I’ve been doing a trial run, packing my backpack today–it’s essential to do that the day before, so you can find all the things you’ve left out. I’ve been adding “buy this” items as I go.
My pack is a standard backpacker’s back, large but not a frame pack. I’ve got everything organized with Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes –click on the link for a photo. Organization is essential for long-term backpacking; if you don’t organize everything into neat packages, you spend your entire life digging through your pack. After a few weeks of travel, you know exactly where everything is and can lay your hands on it. (I still remember exactly which item goes into which cube, and it’s been a good two years since I got back from SE Asia.)
(By the way, you don’t have to go out and buy the cubes, although I’ve found them more than worth the money; you can do the same organization with 2-gallon ziplock freezer bags. The cubes are more durable and stack more neatly, that’s all. And you can color-code them, which I’ve found helpful.)
I have the following cubes:
- 2 large maroon cubes: shirts and pants, plus bedsheet (for really grungy hotel rooms)
- 1 large yellow cube: dirty clothes, books
- 1 large blue cube: miscellaneous stuff (Kleenex, hand sanitizer, shampoo, etc.) plus MEDICAL KIT
- 1 small black cube: socks, underwear, bras, etc. (n.b.: some travel books say you only need two pairs of underwear. THEY ARE LYING.)
- 1 small blue cube: electronics and misc tools (needles and thread, Leatherman, duct tape, etc.)
- 1 small green cube: hobbies
I plan to dye some silk orange and black and bring it with me, along with a silver spindle, my Bosworth Mini, and some knitting needles. I’ll either make striped silk tiger socks or a tiger travel doily (not enough time for a shawl), or, well, something. I’m also bringing a nice length of bamboo in case I need more needles. (If I brought ready-made needles, they might be the wrong size; this way, I can make whatever size I want.)
For entertainment, I’m bringing two books–one is Kuki Gallmann’s I Dreamed of Africa, which was a gift from my career counselor (“to keep you company in your travels”). I’m not sure about the other one yet–probably The Fellowship of the Ring. I found I could get through all of SE Asia with one or two books in my pack–swapped them out at (tourist) used-bookstores as I went. Also the spindle, silk, and knitting, of course.
I’m also bringing an iPod (borrowed from a friend), although with a bit of trepidation. Any piece of small expensive gadgetry is a theft magnet; iPods are running about $300 right now. But it’s better than hauling along a CD player and a ton of CDs.
I’m also bringing along a digital camera with spare batteries and extra flash cards. I may bring the little laptop I carried through SE Asia, though if I can figure out how to download photos to the iPod, I’ll probably leave it behind. With only three weeks to travel, I can put up the Website once I get back.
Gosh! I think that’s about it. I’m going off to the store to buy the missing items now, and then I’ll have Friday to do the crash course in Latin American Spanish. I bought a phrasebook and a little book with a three-hour crash course in Spanish–I expect I’ll be able to get by with English (mostly), but it can’t hurt to know a bit of the language.
I’m really looking forward to this trip. Dusting off the travel gear is bringing back memories of Southeast Asia…I can’t wait to get on the road again. 🙂