I haven’t posted in a while, but there has not been much happening to really write a blog post without it being too personal. I would like to keep at least the pre-departure posts as helpful as possible.
With that being said, this post is going to be dedicated to my first attempt to seeing how well my belongings will fit in my luggage. I did not pack everything that I needed, because I was content with what I actually was able to fit in my suitcase. I pride myself in being able to pack minimally and still be effective when travelling. I also wanted to take the advice from another packing list I saw to pack for three months, not two years. If any current PCV’s or RPCV’s are reading this, please send me your feedback!
For those unaware, Peace Corps will pay for two checked bags and a carry-on. Peace Corps has the following restrictions for what they will pay for:
The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.
Nautica Catamaran Wheeled Suitcase – Dimensions 24.5″ x 16.5″ x 8″
Nothing too special about this piece, but it gets the job done. Full of little mesh pockets inside to keep small items secure and belts to hold belongings tighter. Very light and it feels durable.
Osprey Farpoint Travel Pack- 40L
This pack is AWESOME. I can use it as a duffel bag and a backpack thanks to some clever engineering. This is perfect for my carry-on and to use on any weekend trips that I take.
All of this fit in the main compartment of my Nautica suitcase:
3 Pants (1 beige, 1 navy, 1 black)
5 Button Shirts
1 Belt (Flips brown and black)
1 Hat (Go Penguins)
1 Light Rain Coat
1 Running shorts
1 Athletic shirt
1 heavy underlayer (basically replaces a light jacket)
1 midlayer pants
1 Dress Shoes (black)
1 Teva sandals
1 Trail Running Shoes
2 Large Quick-Dry Towels
2 Small Quick-Dry Towels
10 Pairs of socks (mix of hiking, athletic, and dress socks)
1 Sawyer water filtration straw
Items intended to put in my carry-on:
1 External Hard Drive
1 GoPro Camera
1 Solar Panel w/ battery
1 Surge Protector/Power Converter
1 Portable charger
Rechargeable batteries w/ recharger
1 Toiletry bag (toothbrush, hair brush, deodorant, bars of soap, razor, trimmer, trimming scissors)
10 pens (bundled)
2 decks of cards (1 French, 1 Italian)
With whatever I would be wearing while traveling (I figured I’d wear my boots to conserve space), this is not a bad place to start. My suitcase weighed 27 pounds. Knowing that I am allowed to take two checked bags made me pressured to think that I actually needed to bring two checked bags worth of stuff, but this seems sufficient from looking at other packing lists. Also, if I am allowed a personal bag (In this case, I’d probably use my Camelbak), most of my electronics will just end up in there anyway. My phone has the Kindle app with many books downloaded already. I have the smaller pockets to add things to as well.
Items I am thinking of including:
Skillet, chef knife, can opener, spatula, and veggie peeler
I’m not sure about the quality of knives and other kitchen equipment available there, but I figure having essential kitchen supplies wouldn’t hurt.
This one is definitely going to happen. A souvenir for my host family is suggested, although I am not sure what exactly to buy. I don’t what to bring anything “touristy,” yet I still want it to be something authentic to America and can be useful. A friend of mine suggested maple syrup in a maple leaf bottle and maybe a puzzle for kids. Still need to think about this one, please suggest!
Photo Album or Framed Pictures
Reminders of home that I can share with people that I am living with. I think they would appreciate it, and I guess I’d enjoy looking at my friends and family…
I have the surge protector for home use, but having a portable one will help with any other travelling I do.
Some packing lists suggest this for if you are to go to a funeral or wedding in your host country. I’m still not yet sold on this one yet.
Extra toothbrushes and toothpaste and maybe other toiletries
Again, I am not sure about my access to certain things or their quality. I figured this would be smart to do. Peace Corps is supposed to provide health supplies through the Medical Officer and I saw floss on the list, but mysteriously not toothpaste or toothbrushes. Extra deodorant is the only other thing I think I would consider getting extra.
Not sure what I will be getting during training, but textbooks for teaching could be useful for me. I can download the Kindle versions, but I prefer regular books. I will probably just end up downloading them though.
This is my first attempt at packing for the next two years! I think it was a success for packing what I need with as little space as possible. Obviously, I will be able to buy things there, but this is a good start to make sure I am not frantically looking for things while I am in Ethiopia. Please comment and make suggestions!