What to Pack or Not to Pack…That is the Question

Making the decision to travel for several months and live out of a suitcase is not easy. My decision was several months in the making. For those of you that may be wondering if this was an easy decision for me…it wasn’t. Watching my photos on social media and reading my blogs may lead you to think, “Wow, this girl knows what she wants and is going for it.” As much as that may be true now, as with any success story, the details, pain, struggle, and work leading up to that decision are rarely seen or talked about. And, for your information, the struggles and challenges do continue. Changing location does not magically make the internal challenges that we battle disappear.

Oddly enough the main question people asked me when I began letting people in on my little “travel secret” wasn’t, “Where are you going?” “Who is going with you?” or even “How long will you be gone?” People wanted to know what I was going to pack! That question was as crazy to me as watching people flock to the store to buy toilet paper during the pandemic! Admit it, you thought about it too when you heard what I was doing. Those who know me well know I LOVE clothes and shoes and they definitely had this question floating through their minds. I am sure of it!

In the months leading up to my departure, (in true Chris form!) I researched the heck out of what and how to pack. I followed groups on Facebook and Instagram, I read blogs, I Googled items galore, I made multiple lists, and as the date came closer and closer, I did at least 12 practice packs before I left.

It is extremely challenging to pack for a year. What do you take? What do you leave behind? What are the items you think you need, but don’t really…you just want to take them because you think you cannot live without them? Not to mention that there is a specific weight limit to your checked and carry-on luggage when you travel abroad. Unless you want to pay upwards of a couple hundred dollars for an overweight bag, it is best to stay within this weight limit.

At the end of the day, I knew a couple of things. One, I knew I needed to pack things that would fulfill me not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Two, I knew I was NOT one of those people who could travel around the world for a year with only a backpack (NO WAY!). In case you are wondering, I have two suitcases and a backpack. I wanted to have things with me that reminded me of home and that would comfort me on days I felt off while l was in the faraway places I would be going.

Below are the items I have found invaluable on my journey (where appropriate, I included links to the brands I purchased – I am not getting kickbacks for any of these mentions BTW…these are just amazing products that have been lifesavers for me!):

Some other items that I have found essential that I am SO glad I packed:

At the end of the day, we all have different needs when we travel. The key is to know what your needs are, what items will be cathartic for you when you feel homesick and realize that some things we think we “need,” we can get along just fine without. So far, there hasn’t been anything I wished I would have packed that I didn’t. Not bad for a first-time world traveler!

Happy packing!