About our back packs

(This article is part of a series called:  Checking in at 6 months.)

If you followed our story before we began our travels (Getting Ready), you know that we went through a rather painful downsizing exercise where we went from a 3200 square foot house, to carrying all our worldly goods for our 2 year trip in 65L back packs and a day pack each. (The rest of our stuff is crammed into a storage unit.)

I blatantly defied the recommendations of well-seasoned travellers to pack light and followed my own instinct as to what I thought I needed for the trip.  My back pack is filled to capacity and weighs just under 20Kg.   My day pack weighs in at about 5 kg. I am perfectly fine with the size and weight of my pack, yet I cringe when others make negative comments about all the stuff I am carrying with me.

Now that we’ve travelled for six months, it’s time to do an honest assessment of my pack and its contents.  I think I did really well, all things considered.  I have worn or used everything in my pack with the exception of one item (a special rain coat that fits over your back pack – a clever idea, but it hasn’t rained enough to justify carrying it).  I have had appropriate clothing and footwear for all weather conditions (from the steamy, hot jungle of Ecuador to the sub-zero temperatures in Patagonia), and for all situations (such as trekking and camping in the wilderness, running, and  sightseeing in world class cities), although coming up with an outfit for dinner at the Captain’s table on our Antarctica cruise did require a certain amount of imagination on my part (come on, yoga pants sort of look like black dress pants, don’t they?).

I have quite enjoyed having a limited wardrobe to choose from.  No need to wonder what to wear each day.  Depending on the weather and the activity, I usually have one outfit that fits the bill.  Problem solved.  I have no jewellery, no accessories – that’s right, no handbags (other than my plain, black travel purse) – no makeup or blow dryer either.  It’s been all about the necessities and it has suited me just fine. I’m not even tired of my clothes yet, although some of them are starting to look a little tired and may soon be due for replacement (perhaps a reason to shop in Italy!).

I have only purchased a few items along the way (wool hat, scarf and long sleeve sweater), all necessities and well used in the cooler weather. I did let go of my travel pillow after camping in Patagonia; it really wasn’t necessary and it consumed a fair bit of space.  We have ordered high tech sleeping bags and sleeping mats in anticipation of some longer treks that are coming up so I will need to make room for these, still to be figured out.

For the next six months, I will continue to carry my large, heavy pack and hopefully, just as I have developed a strong back to carry my gear, I will develop thicker skin to cope with the sometimes stinging remarks about all the crap I have.  [read more]


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