When I was in Greece a couple of months ago, I was texting with my friend on Whatsapp and we started joking that we should go to Thailand together. He’s a funny guy but as much as I like him, I knew that this would never happen.
All good but what next?
When we finished chatting, I thought to myself: Well, that was fun but I really want to go. And I felt that it was time. Time to pack my bag and just go. Without the pressuring questions of: How long for? Where? With what money???
At that moment I decided: I’m going. And that was it.
Tying loose ends
I couldn’t leave right away as I had to save money for the ticket, which served well as my school was finishing in June and I wanted to be there for that.
Saving money to get the ticket was strange and not very successful 🙂 In June, I visited Edinburgh for the Film Festival and Athens for a seminar. When I came back from Greece, I was skint. I guess travelling is not the best way to save money, right?
But I already decided that I was going. Being skint wasn’t going to keep me away from anything.
Pack light, girl!
A few weeks and a couple of financial arrangements later (Oh wow! How grand it sounds! “Financial arrangements” is just a fancy way of saying: I borrowed some money), I was able to get my ticket (one way), my insurance (well, kind of) and some pocket money (this one makes me laugh real hard). Great success!
Pack light, pack light, pack light. Now, this was going to be the biggest challenge ever. The mantra from a few years ago was ringing in my head again.
Living abroad and moving around a lot taught me to have little belongings but staying in one city for the past few years meant that from the hunter, I became the gatherer.
No packing skills whatsoever
I’m completely terrible at packing. If you ever travel with me, do control what I pack! It’s not that I can’t “pack light”, I can. However, it later turns out that I’ve got all the wrong stuff!
So, since May I started keeping a list of things that I necessarily need when backpacking. Then I added a couple of t-shirts, a couple of shorts, and so on. Always keeping in mind that I’m the one carrying this luggage on my back.
My last trip, Scotland/Greece, made me really tired in this regard. I had to pack for two completely different sets of weather, as there was about 30°C difference between the two countries. My intentions were grand but then I ended up wearing only one t-shirt anyway. Well, maybe two (but this is just so I don’t sound too unkept 😉 ).
I have been strutting my camel-look a few times in the past already and as much as it amuses me to see myself look utterly ridiculous, my back and my shoulders don’t really appreciate the joke. Having hit 30, I must respect the majority of votes.
The last time I did it was in Athens in June. I was going to attend a seminar and I had to take a pillow with me. It wouldn’t be so bad but I also had my mountain backpack, a canvas shopping bag and the pillow was bigger than me.
I walked the most touristy streets in Athens. People sitting in cafés, sightseeing, marveling at the Acropolis – and me, walking with a pillow so big that you could barely see that someone was behind it.
So, getting ready for Asia, I figured that enough with the BS and time to pack with head. I knew that my head wasn’t enough and I called my sister, Lilly.
We sat in my bedroom looking at the curiosities spread on my bed. Everything divided in groups that were ruled by strict logic:
1) Things I completely necessarily unquestionably need,
2) Things I think I need,
3) Things I actually need,
5) I want to take this but I can’t be bothered to carry clothes I don’t wear,
6) Oh, I love this dress! Can I take it, please? No, you can’t! But I really like it… No! Oh, please? Pretty please? Well, take it if you want but you’re the one carrying the backpack. Oh… OK…
Believe it or not, group number 1 included – wait for it, wait for it, wait for it – a flashlight! A quick-drying towel! A wind-proof jacket! How sensible of me. Group 5 & 6 never made it to my backpack… Sigh… So long, my dresses!
Sedentary lifestyle’s traps
Living in one place makes you gather things! I forgot about that. It also makes you attached to whatever you’ve gathered and although I had gone though my closet a hundred times, I didn’t seem to be able to get rid of more stuff than I already did.
It’s the act of making decisions and consciously resigning from the items that I’ve worked hard to gather that makes getting rid of my “treasure” difficult. It’s quite ridiculous actually. If everything simply burned, I wouldn’t care much. But for now:
Pack light! Pack light, pack light, pack light.
(Oh. And I’m not going to Thailand. Something else came up. But that requires an entry on its own.)