"And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home."
Wendell Berry

Friday, November 19, 2010

Round the World Packing List/Check List

With fewer than three weeks left until I take off for 13 countries in eight months on my round the world solo trip, I'm getting down to the nitty gritty. I just notified the bank, scheduled a final doctor's appointment, called H&R Block, and picked up my anti-malarials. I have my final pack list and all the items that need to fit inside my carry-on-sized backpack, so I feel like I could take off at any moment. Scary! Now I've just got to find time to finish ongoing jobs and spend as much time with friends and family as possible.

Here are my Packing and Before You Go odds and ends lists, if anyone is interested. Let me know if I'm missing anything, or if I should definitely leave something behind. Looking to shave off ounces wherever possible. (Note: will pick up heavier stuff for hiking Everest and Kilimanjaro along the way.)

Important Documents:
debit card
2 credit cards
10 extra passport photos (for visas)
copies of above and birth certificate
copies of e-tickets
travel insurance info
small amount of cash

2 long sleeved shirts
2 tee shirts
2 tank tops
1 button-up camp shirt
jeans (despite weight and slow-drying time)
hiking pants
1 dress
1 pair of shorts
hooded fleece
lightweight sweater
lightweight cardigan
Northface waterproof windbreaker
long underwear bottoms/leggings
bathing suit
7 pairs of wicking undies
regular bra, sports bra
1 pair of low cotton socks
2 pairs of hiking socks
pashmina scarf

Shoes: kick-arounds
hiking boots (Mom's Merrells)
flip flops

2 oz shampoo
2 oz conditioner
2 oz anti-frizz
body wash
face lotion/face sunscreen
extra contacts
contact solution
nail clippers
make up (mascara, eyeliner, tinted chapstick)
sample of perfume (a luxury, but is a pick-me-up sometimes)
ear plugs
bobbie pins, elastics

small pack of tissues
antibacterial gel
large quick dry towel
silk sleep sheet (pricy, but supposedly worth it)
neck pouch
Pacsafe portable safe
TSA approved combination lock
luggage tag
laundry soap/mini clothesline/universal sink plug
deck of cards
mini pot/tupperware/spork
steripen (to avoid pitching hundreds of plastic bottles)
fake wedding ring (as discouragement)
protective charm Dana gave me when she was 12
2 energy bars

Med kit:
6 Ibuprofin (pain, fever)
6 extra strength Tylenol (headache)
6 Benadryl (allergy)
6 Dayquil (cough, cold)
Cipro (traveler's diarrhea)
Malarone (anti-malarial)
anti-itch swab (after bite)
3 rehydration packets
band aids in various sizes
medical tape
moleskin (blisters)
steri strips
skin glue
duct tape
safety pins
mini sewing kit
rubber bands

netbook (+ charger, case)
ipod (+ charger)
digital camera (+ charger, extra battery, 16 GB SD card, 4 GB SD card, otter box)
phone (+ charger, SIM card)
Skype headphones
flash drive x2
universal adapter
watch with alarm

Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack (comes with rain cover)
Pacsafe laptop bag/daypack
Eagle Creek stuff sacks
ziplock gallon bags
ziplock quart bags
large trash bag
toiletry bag

moleskin notebook
moleskin info book
2 reading books
mini colored pencil set
talking items (pics of family/friends, MI/NYC postcards)

What I did before I left:
- Dentist/Doctor/Gyno check ups
- Immunizations for Cholera, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hep A/B (had already had Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tetanus/Diphtheria boosters)
- Gave my dad power of attorney so he could handle signing contracts, cashing checks, filing taxes, and monitoring my bank accounts/bills
- Made a folder for Dad to help with the task
- Made sure my passport would be up-to-date at least 6 months past my travel dates
- Notified banks and credit cards of my travel plans
- Had my phone service suspended
- Scanned important docs to save in an online vault
- Checked the travel advisory for countries I planned to visit
- Copied key information from guidebooks into moleskin info journal so I could carry less
- Set up an international phone service
- Got addresses of friends who wanted mail
- Set up a blog/flickr account/Skype
- Set up car/pet care
- Paid any bills in advance
- Set up auto-transfer of money from Savings to Checking each month, to stay on-budget
- Got travel insurance
- Confirmed flights
- Started eating small portions of meat (after being veggie for 10 years) to get my digestive system in shape should I have to/want to eat meat in local cuisine
- Got a HI (Hostels International) membership
- Set up parts of the trip that needed booking in advance (flight from Auckland to Christ Church, hiking Everest Base Camp, Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand...)
- Made a list of important phone numbers/addresses in case of emergency (US Embassies, Amex global assist, etc.)
- Read up on safety, scams, climate, culture, etc.
- Figured out a plan for continuing to work while traveling


  1. You go, girl! I really mean it. Go! I'll miss you. Post your travel destinations too.

  2. Oh, you already did. And now you have TWO comments. ;)

  3. Jill, I'm so excited for you (and slightly jealous)! I can't wait to read about all of your adventures. Take care of yourself. Hope we get to see each other again soon.

