I have done two extended backpacking adventures – one for four months and one for almost six. On top of that I have undertaken various other trips – month-long adventures to Europe and Africa, two week sojourns round Australia and Asia, overnighters, weekends away, and everything in between.
So I should be a pro at packing, right?
I am a complete drama-packer.
What is a drama packer, you ask? Well, it’s someone who has a complete melt-down when packing, every time they go away.
If I have the option, I will over-pack every single time. If we’re taking the car I can fill that car up with all the useless stuff in the world I will never need. I am the classic wears one pair of pants and top for an entire week kind of girl. But somehow when I go away for the weekend suddenly I’ve packed 7 single tops and 6 pairs of shoes!
I remember when I first arrived in Austria and had very limited belongings. When we went away in that first year, I simply surveyed my sparse wardrobe, and took what stood out. But a few years down the line, my wardrobe has expanded, and so have my packing dramas.
Now, I love a good list – and I also tend to keep my packing lists. I have an entire folder full of packing lists. This is super helpful when I’m packing because I can just look back on a similar list, and know I haven’t forgotten anything. Christmas in Australia? I have a list. London for work? I have a list. European getaway? I have a list. Overnight for the Christmas party? I even have a list for that. You would think that this makes things easier, and it does, but it doesn’t stop the drama packer in me coming out!
A few years back my colleagues and I headed to Croatia for a girls weekend away… I took a medium sized suitcase (for two nights, people, what is wrong with me??) and I stuffed it full of all kinds of random clothes and shoes. And when I arrived, I opened my case to change into something light for the beautiful sunny weather, and realized I had not bought one skirt or pair of shorts that wasn’t for exercising. I literally (except for the evenings), wore exercise gear the whole weekend because naturally I had plenty of that!
Now, I know all the rules about packing – I had no problem travelling with my limited belongings on my extended vacations – I just, for whatever reason, refuse to adhere to them. If I have more space… and I don’t have to carry my bag, why not throw in two bottles of wine… because you never know!
The amount of time I spend packing is also ridiculous. I have worked out that allocating a packing time of half an hour, and allocating half a day, does nothing to the quality of the packing, it just means more time for painful deliberations. So these days I have a system. I write my list out a week or two before (so I can purchase anything that might be needed), and then I allocate a set hour to pack it all the day before. This works ok, but I still retain the tendency to overpack if I can, and to dramatize the entire event!
I’m heading back to Croatia in a few weeks, and I’d like to say things will be different, but let’s be honest, they probably won’t… ah well, what can you do?