Good evening beautiful souls! It is 7:20 p.m 10 January 2019 and the first week of the year has already passed! Amazing!
Where do you find yourselves in the world today? Are you currently in your home country? Are you just getting settled in in your new host country? Did you just move from one continent to another, like I had done almost two years ago or are you just getting ready to plan your big , exciting and international move?
Whatever your situation might be, all of them have one thing in common right? We need to pack! So many outfits and so little baggage allowance! So what do we do? What don’t we do? Anyone? Yes, you smiling, sparkling eager traveler,what should we pack? “Everythingggg!” NOOOOOOOOOOO! That would be a big no-no, I am afraid. AS much as we would looooove to pack all of our precious possessions including our stuffed toys that we got from our pre-school sweethearts, we JUST will not be able to take every little trinket with us.
Remember, this is a new adventure, new memories will be made along the way, new better,more international stuffed animals will be gifted to us as we travel around the globe, so we must make room for the new and let be what was.
Take it from me, I used to be a horrible, terrible, irresponsible, irrational packer when I first started ex-patting. Back then, I was still packing sentimentally instead of practically.
I wanted everyone and everything to be by my side, so that I would never feel homesick. I quickly had to release that. All I had to do was carry home in my heart and pack smart.
Now, I help other expats pack for home visits. I remember helping one of my Kenyan friends with all of her things back when I was still living in Dalian, China. She only had 2 or 3 suitcases but the whole of China to pack,and I showed her how to pack better,smarter and lighter. My baggage game is littt now!
So we have covered STEP ONE in our journey of transitioning from home living to international living.
In case you missed it you can catch up right over here: Stepping out of our comfort zones into the beautiful unknown.
Then, proceed with STEP TWO, which would be packing. Lets look at our helpful lil micro steps for STEP TWO of ex-patting like a pro… let’s gooooo!
- The most obvious but often overlooked micro step: Buy appropriate, sturdy, manageable suitcases beforehand. If you are out looking for a set, that is great. Make sure that this set includes at least two large sized suitcases and one carry – on. These would be enough for some clothes, shoes, toiletries and important documents such as your apostilled degrees and certificates and or any other essentials that would need to be checked-in and sent off to your final destination. What should be included are baggage locks, baggage tags to CLEARLY identify your luggage from others’. You can use a coloured ribbon, a cute luggage tag or even paint your name somewhere on the suitcase with some nail polish if you really want to be creative. The possibilities are endless. As long as you will be able to identify and find your suitcases after an 18 hour flight in a foreign airport, you are good to go.
- Make sure that you also buy a money pouch. One that you can wear under your clothes (if you are fearful of being pick pocketed) or one of those currency wallets that have different divisions for different currencies, so that you can safely carry enough cash with you. Both will work, I believe. I have always just used a money pouch under my clothes as well as some cash in my wallet for when I am in transit. IF this slipped your mind, no worries, they are available in most airports, sold in the kiosks near the food courts or departure gates.
- Now,the actual packing. Depending on what type of person you are wardrobe wise, you will have to make choices. SERIOUS choices. It’s all for the greater good, so no tears okay?!? Okay fine,cry,get it all out,because packing is an emotional task. You will cry. It’s cool. What you should do is pack practically. If you are going to Russia, you MUST pack for snowy – 30 degrees Celsius weather. Your swimsuit and short shorts will not help you. I know, they are your favourites and they look so good on you, but if its winter,we need to cover your precious physique with warmth and coziness okay. In contrast, if you are going to U.A.E, you might want to pack lighter. You catch the drift. IF it’s hot, pack summer wear. IF it’s cold, pack winter wear. IF both. Pack for both! Remember to pack any medications, toiletries, contraceptives etc. as well. With medications that are prescribed,ask your pharmacist of doctor to write a written permission as well as the dosage and amount, so that you can carry this with you in your suitcase. In the event that your suitcase gets pulled for a random search, the airport staff will see that you have a prescription for drug xyz for a period abc months. No stress,no nothing! Just glowing!
- This final micro step is crucial, take time to meditate on and marinade in this before you take this step. Ask yourself two questions, what am I leaving behind? What am I taking with me? Mentally, spiritually,intellectually and maybe culturally speaking. Nearly seven years ago, I was a newbie, a scaredy but bravey cat. I decided to pack my belief in myself and my abilities. I packed my respect for other cultures and religions while also packing parts of my culture. I packed my patience,even though I would only fully make use of it years later. I packed my curiosity and hunger. I left what I thought I knew behind me. I left many fears behind. I left sour, bitter and miserable shit behind and of course I left a piece of me in each one of my loved ones’ hearts. They might not have known it, but I took pieces of them with me, so that I would always be at home where ever I am. I have a blown up photo of my grandma( R.I.P) that I have hung by the door of my apartment. She is the queen and guardian of this house. She is also my biggest piece of home, so when you pack, make sure you pack more of the good and less of the bad, as space is limited.
With Love and Light
Make sure to share the beautiful and majestic experiences with those around you.