A necessary verb, though one that many of us loathe. There you are…excited by the imminent adventure ahead. The journey awaits, as do the people you will meet and the unsolvable mysteries that will greet you upon arrival. But first…What will you bring?
People always say to me, “You must have this packing thing down by now.” That is an absolute fallacy. I wish I did. I wish I could say that over the almost 20 years I’ve travelled internationally and over a lifespan of traveling domestically via plane, train, car and by foot, that I have a “system,” that preparing for each destination is a cinch because I do it so frequently. But alas, without question, I find myself awake in the wee hours the night before every departure packing according to a very non-efficient method of “process of elimination”. Everything that might come with me starts in a pile on the floor. From there, I tediously determine the value of said item: Definitely. Definitely not. Maybe.
The most difficult?
The shoes. The bags. The jackets. And the hardest of all: When traveling to vastly different climates.
Allow me to impart some gentle wisdom around items I now never leave home without:
- Green powder – Roughage for those destinations that don’t deviate from starch-heavy fare.
- Hand-held mirror – For contacts and the occasional lipgloss.
- Lavender oil – For planes, trains and headaches.
- Two tennis balls in a sock – For sore muscles, tight shoulders and a ball game at-the-ready.
- Yoga mat – For creating a space for stretching and inverting anywhere.
- Extra bags – They’re always handy.
- Toms/vans/slip-ons – Perfect for taking on and off before entering your tent, someones home, a temple or mosque. (Laces are a hassle.)
As far as the other stuff? Well, usually you can find what you need wherever you go. I mean it. I used a tree branch in Kenya for a toothbrush, bought organic face products from a street vendor in Mumbai, and even managed to find a great pair of super fly high tops in Peru. Wherever your destination and wherever your origin, do your best to remove stress. Roll stuff up. Pack light. Shift your definition of “clean,” and go for it! The journey is about the people anyway. Not your stuff.