  4. You forgot something... a heart-shaped locket with a picture of me inside.

  5. Connie, I actually got your name engraved in my fake wedding band, so I think we're actually married now. Sorry, Matt.

    Also, I appreciate that you are 75% of my comments. Until now, at least.

  6. hi jill... great to hear that you're doing this. i'm sure your trip will surprise you in ways you can't imagine! if you haven't already heard of him, check out legendary world traveler rolf potts (http://www.rolfpotts.com/). among other things, he has traveled around the world with no luggage... that's right, NONE. amazing.

    missing anything: a bottle or two of nice essential oil (they're tiny) can be an amazing thing to have on hand. very hard to get abroad, and can also double as perfume, bug repellent, anti-fungal, and anti-septic. tea tree oil is a great utilitarian one (powerful antifungal, smells clean); citronella drives away bugs; ylang ylang is incredibly sexy and will draw admirers by the dozen, all over the world.

    also, bring a couple of pieces of your very favorite jewelry--i.e. your favorite pair of earrings and your favorite necklace. you only really need one of each. they will be your trademark and will make you feel beautiful every day.

    definitely leave something behind: about half of the clothes you plan to bring. you will be amazed at how little you need... or want. also, think about it this way: unwashed clothes get very funky, very fast, so you're probably going to be washing them frequently anyway, and if you're washing them, you probably won't need so many changes. also, you're going to find gorgeous and inexpensive clothes as you travel. only bring things you absolutely love and feel beautiful wearing. think of the clothes you bring as your new permanent costume. i always have this strange tendency to buy new (and 'different') travel-specific clothes. then when i'm actually on the trip i wonder, hey, am i really a cargo pants kind of girl? no. it's better to have 5 things you adore, and wear every day, than 10 things that aren't really representative of you. along these lines, jeans are a great idea. good call.

    however, before going to costa rica i did buy one of those "patagucci" travel-type dresses. washes easily and can dress up or down. i wore it obsessively.

    i would also recommend not bringing the bug spray. call me hard-core, but my experience is that after the first week or so, most people find they don't need it. also, it often doesn't really work.

    keep in mind that as tempting as it is to bring everything you need, it's usually better to err on the side of less, and pick things up as you need them. you will be able to buy most things in most places you go. to me, there is nothing more valuable than traveling light.

  7. on further consideration, a few other things i would leave behind:

    mini calculator. (your phone and computer should cover this base)

    by that logic, i would also leave the watch at home... but i'm annie. and i don't see any problem with not having a watch. others might not agree.

    duct tape. you can buy this if you need it and it adds weight/bulk.

    tylenol, benadryl, dayquil, and cough drops (again, in my opinion). you can acquire all of these, or other more exciting regional variants, when you need them, and you probably won't need them.

    wherever you go, you will meet other amazing people who will be able and eager to help you in ways you can't imagine. people will feed you, clothe you, and tend to your wounds. other travelers will share the things they brought along (as they try to jettison all the things they don't need) and locals will show you new and interesting ways to solve any problems that might come your way.

    go over your list and leave behind everything that a) you're unlikely to use and b) you can buy when you need it. bring instead the precious little rarities that you can't get anywhere but home. these will be your comfort along the journey... or the precious gifts you can share and leave behind with your new friends.

  8. Annie, I love you! Thanks for all of the great tips--exactly what I was looking for. Will definitely cut back on a lot of the clothing and other unnecessaries. I'd thought of washing regularly, but not about the fact that if it's in my bag, even clean stuff will likely stink anyway. I'm particularly identifying with that "cargo pants girl" comment. I've never worn khakis in my life, yet every packing list I've seen lists them. Off they go! Also, great tip about the essential oils.

    Lauren, I'm also incredibly impressed with your home undertaking and keep reading the blog. A Pacific Northwest move might actually be in my future, so you might be seeing me sooner than you think.

  9. One quick note about the duct tape: Cannot be bought anywhere abroad and super valuable for when shit rips! A good trick is instead of taking the roll, wrap a bunch around a hairbrush or something else you are for sure taking. Otherwise Annie's comments are prettty on.

    http://jauntsetter.com -- and whoa, check out their trip pick of the week this week!

    Great seeing you for dinner! Miss you kiss you!

  10. Thanks for the link and advice, Amy. Have a great year!

  11. "by that logic, i would also leave the watch at home... but i'm annie."

    I love you, Annie.

  12. Definitely leave copies of all of your important travel documents at home with your parents... just in case you lose something... also take a photocopy of your passport with you as well--keep it in a different pocket.

  13. Can not wait for you to start your trip so I can
    follow your blogs. You are amazing!
    Jeff's sister