Jun 24, 2015

Saying Goodbye and a Top Ten List

MC and I made our final goodbyes to Hawai'i the only way we knew how.

A little beach time, some shopping, lunch one last time at Duke's, and a final salute to the swaying palm trees.

With our goodbyes finished (and more like see you later) we made our way to the airport to take our overnight flight to Atlanta. Woof.

After almost 3 weeks of traveling with one bag that I wore on my back through 5 different states, 5 different time zones, countless ubers, a gaggle of hotel rooms, and many city streets I thought it might be due time to have the what I wore discussion and how to pack for 3 weeks with limited space.

Here is my top 10 list in no particular order.

First. The bag. Choosing the right bag is tricky, But test those suckers out. I rotate between two bags and am debating another bag.

I took this bag all over Latin America this past November and it has worked perfectly for weekend trips, day trips, volcano hikes, classes, and then my three week long adventure through California, Arizona, and Hawaii. 

This bag holds a heck of a lot and is super comfortable to carry around. I highly recommend this bag.
The Yerba is smaller than the Chacabuco, but I have used it for two different week long surf trips, as well as for work since it has a laptop sleeve. I have a past version and it zips more like a backpack rather than just around the top. But it holds a heck of a lot for a seemingly small bag. It has stood up great against the elements that both Costa Rica and Nicaragua had to offer.

This bag is something that I have been lusting over. Since it zips all the way around it seems to me like a more practical bag for longer trips in multiple places. Being able to find things and repack quickly is ideal and is a bit difficult to do with a traditional backpack style bag. This one has has backpack straps that are hidden by a zippered pocket in the back and I think this may be added to my collection in the near future.

Patagonia gear and clothing always holds up well and I have a few standard pieces that always travel with me and I have been super happy with the quality and craftsmanship. I have also made the trek out to Patagonia headquarters and everyone was super friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.

Second. Pick somewhere that swimsuits are acceptable. I kid (but not really). Pick somewhere that the weather is fairly consistent from place to place you hop.

I generally pick my journey's based on bodies of water, but sometimes you run into some issues with multiple weather changes. Just remember to have fun and keep number three close at hand.

Third. Pack in layers. Think in layers. Wear layers. Become layers. Seriously being able to layer is going to save your life and your back if you are like me and prefer the nomadic dirtbag lifestyle to the ritzy roller suitcase crowds.

California, Arizona, and Hawaii all have different weather during January. Not so vastly different that you needed a ton of clothing, but I always be sure to have a pair of leggings, a long sleeve shirt/sweater, and a scarf. All three pieces are easily converted for multiple wearings and in totally different ways. I always have a sweater or long sleeve shirt because I am generally freezing wherever I am.

Fourth. Think in terms of wear-ability, functionality, and versatility.

Don't pack things you aren't going to wear. Save that room for something fun and local you may purchase. You don't need more than one (maybe two) sun dresses. No one cares if in your picture you've worn the same dress 4 times. It's about the adventure not the dress. Also remember you are most likely going to be carrying that pack around a lot and the less weight, the better.

Fifth. Carry an extra pack-able bag for unexpected souvenirs and side trips you may take.

Every grocery store has started on the bring your own bag and save the environment thought wave. This means accessibility to a small, packable extra bag super easy. They are cheap, small, and if you lose it you are aren't out a big loss. These bags make for great beach trips, grocery runs, and souvenir shopping.

Sixth. Choose your footwear wisely because it takes up an extreme amount of space.

I personally say if you can't wear flip flops it's not worth doing, but that's not true. Being somewhere that means a lot of walking you are going to want something that has a bit more support than flip flops generally offer.

Rule of thumb I don't bring tennis shoes unless I plan on working out. They are bulky and you can't really wear them with anything but workout clothes. I pack chucks or my Merell's.

I have a pair similar to these, but lighter that I wore all over Guatemala. They are great shoes since they aren't bulky and you can rinse them off.

Seventh. Lay everything out you want to take and then pare it down by 1/3-1/2. You're making memories and should not be worrying about what you have on.

Eighth. Remember you can wash unmentionables in sinks and bathrooms.

Save space and pack just a few types of underwear depending on what clothing you have packed. You can wash your underwear when you shower and hang it to dry.

Ninth. Think you need a hairdryer, a straightener, and a giant bag of makeup? You don't. Embrace the natural look. Think a brush and some mascara. Save that space for something else.

Tenth. Most places have stores. If you've forgotten something you'll survive. And in most cases, you won't actually need it.

But most of all, remember to have fun and enjoy the journey. It won't be perfect and there will definitely be hiccups, but the memories you make and the people you meet will more than make up for something silly that you will undoubtedly forget before you can even start to complain that it happened.