How to pack perfectly for a year around the world: Shewee 1 Inflatable Pillow 0

Home » How to pack perfectly for a year around the world: Shewee 1 Inflatable Pillow 0

What to pack. What not to pack?

pack round the world

Pack the bag time! How do you pack for a year around the world? The packing began about three months before we left. I started assembling what I considered I might need, purchased a suitable bag, discovered I had room to spare and thought, this will be a doddle. It was not. As time passed, the packing pile became bigger… and bigger.

There were first-aid kits, malaria testing kits, 259 malaria tablets, and environmentally friendly sanitary products; (click here to read my blog Environmentally conscious traveller: How to avoid menstrual mishaps abroad). I also concluded – it might be necessary to buy – the Shewee. What is one to do when hyenas and pythons are lurking around the long drop toilets? There were bed bug killing sheets, mosquito killing nets, and sterile needles. The list became endless of unbeknown ‘essential’ items that I hadn’t considered I needed when planning The Budget. As quickly as the spending increased, the space in the bag decreased. A great online shop I found for all of this was the Nomad Travel Clinic.

Bag restrictions: a warning!

One thing I had not considered when looking at how to pack for a year around the world was that the size of your bag could restrict what you want to do. When I first looked at joining an Overland Truck tour across Africa, for example, I did not realise that in most cases, you can only take a backpack of around 70 – 90 litres. This made us explore other options such as self-driving, bus tours (that we were not keen on) or hiring a driver / private guide. These options would be more expensive, so we had to account for this when planning.

We purchased two 80-litre Osprey bags to keep our options open. This after trying them out in a Blacks store following what we declared as our last Bottomless Prosecco lunch in London. I’m not sure they took us seriously; slinging on huge backpacks over my designer dress and tottering around in Vivienne Westwood shoes. Our next planned Bottomless Prosecco lunch was incidentally forfeited for what turned out to be a fantastic stay in Gorge Cottage Oranjekom: Augrabies Falls.

If you can’t fit it in the bag, you don’t need it.

I stuck to the deal, ensuring all my belongings would pack into this one bag. Hairdryer, straighteners, makeup, and anything involving pampering was not even considered. ‘Nice’ clothes and shoes would not be necessary. No one cares what you look like in the jungle! I resigned myself to the fact any photos of me would have to be as they are. Exhibit A above; I did well to stand upright to take that photo. See beyond the messy hair – let’s get this out there now, I’m not photogenic! I know it won’t be flattering, but I am what I am (even if in my head that is still the slim 21-year-old version of me).

Back to the bag packing. Iain, in the sober light of day and following a dramatic attempt at squishing his many, many (many) items – declared he could not possibly pack all his gear into his bag. Okay, I concede he has a lot of camera gear (but that was in yet another bag). So with not long to go, he still had TWO 120-litre bags stuffed full that he claimed to be ‘sorting out’. My hopes of ever joining an Overland Truck tour were dwindling. By the time we left? You can read his blog about that here Seriously, how much gear?

What not to pack for a year: the literal waste of space.

Contemplating how to pack for a year around the world, there are things that really, really, do not need to come. I had tentatively placed a self-inflatable pillow in pile Mark 1. Part of an unused camping pack. I then decided if this was to make the essential packing list, I best test it out. Unless it wowed me with its sleep-inducing abilities, it would be out. There was more of a self-inflating slow pfft than a large puff – on to the growing pile of world-travelling wannabes it went.

The spare shorts that didn’t fit me, but surely would if I lost weight trekking around the world, were out. My dreaming was stronger than my ability to lift the said dead weight — subsequently, any clothes that I second-guessed I may actually wear left the packing pile. I decided on 1 set of clothes to wear, 1 to wash, and one reserve set. If I still had room once everything was in, I could add some more. Which I did, and then… I couldn’t carry it! Following much packing rage, I got it down to a manageable 23kg that I could carry on my back with everything I thought; I was going to need.

Living in a material world

I mentioned in About Us I have never been materialistic; not so for Iain. He likes stuff; he loves gadgets. He is the one who will buy the very best of the best gear… and then never use it. Letting go of the comforts of life took him a bit more time than it did for me. But when your focus in life has been to work hard to get money to buy things you like, I guess it isn’t easy to imagine that getting rid of all these things is now somehow going to make you happier. In India later, we did almost convince our tour guide of just that. You can read more about that here in Incredible India.

Some family and friends assumed we were going off on a 5-star around the world adventure, as that was what we were now used to. Not so. We built in some perks, yes, because we can, but the aim is to travel, not to take an extended vacation. Later we found this an ongoing topic of conversation with people, Why you shouldn’t wait to travel around the world.

Ultimately, though, I hope we haven’t become so attached to home comforts we find we can’t live without them. Time will tell…

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 comment