Whether you’re a reader or a blogger you’ll be aware of the many (probably hundreds) of packing list posts telling you how to pack everything from a camera to your underwear in all sorts of manners. They’ll tell you what to bring and what’s a waste of time and they will spend hours painfully photographing everything they are putting in the bag/case to help you know what you should be taking with you.
So here’s my list, the ultimate packing post to get you on the road for weeks or years at a time…
You buy a backpack.
You take some things from your wardrobe
Some things from your drawers
A few accessories & other random bits and bobs
With a dash of electricals
And you’re finished! Ta-da!!! That was easy wasn’t it?!
Unless you are visiting a specific place on your travels such as trekking up Everest or visiting Antartica etc then ultimately all the packing lists are useless. Why? Because we need to make our own mistakes in life. Yes, we can get an idea of what we might want to bring or keep at home but essentially it’s your decision. Some bloggers and guidebooks might be in the ‘Jeans??? Are you kidding me?!’ camp and others might tell you that it’s absolutely necessary to pack your favourite pair because they ‘go with everything’.
Other packing guides may say that if you’re going to Asia, unless your work is online, to keep the laptop at home because there are internet cafes everywhere which is true but I’ve got movies on mine so maybe I want to watch one of them in the dorm room one night when I don’t feel like going out? Some people think taking a paper journal is a waste of time given the prevalence of computers etc these days but despite my blog, I absolutely adore writing a paper journal when I’m on my travels so I’m definitely going to pack one.
The longer you travel and the more years you travel, the better you become at understanding yourself and your needs. Maybe you realise that no, jeans are not needed or that you haven’t bought a paper journal because photography is more your thing. Maybe you bought a pair of killer stilettos once you got to a Western country for a few months and you carry some nail polish with you because you like to feel girly?! Maybe you’re a guy that’s bought a suit for £30 in Vietnam even if you didn’t really need one at the time but ended up going to a interview and you nailed it because you felt so great in your suit?!
Do you see where I’m going with this? We all give advice but essentially it’s all worthless because making our own mistakes is the only way we learn in life. Maybe after a couple of years of travel the amount of clothes you have has doubled and you can’t fit it all in your bag anymore. Maybe you’ve ditched all your previous clothes and replaced them with yoga pants and hemp clothing. Maybe you’ve become a minimalist and you only own one pair of shoes? Who knows what will be happen in the future but it’s up to you and what you learn about yourself and your needs.
As I said, if you’re going to a place that needs specific items or certain clothing such as Iceland in the winter or camping through sub-Sahara Africa then yes, get some advice but again, despite all the advice in the world, you’re still going to make mistakes and look at certain things thinking ‘why the hell did I bring that’; likewise you’ll be wishing you brought other things with you that you know are packed in a box at home.
So here’s my advice for the ultimate packing list.
Pack anything you want!
Pack too much, too little, jeans or no jeans, journals or no journals, this is YOUR journey and things will happen along the way that will change your feelings about things and give you better insight than a guidebook or blogger could ever give you. If you need things along the way you can buy them or, if you have too much, you can offload things.
Either way, it’s your bag and you can put whatever you want in it!
So don’t panic, just pack!