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.

11 Responses to “Packing for a Seven Month Journey.”

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  2. Kate 15/08/2010 at 7:10 pm #

    Oh my goodness, Amanda! You have a book and movie ahead of you! Your descriptions of your travels are not only hysterical, they truly give us a real insight into what the people, cultures, surroundings, politics, oddities are!!! I absoultely LOVE reading it! It made my Sunday! :) Yes, you love your hygiene, facial, toiletry items, and various shades of “dipsticks”….how could you not be that way with a southern Mom who constantly reminded you to take care of your skin and hair and put on some “color” (very drawn out “color”) on your cheeks and lips before you walk out that door! But, you are definitely a low maintenance, go with the flo traveler! I so wish I was with you! Enjoy every minute of your pure, not unadulterated FREEDOM for me!!!! I am dreamin’ about it and so happy for you! And please keep up the long posts—they truly are a treat and you have already blown that Eat, Pray, Love lady out of the water, honey! Go Tall Girl! Miss you! xoxoxo Kate

    • A Day 20/08/2010 at 4:11 pm #

      I miss you Kooker! So channeling you — if you only knew. Especially when I was throwing out all those damn products. You would have thought Europe backpacking would have knocked sense into the brain. I’m in Poland now listening to people play the bongo drums and sing Polish songs outside my window. I wish you were here! Miss you TONS!

  3. MaryStuart (shorter sister) 11/08/2010 at 11:18 am #

    Nice acronyms…thanks for all the abbreviations. My acronyms got that suite case packed and zipped for your travels. How was I to know you could not get it back together? I told you not to open it, unless you really needed something. Thank you for making me laugh, as always!! So darn funny! Love you and miss you, sister! MSDV

  4. Becky 10/08/2010 at 9:43 am #

    The point of the condoms are not to carry them around the world with you the point is to . . . well you are an adult you know what the point is.

  5. Yasmin 09/08/2010 at 7:33 pm #

    LOL, I’m hysterical while reading this!

  6. Kathleen Neary 08/08/2010 at 11:40 pm #

    All I can say is your humor and wit has just gotten more seasoned over the years!! I’ve never followed a blog in my life and I’ll be looking forward to traking with you this next 7 months… They will be making a movie next of “Not your Typical Day with the Tall Girl that’s single, sexy and sashaying around the world!” (Ahhh… I can say I knew her when…)PS- so with you on the packing… to go from Paris (where Nat and all the girls I traveled with brought the biggest suitcase they owned decked with sex and the city out fits…not for each day but each moment of the trip…) and I had my 22″ cary on that had to go on to a mission trip in Uganda for a couple of weeks followed by a Safari in Kenya…let’s just say I strugled. If I had known your sisters talents, I would have flown her out to LA for some help! I’m pround of you girl and the courage it takes to TAKE ON an adventure like this. You inspire. love and kisses- kath

  7. Daphne 07/08/2010 at 5:32 pm #

    Love the entries – am I missing something – why does it go from 1 to 3 at the top in blue with the date? At least there is one picture of your face!! You and Kevin look like a nice couple – want a guiness? Update on Chicha – while I was rubbing that
    f%*ing cat, I was thinking to myself, I really should just take Chicha home with me. Just as the thought entered my head, that cat clawed and bit me!!! Those thoughts will never enter my mind again!!!!! She is fine! Don’t worry I haven’t put her in the microwave yet! Keep the postings coming and take a few pictures of your face – we want to see you without all of those products!!! Love and miss you!

  8. Darcy 06/08/2010 at 10:32 am #

    Hola A day!
    This is great stuff! I am reading it and laughing out loud!! awesome! awesome! awesome! I am super jealous too! the gifting of the items especially made me laugh after many overpacked euro trips. I always think I have the perfect mix of things – and then realize I overpacked like a loon!

    Have fun! Be safe & thank you for keeping us all informed and entertained! xoxo Darc’

  9. Paige 03/08/2010 at 3:38 pm #

    love the new shoe…from H&M? You didn’t really have all of that stuff in your bag, did you?!!! Is that creative writing or for real? Either way, it is great fun reading your blog, and I will look forward to each new one. Earlier today, I was tellling Kate about where you are and urging her to read your blog. We will all be talking about you and what you are doing….I think it is awesome!! You go, goddess….can’t wait for the next installment! L, Paige

    • A Day 04/08/2010 at 4:49 am #

      Love your message! And, tell Kooker Kate she better read my blog. I tried to find her on skype… does she even have skype?? I’m heading to heathrow now in search of MIDDLE EASTERN AIRLINES to shuttle me to BEIRUT. Now, the real traveling begins… Yes,i packed all that shit. Ask Kate about me and my products in Europe — you would think i would learn??? they are H&M shoes. Heart H&M…

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