Packing. For the most part, I’m pretty good at it. When I travel I vow not to check luggage. I usually take a standard roller-type carry-on bag and another smaller bag like a day pack/purse. I have found that no matter the length of the trip, whether it’s four days or two weeks, I just don’t need much more room than that. Of course, this is driven by the fear that my checked bag will be sent to some other land no where near its intended destination. If I’m carrying it on, then I can’t lose it (at least not by someone else’s stupidity… Only my own, but that’s not the issue here). So, my packing is methodical, organized. Everything matches everything else. I have options for day and night. Matching accessories, cute shoes. It works and I look good.
I’ve discovered a wrench in my well-oiled machine. In the middle of my travels between hot, ancient Chiang Mai and intense, stylish Bangkok I have the volunteer program in rural Surin Province. I need to go from ‘cute, fun, and flirty’ to ‘get dirty’. How does this happen in 2 1/2 cubic feet of space?! I’m convinced the solution lies in lists (as does much of my life). It’s like packing for two separate trips. One is the normal ‘site-seeing, exploring, fantastic meals, and meeting new friends over drinks’ type packing. The other is packing things I expect to leave behind in Thailand. The ‘I was going to get rid of this anyway’ packing. I’m not conditioned to bringing my own sheets and towels when I travel, but this is a different kind of trip. I will NOT, however, bring my own toilet paper from home. That, I will steal from the hotel the night before the program starts.