When traveling for either a weekend or a month, I've always been that girl who puts her whole closet in her suitcase just to have "options". After months of research from blogs, books, and friends advice, I've found that taking as little as possible is the way to go. Why? Because I'm gonna have to carry my belongings with me, on my back, EVERYWHERE. I've always had unnecessarily heavy luggage, so for my first backpacking adventure, "packing light" has proven to be a challenge. I mean really, who only packs a weeks worth of clothes for a trip of a lifetime?! But the challenge had to be accepted. Luckily for me, SouthEast Asia has one of the most tropical climates in the world, so packing for an endless summer shouldn't be too hard, right?
First order of business for any newbie backpacker is choosing and buying the backpack. I made sure to look for ones that were targeted for females and ending up buying a 50 liter Deuter backpack that came with its own little book bag. I just waited until that weird American pastime after Thanksgiving that is "Black Friday" to get the best deal possible. Definitely worked out well for me.
Next, was finding a stylish garment that's flexible enough to be worn in different ways. The internet gods pulled through and I found the glorious "Hipknotie". It's essentially a maxi skirt that can be worn as a top, dress, or skirt in 30 different styles with the help of a few unbreakable rubber bands. It gives me the "options" I need without the bulk. Winning.
Apparently, it's an unwritten rule for backpackers to throw out the old when you buy something new in order to keep a light pack. So next, was finding cheap, light clothing that I don't mind leaving behind. That's where Forever 21 came in to play. Yes it's true, I bought the rest of my light, linen filled wardrobe at Forever 21. I made sure to buy basic pieces that can all look well together or apart and I couldn't be happier with my selection so shoutout to Forever. Everything else was bought on Amazon, the best shopping website ever. All the essentials from power adapters with wifi to quick drying underwear were all in one place. With free shipping and great deals, Amazon has everything a traveler could need at their fingertips.
My bag has everything I need for the great beyond and doesn't weigh more than 30 pounds. Game, set, match.
On my trip to South America I made just about every mistake a traveler could make. The biggest of which was packing too much of the wrong kind of crap. But don't worry, I'm good at lesson learning. Backpackers have a saying, "he with the lightest pack, wins", so minimalism is key. I had to develop a particular level of indifference toward my appearance. Who cares that you've worn the same thing for 3 days if you're doing something awesome in it? I tried to find a balance in being stylish and not caring too much. I've got my nice Las Vegas "best night of my life" (winks at Soulo) pants, my Bonnaroo "color me with sharpies" shorts, and a few linen shirts. With Washington, DC being a muggy swamp town in the summer, I didn't have to go far outside my comfort zone to prepare for Thailand. Plus, I cant see myself in those traveler, cargo, khaki, rip-to-shorts pants that I saw on every blog I looked up anyway.
The next problem was with keeping things in order. If you know me, you know my short term memory is worth a little more than a penny with a hole in it. I'm embarrassed to say how many times I've left my stuff sitting around because I'd forgotten to put it back in its place. That's where these dope little packing cubes came in, they are my new short term memory implants. With my equipment taking priority, these cubes provide an order that allows me to keep track of all my odds and ends in a very "I can see them from down the block" kind of lime green fashion. Everything in its place, no child left behind, and Travis stays happy.
This time around, including my equipment and clothing, I could run around the world with my pack strapped on tight and not skip a beat.