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Packing for a Seven Month Journey.

3 Aug

What does one pack for a 7 month journey around the world?

Think about it – it’s the seasons, the shoes, the shirts, the sexy outfits.

Packing for a trip like this is like operating in another reality.  You really believe that once you leave the land of the free, you lose your rights to buy underwear, band aids or ibuprofen.  Where does one begin?

I sought advice from the internet oracles and was hooked.  With Visa in one hand and the keyboard in the other, I stocked up on the “travel” essentials. Vitamins.  Mini-flat iron.  Cocoon silk sheets.  Quick drying towels.  First aid. Duck tape.  Clothes line.  Magic Jack phone.  Electrical cords.  Back up batteries. Mole skin. Bug repellent with 5000% DEET.  Zinc oxide. Scissors to cut bangs. Year supply of dental floss. Five year supply of condoms. Passport holders stapled to underwear.  Purses made to resist bullets, knives and bombs..….

All purchased and shipped.

Now, let’s talk clothes. Do I bring the skinny jeans or Levis? Sexy sets or comfortable bras? Do I swim the Dead Sea in a bikini or one-piece?  And, is this the time to test if one pair of underwear can endure 17 countries – or do I throw in some extra hanky pankies for back up? I can go and on… And, every time I push “purchase confirmed,” I hear mom saying – “honey, don’t forget to look cute.  Wear lipstick.  You never know who you might meet..” I just kept ordering.

After spending half  my savings on these essentials, it was time to bring in the big dog – my OCD, CIA, FBI, FYI, BFFer, ASAP sister who believes every acronym is attributed to her.  I’m confident she’ll be able to cram four seasons and seven months of essentials into a 25″ bag.  I threw her some vacuum Ziplocs and watched her do her magic.  She wrestled, fought and grappled, but she won.  That bag closed.  Its times like these I’m so happy she’s not adopted.

But what was to happen when it’s my turn to cram and cajole?  Answer is curse and cuss in Dublin.  Twelve hours into my 290 day journey, I’m purging.  Toss looking cute and being concerned about titanium wallets, I’m embracing my inner grunge and foregoing any future back surgery.

You ask what was gifted to Irish housekeeping? To answer, we need to go back to 1999 when I interned with Johnson & Johnson.  A staff perk was buying J&J products at cost.  For a reason that makes zero sense, I bought an over-sized J&J First Aid Kit.  Fast forward 10+ years.  Internet travel experts scream, “first aid is a must!  If you don’t have first-aid, expect to die…..”  Hell, I wasn’t about to spend precious coins when I haven’t worn a band aid since 1999.  I grabbed J&J and crammed it in the bag.  In Dublin, I opened up this bad boy for the first time.  I’ve truly lost my mind.

Ten years and three thousand miles later, I’m saying hello to moist wound care for snake bites, dog bites and shark bites.  Ointments for open sores. Tweezers for stitches. Creams for warts.   Yes, mind is lost…. I tossed it. All of it. Plus, isn’t this why I paying $$$ on evacuation/health insurance – not only to lighten my load but to professionally treat unforeseen gout or ship my stitched ass home on any given day.

What else did I gift?  Try two pounds of prenatal, B -complex, Omega-something vitamins and 20 packs of healthy, fortified powdered drink mix. Why start taking the good stuff now.  And, why start with prenatal?  “They” say prenatal is the best.  Best at what?  They made me bloated and constipated, something feared among the traveling class.

I tossed over two pounds of wires, adapters and back-up battery packs. Don’t get me started on the technology gig.  Let’s just say it’s a racket.  Each company requires a different wire, different battery, and different system.  It weighs you down.  They’re gone. I tossed them spewing spite at Gates, Jobs and the rest of them.  Give it a few weeks, and I’ll be pissed that I don’t have that one special cord that only connects to a certain net book at a specific time of day, while traversing in Russia.  Oh, I also tossed the second and third bottle of ibuprofen. Who needs 500 pain reliever tablets? Plus, I’m confident London, Bangkok or Cape Town sells over the counter pain meds – and they are probably weeee bit stronger too.

I tossed the three packets, roughly a ½ pound, of baby wipes and three bottles of antibacterial gel. I lived in Honduras for over a year without wipes and gel.  I used soap.  I made it out alive.   Plus, I have a fondness for germs.  They build the immune system.

I tossed eye make-up remover.  Sorry Helen! At this rate, I will never use it.  I tossed the clothes line, sink stopper, two pairs of scissors and mini-flat iron.  Big, humid, 80’s hair and stinky clothes ARE in… All in all, I purged almost 7 pounds of expert essentials.   I reflected on my purging from a spiritual perspective.  Why is it we carry so much unnecessary and unneeded baggage when we travel, or even in life.

I never answered the question because when I hit London there was an H&M shop – European style. PART-AY!  Bring on the VISA… I’ll be “voguing” and looking super hip in a matter of minutes….Out with the comfy, overly stretched jeans and in with the super-lycro, skinny jeans that will never, ever stretch out.  English invented the skinny jean… Hello PUNK!  Out with the granny, anti-bacterial, moisture wicking underwear and in with new and improved hankie pankies.  Out with the florescent lime green, water proof button down and in with the sexy wrap.  I love London! Time to buy another bag and make sure my health plan includes back surgery and muscle relaxers.  And, Becky, don’t worry, I did NOT throw out the condoms.