In just over a week, I will have spent 3 months living out of a 36L backpack… Brief comparison, the average school pack is between 15L and 30L, and as you will soon see, size is not the only thing my bag has in common with a run of the mill school bag. Now even though in concept I’m traveling fairly light, it’s hard not to berate myself for the weight that can make my shoulders ache- there’s a voice whispering “carry less things”, and that voice is certainly right. But for now, I just want to do a break down of what I’m carrying, if not for myself to look back on, then simply to add to the hundreds of lists and guidelines already floating around online.
Clothing: How a Compression Bag Saved the Day
Rolling your clothes certainly helps to make room, but nothing frees up more space than a compression bag. Behold:
Fill the bag with rolled clothes, pull the straps, and TA-DA! The only downside? The inexhaustible patience you will need to find deep in your soul if you forget to put something in after doing the straps up, or you begin to tire of packing and unpacking the bag.
Books: Food for the Soul
And it’s a good thing Colleen gave us the compression bags- how else would I fit all my books?
I would pick up a book and promise myself that I would leave it behind once I was finished, and I came so close to keeping those promises. But my sentimentality kicked in and when Game of Thrones fell down a waterfall in Koh Phangan, I had to keep it! What kind of book survives that? (the corner slid into the pool of the waterfall twice, same thing)
I have 6 different notebooks for my own writing projects, and I assure you, they are all necessary.
Utilities: DIY Devices
Halfway through this trip I invested in what appears to be a shoe brush, as well as a bar of antibacterial soap which has since served as my on-spot laundry facilities. From fabrics to runners, nothing goes unclean on my watch. I might add, doing laundry is incredibly cheap here, however I often find I do not have enough clothes simultaneously dirty. I’ve talked about the headlamp before, love it to bits, sunscreen keeps from peeling, and the spare headphones are purely a precaution. The selfie stick, I am sad to say, has gone fairly unused and I think this is because my lust for photos floated down the Mae Ping river with my camera.
Pockets and Pouches: Objects on Hand
My backpack has the attribute of numerous nooks and crannies, and I do my absolute best to fill them. A scarf is good to have, not only as sun protection, but for impromptu temple visits that require covered shoulders. Pony tails, tissue paper, a flash light, some meds- self explanatory in their easily accessible locations. Call me old fashioned, but a needle and thread have proved very useful for maintaining my clothes, and when I need to look good in a moments notice, my jewelry is just a zipper pull away. (I had nowhere else to store the small bits and bobs).
First off, ear plugs have been an amazing asset, I could not imagine doing this trip or any other without them. Secondly, I have not touched my eye shadow or concealer and to be honest, I’m not sure how others find time for those sorts of things. There’s sun, heat, water, and sweat and these things have no respect for your Maybelline powder-puff rituals.
This is my “between homes” travel pack, for when we’re hopping on buses or trains and my larger bag is stowed and out of reach. Food, water, entertainment, and motion sickness meds- everything you could really want for a long comfortable ride.
My Goodies: Trophies of the Trip
Besides books, I’ve bought pencil crayons and a postcard coloring book, a notebook from Elephant Nature Park, and some bits of jewelry. I bought a snorkel and mask which have been entirely worth it; I’ve been diving on every island we’ve visited and we stopped again at Koh Tao so I could get my advanced open water certification.
I also picked up a beautiful sheet of Thai fabric (unsure of the technical name), a scarf, sandals out of necessity (the whole prissy flip-flop thing didn’t work out so well for me) and some good old fashioned hippy pants.
In the last few weeks of this trip, I will be working to fit all of these things, along with (potentially) several puppies and/or kittens. I would love to bring back some of the weather, but personally, I think you guys would prefer the temperament of a good Canadian spring.
P.S here’s some pictures from the last few weeks. Enjoy!
and a stunning sunset.
A dessert in Phuket
a dinner in Koh Tao,
A park in Chiang Mai,
Once again, all the best,