8 Things I Learned Packing for a Year-Long Vacation
Scarves are your friend. Jeans are not.
Ruthless. That’s what I had to be in packing for this year-long trip. One carry-on sized suitcase and a small duffle was all I was allowed. (Did I mention I’m traveling with three globetrotting men allergic to checked luggage? And that I had to fit a mini-Moka pot and a Nikon camera in the bags as well?)
My husband and I, along with two friends, are spending this year as nomads, following the sun as we travel the globe, across Europe, Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, and Central America. I needed a reset from the rut I’d dug, and travel was the way to do it. I wanted to give up the familiar coordinates of life, open my eyes, and experience life off-kilter, on the road, out of a suitcase. Of course that all sounds good until you have to pack.
I’ll admit to a moment of deep despair as I whittled down the pile of clothes I’d assembled in a moment of magical thinking about bag size. How could I possibly know what I’d need for the next 12 months? How would I not get sick of this miniscule wardrobe? Why was it that all my “fun” clothes were bulky, silk, or otherwise impractical? And shoes! How could I not take all my shoes?
Looking back, it was all for naught. I have since discarded nearly everything I had originally packed—and in the process discovered an airtight system for packing along with a newfound liberation in my whittled down life in a rolling suitcase. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.