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Post #6: Packing Light

Welcome to the sixth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #6: Packing lightly

On Twitter this afternoon, I heard all my favorite bloggers discuss what they are packing for Alt Summit in Sat Lake City. Truth is, I’m super jealous. Maybe I should add Alt Summit to my Life List? I’m sure Maggie Mason would approve.

I love hearing about what people deem important to pack. To some, it’s mundane and they want to head straight for the photos, but I think there’s a real art to packing light. Maggie Mason sometimes posts about what she packs for a trip away, and it’s amazing how she can fit everything into an overnight bag (see HERE and HERE. This woman knows how to pack).

So whilst I may not be heading to SLC tonight for Alt Summit, I did just return from jetting around Europe for Christmas. For our recent two week trip to not-so-sunny Europe, I packed [prepare to be amazed!]:

  • Three t-shirts: all of them black. Super practical for multiple days usage.
  • Three pairs of socks: one to sleep in, one to walk in and a long pair when it was really cold
  • Seven pairs of undies (Mum, you’ll be pleased to know that I do not scrimp on the underwear!)
  • One bra, one sports bra
  • Long sleeved workout top
  • Zip up fleece
  • Double-layered beanie (trust me – this baby was key!)
  • Gloves
  • Jeans
  • Scarf
  • Thongs for the shower
  • Down-filled jacket (so warm!)
  • Embroidered eye mask (and you thought packing light meant no frills!)
  • A book: I finished The Devil in the White City about a day into the trip and had to lug the thing around. I think this is why the modern world has kindles. I dug the book, nevertheless.
  • A full sized towel
  • TSA approved travel-sized toiletries case
  • Hiking shoes

Here’s what my half of the packing looked like:

Practicing what I preach: packing light.

I only pack items things that either have dual purposes (ie singlets can be worn to bed as well as another layer under t-shirts) or things that are practical. And as an additional challenge, I must wear everything that I pack at least once on the trip. They have to earn their keep!
The American and I combined (including the weight of the pack) for a grand total of 9.9kg / 21.8 lb, which was a great effort.

When I left Sydney in 2006, bound for a new life in Ireland an beyond, I really struggled with the packing. But the issue really wasn’t about the packing per se, but the Big Question:

How do I fit my life in one suitcase?

And the best answer to that is that your life is not about ‘Stuff’. The too-cool-for-school t-shirts will come and go. You should be living your life, growing and learning, not accumulating stuff. Since then, all of my the new adventures have only had one shared bag, and I’m a happier and more grounded person for it.

And no, I didn’t take any makeup. Two weeks of fresh faced me.

Well, I lie. I did take lip balm. Does that count?

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