shoes, 1 pair flip flops)
- 4 pairs each of socks and underwear
- 2 bras
- 1 down coat
- 1 hardshell waterproof jacket
- a lightweight sleeping bag (40 degree rating)
- a handful of books on Asia, Australia and New Zealand
- gadgets (iPod, camera, chargers, etc)
- 6 months worth of vitamins & supplements (David laughs at this, but its my thing! Yay health!)
Looks like a lot in list form, but I can assure you it fits on my back! Getting things pared down to what I could fit in a backpack seemed at first to be much more daunting than it actually turned out to be. David points out that we're going to be in the countries that manufacture most of the consumable goods for the world, so its not like I won't be able to buy things when I need them. Plus, who wants to carry all that shit around?!?
The biggest downside of the trip is that we're covering 2 extreme seasons (going from late fall in Asia to summer and fall Down Under), which requires more of a range of layers and more to prep for than a shorter trip and therefore more stuff. So I'll get bored with everything I'm bringing. So what? I'll end up shipping stuff home or donating/throwing things away as I go and determined my packing list so that I could do just that. I'm just hoping I'll actually use everything I pack so I'm not hauling it around for nothing. I have my doubts, but this is a learning experience and I'm all about it!