The Art of Packing

According to Google, there are 386 million sites on how to pack light. That’s three hundred million opinions, tips and strategies on how to fit all your stuff into one bag. In my opinion (just to make it 386,000,001), there are no good tips or tricks for packing light. It is never easy and you will always feel like you’re forgetting something. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comprehensive list of ‘what to pack’ for traveling around the world either. People are different. Places are different. Every traveler has an opinion about what’s important, what they want to do, and how much they can carry. In the end, it comes down to knowing thy self, knowing thy destination, predicting thy activities, and having a shit load of patience — none of which are as easy as they sound.
Not to complain or anything, but this trip is the most difficult trip I’ve ever had to pack for. I’ve never embarked on a trip with such a wide range of requirements. It will be hot, cold, dry and wet. Traditional and modern. Between the ten different countries we’ll be visiting, we’ll be doing everything…. living in mud huts and city apartments, beach-bumming and digging wells. We’ll be hiking at high altitudes and trudging through wetlands. We’ll be riding on local buses then hoping on a first class flight. And everywhere we go it will be equally important to fit in.
Tip: Buy local. As fitting in will be the key to our survival in most places, we must ensure we look like the goat, eat like the goat, smell like the goat, and sound like the goat. As far as packing is concerned, we’re talking clothing and accessories. Attire is now important for two reasons: protection and culture. The clothing we’re packing is purely functional so we can leave room to pick up the local styles as we go. As for accessories, here’s another Tip: If it doesn’t glisten, it’s gold. We’re leaving the bling and flashy toys at home so as not to stand out amongst the heard.
What it looks like:
Four pairs of shoes, two pairs of pants, two dresses, one skirt, one pair of shorts, sweatpants, sweater, two tanks, two t-shirts, raincoat, sun hat, winter hat, sunglasses, gloves, bathing suit, yoga towel, three pairs of socks and underwear, sleeping bag, first aid kit, sunscreen, water purifiers, malaria pills, altitude sickness pills, anti-diarrhea pills, hand sanitizer, Lonely Planet’s living on a shoestring, alarm clock, pocketknife, passport, camera, mascara. (I never leave home without mascara).
From there all it takes is a little rolling, stuffing, sweating, patience, cold beer, unstuffing, re-rolling, more patience, stuffing, then POOF, like magic it fits:
Life reduced to forty pounds.
We leave in six days.