A few days ago I started packing. Well.. started is a loose term. It all came out onto the bed so I could arrange it into neat, organised piles: toiletries, makeup, medical supplies, clothes, shoes, electronics, followed by an assortment of miscellaneous ranging from duct tape (you never know) to pink dolphin dress-up sunglasses (you also never know). ‘Now that it’s all on the bed, all I need to do is pack it in the bag,’ I thought to myself. Well done, Charlie. You can go treat yourself to a drink with your friends.
That is until I came stumbling in at 11pm only to find my bed inaccessible and, in a sleepy slur, shoved it all back onto the floor.
This back-and-forth happened a few times but eventually I ran out of faffing time and now faced the inevitable task of packing it all into a 60-litre backpack. To be honest I thought I could probably fit in the backpack, so I didn’t think this was going to be much of a hassle. Lol.
THE PROBLEMS STARTED WHEN I REALISED MY MEDICAL SUPPLIES TOOK UP HALF THE BAG.
I’ve been reading a lot of travel advice and watching various vlogs on solo-travelling, so I know it pays to be prepared. I’m not sure what I think I’m going to catch out there, but I’ll be ready for it.
I’ve also heard Central America can be expensive for things like suncream and mozzie spray so they advise you to bring your own, but these bad boys are quite bulky numbers and also eat into valuable compartment space.
There are the “Go-Without-Saying’s“: the items that need to come with me like the shoes (one to wear, one to pack, and flip flops to shove down the side), the towels (travel size, of course), the PJ’s, the raincoat, and the delicacies (pants, not cake). I ram these in so tightly I’ll need a shoe horn to get them out.
Next of course, there’s clothes.
CLOTHES ARE A WHOLE OTHER LEVEL OF CONUNDRUM.
When you start packing clothes for a trip you’ll probably have a few favourite outfits in mind – a favourite holiday dress, some playful beachy numbers – along with some practical ones too. You’ll have to bring one pair of jeans and at least one sleeved top and a jumper… y’know, for the cooler evenings. Comfy leggings to travel in. Yoga pants, sports shorts, a skirt. That’s about it, right?
Oh, but you’ll need to buy a couple of plain coloured tops because you’ve got quite a few patterned bottoms and you don’t want to clash. You’ll probably need to pack some plain shorts, because most of your tops are patterned as well. Are you sure you only need one pair of jeans? It’s a little risky only taking one jumper… nothing worse than being cold. Are you sure you’re going to wear all those tops? Maybe I should go through insta and see what other people have been wearing. Great, now I want to buy a new wardrobe.
Brief meltdown over. Time to start rationalising, minimalizing, eliminating. The second pair of jeans come out, along with the impractical dress and one of the four plain black tops (you really don’t need that many).
IT’S TIME TO BRING OUT MY INNER MARIE KONDO
I find myself origami-ing clothes in ways I never knew how, rolling material into compact and versatile sausages that neatly curl up next to each other. The best thing about going somewhere hot is warm clothes hardly take up room. If packing really is this stressful, you won’t find me going on a ski trip anytime soon.
The final touches of this packing-cake are really up to the individual cake maker. I decided to go with a sprinkling of miscellaneous – an adapter here, a pack of cards there, a rape alarm shoved into a shoe, a spare travel towel wedged in with the rest. I won’t lie, the bag looks ready to burst and getting it onto my back involves an interesting dance of speed and momentum, but I think I’ve just about done it all.
13KG OF MY ALLOTED 23. I THINK I’M READY TO HIT THE ROAD.