There are many thoughts that one has when planning a four-month trip. Where do I want to go? What do I want to see? How will I get there? But perhaps the one that most often came to my mind was: What do I pack? And surprisingly this was also one of the first questions people asked us as soon as we told them about our travels! So how do you pack for a trip around the world? The short answer is: you don’t! Well, at least, we didn’t.
What I have been learning from this process is that depending on the nature of your trip, it may be possible to pack only what you need for periods of time or groups of countries and then ‘refresh’. Yes, yes, there are many sites out there that tell you how to pack only once and have everything you need for an entire trip around the world and many more that profess the virtues of ‘necessity’ packing to take you from Frankfurt to Zanzibar to Malaysia without needing much more than a backpack filled with flip flops, khakis and a t-shirt. And from what I have seen and heard and even created on my very own Pinterest packing page – it is possible. (And also pretty amazing to imagine – see my Pinterest page here: Follow Raheema’s board Packing for the World on Pinterest.).
But what if you don’t want to ‘backpack’ for your entire trip? What if I want to go out in London on a rainy Saturday night and wear heels and then explore the tribal lands of Ethiopia in my khakis and runners? What if I want to wear resort wear at a beach in Hawaii but need winter gear while hiking The Great Wall of China in Beijing in winter? And what about shopping? It is impossible to imagine that you can take a trip like this and not be tempted to purchase clothes along the way. I felt that since there are so many different types of experiences that we have planned for this trip, one small pack of clothes was just not going to work. That, coupled with our attempt at “backpack packing” on our previous two-week European trip, led us to the decision to pack “dynamically”.
What does this mean? Dynamic packing just means that the suitcase I left San Francisco with is not necessarily going to be filled with the same items when I return. We packed items for the first segment of our trip (Europe) that we will then leave behind at my sister’s home in London. This includes items like a dressy winter jacket, heeled boots, a suit, sweaters, summer dresses, and a Dallas Cowboys football jersey that we want to have for the NFL game in London! When we leave for Tunisia, and the second segment of our trip, we will leave behind our wheeled suitcases for backpacks and pack for warm weather casualwear. We will have our essentials with us no matter what (medicine, runners, swimwear, hat, sweatshirt, etc.) but shed what we don’t need and buy what we do need along the way. I mean, we are going to the garment-making capitals of the world right? The point is to make sure you have what you need for that segment, light enough to carry easily and with some room for some unique or necessary purchases.
As for segment three (winter weather in China and Korea), we will each have one warm sweatshirt and pair of pants in our luggage and the rest we will figure out later. Maybe this means getting some of our winter clothes shipped there or just buying a good inexpensive winter coat when we arrive? I don’t know at this time, nor can I say that this will be a success, but what I do know is that for now I am packed and no longer stressed about making sure I have everything that I need for the entire trip all at once! That said, stay tuned to see if there will be another blog post soon about the woes of dynamic packing…!