Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Packing Post

It's the moment you've all been waiting for. Who cares about all the lessons I'm learning about intercultural sensitivity and the effects of globalization? You want to know what I packed in order to manage a small, backpack-style carryon for 93 days across 13 countries (of course I'm counting two layovers) and a temperature disparity of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here it is:

Let's Begin With Bottoms

Black skinny jeans
Rating 4/5
Pros: versatile—go with everything in the suitcase, on-trend-enough-ish and comfortable
Cons: still bleeding onto light-colored fabrics and my skin despite multiple washes; a little too much stretch—these babies grow and grow until completely slopped out and baggy

Slate-grey fold-over waistband "yoga" capris
Rating 4/5
Pros: great pjs that aren't too immodest to grab hostel-breakfast in
Cons: not particularly compact and minimally versatile (exercise and sleeping only, thanks)

Heather-grey mid-calf leggings
Rating 4/5
Pros: pack down tiny; great extra layer under dresses or skirts for extra modesty or chafe-protection; double as pj bottoms
Cons: well, they're grey, cropped leggings...

Black running skort
Rating 4/5
Pros: my favorite for the handful of beach runs that occured; doubled as pj bottoms and extra swimsuit modesty (hello, Maldives)
Cons: none of note

Dresses and Skirts

Dusty pink, poly-blend "party dress"
Rating 2/5
Pros: incredibly compact; great "just-in-case" insurance
Cons: never wore it, but it's not over yet

Black and white striped shirt dress
Rating 5/5
Pros: crazy versatile—matches everything, adds extra warmth when needed, great pj dress
Cons: nothing of note

Printed maxi skirt (fashioned from smocked-top dress)
Rating 4/5

Pros: versatile as a swimsuit coverup and extra modesty in the hotter countries; disposable (packed with intention to throw out)
Cons: frankly, I always felt like a frumpy hippy in it, despite compliments

Black crepe jersey dress
Rating: 5/5
Pros: versatile, comfortable, de-wrinkled in an hour
Cons: none of note


I'm happy to report that all of my tops get a 5/5 for versatility, comfort and layering properties:
  • Black v-neck tee
  • Grey v-neck tee 
  • Black, fitted, extra-long camisole 
  • Dark-grey tank 
  • White, loose-fitting rayon blouse 
  • Light-blue, long-sleeved denim/Oxford shirt 
  • Grey oversized cardigan 
  • Cream cardigan 


Timberland boots
Rating: 5/5
Pros: comfortable, pack down fairly small, versatile, make me feel super tough like when riding a camel and stuff
Cons: could've used a little more breaking in before walking eight miles that one day...ooosh

Brown leather stacked-heel booties
Rating 3/5
Pros: comfortable for heels, look great with everything
Cons: only two occasions led to style winning over comfort and the choice to wear these

Minimalist running shoes
Rating 4/5
Pros: pack down tiny, just as great for hiking as boots
Cons: these minimals were only minimally worn, especially as my only runs we're barefoot on the beach

Black Marnie crocs
Rating 5/5

Pros: comfortable, washable, versatile
Cons: none of note

Outerwear and Misc.

Black fitted Columbia zip-up
Rating 3.5/5Pros: warm enough, packs down small, layer-able
Cons: I hate hate hate clothes with visible labels

Black nylon trench
3.5/5Pros: packed down tiny, cute, decent wind protection when worn over the Columbia one
Cons: not as warm as I was hoping

Mustard-yellow scarf
Rating 5/5
Great piece to add color to all the black and grey

White knit hat
Rating 4/5

Grey, smartphone-friendly gloves
Rating 5/5
Pros: so nice to keep gloves on while fishing for maps on my phone
Cons: none of note, but they're not the warmest

Three of pairs smart-wool socks
Rating: 5/5

Nothing bad to say about these: they're warm and dry quickly when sink-washed in the guesthouse

Ribbed grey thigh-high socks fashioned from ill-fitting tights
Rating: 5/5
Great extra layer here and there...

Skinny maroon leather and studded black belts...
Rating ?/5Hmmm...I can't remember if either of these were ever worn...

Vintage square scarf
Rating: 5/5
This worked for extra neck warmth and also served as a hair-band, sweat rag and sneezing/coughing hanky.

Not Pictured

  • 2 sports bras, 3 underwire bras and 1 of those lying, crappy "genie bras" (none pictured cuz I'm a lady)
  • 7 pairs of synthetic-fabric underpants (size xxsmall of course, not pictured because I'm a lady) 
  • 1 pair of (disappointing) reversible (slate grey/black) thick, opaque tights (RIP) 
  • 1 black, mid-length full slip 
  • 1 black tank swimsuit (it's hanging to dry) 
  • 1 swim skirt (cuz I highly value hiding my body modesty) 
  • 1 large towel 
  • At least three or four pairs of silly/Alladin-y pants purchased and worn extensively in Sri Lanka and India as well as a tunic (RIP) 

Well, there it is. Admittedly, I also brought along two gallon bags full of toiletries and miscellaneous gadgets like vitamins and chargers. I swear these two bags take up more room than all my clothes combined. And now here is a sampling of me not looking completely awful while wearing the same clothes for 93 days as well as a bit of an homage to pants bought in India.
Shoes and coats removed for jumping purposes. These India pants are the love of my life.
Hard meets soft plus a sweat rag for motorbike day in Hampi.
Wearing MOST of my clothes in Ooty, India.
Black probably wasn't the best choice for Maldives heat but I blended in a little better with all 
the burkas???
RIP, pants.
What you wear to ride a camel, obviously. 


  1. THANK YOU Summer!!!

    I am the girl who emailed you about this. I pack today, leave tomorrow. I'm rethinking my choice of bringing ankle boots w/heels - possibly might need to stop at REI for some sturdier shoes!

    (I am going to Spain, Germany and London, but I really want to go to India just to get those pants.)

    This post was extremely helpful. Thank you for being one of the funniest travel bloggers, ever.

  2. E- I'm so sorry it took me so long to get this up! I don't know why I thought you weren't leaving for a while. I'm so glad it was helpful and I hope your have a terrific journey and look great.

  3. Very interesting. I hate packing. I can't even pick out my clothes the night before.... And I'm amazed at all the things you wear as pjs!! Thanks.

  4. Good thing you didn't have to pack for Edie as well! That would be a whole other packing post!
    - Edie's Personal Assistant

  5. When she says RIP, she really means RIP as in totally ripped. For no apparent reason. The tights and the silly pants.

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