It's now less than a month until Dan and I fly away for a year of travel. We're making a lot of progress towards getting ready, but probably not as much as we should be. I'm a pretty easy problem to solve - when I moved to the UK in the autumn of 2008, I brought two suitcases and a file box. In the year and a half since then, I've accumulated a bit of stuff, but it's pretty manageable. Dan, on the other hand, has decades and decades of things and, being a collector and a musician, he doesn't just have books and DVDs. We're talking typewriters, drum kits, musical equipment galore, a collection of antique video game consoles... There's been a lot of progress, but no matter how much we get rid of, store or sell, occasionally it still feels like we're buried under a mountain of things. We'll have to hold on to some of it until the very last minute because we can't really do without a bed, or kitchen utensils for the next four weeks.
On Saturday, we made a monumental decision about how much luggage we will take with us on the grand voyage. Initially, we were talking about one large suitcase on wheels each, plus an additional (and substantial) carry-on bag each. With each passing week, as we've lugged and cleaned and carted things around, I think we've both gotten a bit more realistic about how much of a pain a huge amount of heavy luggage would be. It would be fine to wheel around heavy bags through the streets of Canada and America, but when we started imagining the dusty rounds of the small Mexican town we're staying in, the inevitable long, squished bus rides of South East Asia or even the narrow, crowded streets of Tokyo, the lure of hauling around all that stuff began to look pretty unappealing.
So the decision - instead of carting around suitcases, we will each have an 80 liter backpack plus one manageable piece of carry-on luggage. To seal the deal, on Saturday we went to Covent Garden and I picked up an Osprey Women's backpack (on sale!) to compliment the one Dan already has (why can't these practical things be prettier?!).
One of my most important tasks over the next four weeks will be to decide what I am going to bring with me. Luckily, we are open to buying things as we travel when we need them so, when we get to Japan in October, we'll be picking up winter jackets and other bits and pieces as required as opposed to carrying them around for six months. Even so, editing our stuff down will be a gigantic challenge.
Over the last two years, I've gone from being a girl with a house full of stuff, to one who, in less than a month, will be able to fit most of her worldly belongings into an 80 liter space. Wow! Trading my all my frocks and shoes for the world - a pretty good bargain really.
If you had only an 80 liter pack, what would you take with you?
Snail image by Quacktaculous.