Follow up: I must pack light… very light.

packlightI began this adventure with a mission – pack light. It made everything easier: less weight to carry, less to worry about if my backpack gets stolen, less attractive to thieves, easier to keep track of everything, easier to lift onto the top bunk. However, packing light is easier said than done.

Check out my original packing list to see what I brought on a four-month trip. Now that I’m back, this is what I would have changed:

I should have brought…

  • a long sleeved shirt
    In conservative areas I felt more comfortable when I was covered up. I brought a jacket, but it didn’t breathe in the humidity. A light long-sleeved shirt was perfect.
  • a lighter
    Lighters are great for seeing down dark alleys, getting leeches off you, cutting extra strings off clothing, etc.
  • Tiger Balm
    This was the only product that soothed my bug bites enough for me to forget about them for an hour or two. An ice cube followed by some Tiger Balm = bliss.
  • more Q-Tips
    I tried my hardest to find Q-Tip brand cotton swabs abroad and failed miserably. I’m particular about my cotton swabs, so if you are too, stock up before you leave!

I shouldn’t have brought…

  • reusable water bottle
    It was very difficult to find safe drinking water for refilling in Asia. Unfortunately, bottled water is the safest option and it is readily available everywhere. I ended up shipping my bottle back because it was under-utilized and took up valuable space.
  • water purification tablets
    I brought these in case I got in a water pinch but never needed to use them.
  • cell phone
    I had intended to use this to make local phone calls. I was able to meet all my needs with my smart phone instead.

I’m SO glad I brought…

  • sarong
    I absolutely LOVED my sarong. Read my dedication post >
  • sleep sheet
    Whenever I wasn’t 100% certain about the cleanliness of my bed, I busted out my silk sleep sheet. It covered my pillow and was the perfect cocoon to slip into. I knew it was clean and it kept me cool during hot nights.
  • argon oil
    I felt like a bit of a princess when I packed a fancy hair product, but I’m glad I did. Ocean water, sun exposure and wind really damaged my hair. When I started using my argon oil again it looked and felt much healthier again.
  • face moisturizer
    I also felt silly bringing face moisturizer. But, when I got out of the shower and still didn’t feel totally clean, the scent of my face moisturizer brought me to a clean state of mind. Little “luxuries” from home can really make a difference.
  • hand sanitizer
    In some areas, you’re lucky to get a sink in the bathroom. When you do get a sink, you’re even luckier if there is soap available. Stay healthy, bring hand sanitizer.
  • watch
    Whether you’re catching a train or meeting a travel buddy for dinner, you always need to know what time it is. In many situations, busting out a smart phone to check the time is not the best move (clear display of wealth in a poor country). Much easier to glace at your wrist.

In the end, you don’t need nearly as much as you think. Packing light is the way to go!

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