How to pack when you love all of the things.

Head in hand, I dream about a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down and pointing at the mess commanding it to clean itself up. Reality wakes me and I find myself deep in the rabbit hole of packing boxes. Instead of organizing, labeling, and packing, I ponder the forts that could be built from the cardboard. Sitting here, I realize my life is far from a Mary Poppins dream.
Some people are free of things, they can visit a city and not collect their ticket stubs. “Things” have no possession over them. “Things” are not missed or cried over. You will not find a box of cool stickers or birthday cards since they were five years old under their bed, but under mine, you will find not one, but three boxes. Yes, I love things. I would not call myself materialistic, but sentimental. I was that child who collected every ticket stub and every pamphlet believing that those cheap paper bits were a piece of that memory of that museum or that film. However, that is all in the past now and I have grown to only collect concert tickets and pamphlets of places far far away. That makes it better, right?

Recently I was reminded of this curse while packing to depart New Zealand. I sat on the cold wood floor of my British friend’s house, amongst all of my belongings in a daze of how all of it once fit into my one backpack. It was then that I found one pocket was full of about a pound of pamphlets and tickets. The girls of the house immediately reacted saying, “Liz, you’re one of those?! You don’t need all of those pamphlets!!”. I smiled and agreed, but in my head I was screaming, “Yes I do!!! All will be lost if I abandon these!”. So, I compromised with my crazy self and my sensible self and I shipped the pamphlets home.
So, here I sit once again, amongst all my things with five days to sort it and pack my life into one backpack. I have read many of the blogs that give gear reviews along with packing techniques and they are extremely helpful. Yet, I still find my clutter drowning my studio apartment and my backpack packing skills undesirable. Although my pack seems like a crazed monster at times, I still make it out okay. Yes, I procrastinate and my bag is a tad unorganized, but regardless, I find my way into life with one bag. So, what are a crazed, twenty-something, thing collector’s essentials?? Here we go.

  • Eagle Creek Packing cubes.
    • I was hesitant to purchase the cubes initially, but within the first night of travel I was very grateful that I had. When you are moving from place to place and only staying for a night, you still need to go through your pack and get items you need. If you are organized like I am, your bag of crap explodes and your small dorm room is now flooded with your belongings. This is not the way to make friends in hostels. So, with the help of these packing cubes, they enable you to know which cube has what and pull out only the essentials.. drawers in a backpack!
  • Ziplock Baggies.
    • For all of those itty bitty things like undies and bikinis.. no point in spending that wad of cash on a packing cube for items in the itty bitty category.
  • Reusable soap containers.
    • Bronners Bronners Bronners. And when you get half way through the bottle add water and you’ve got yourself a full bottle of soap again!
  • Headlamp.
    • I used my headlamp every single day. You don’t have to be camping to find use for a headlamp.. or a head torch as some may call it. Reading before bed or finding clothes in the wee small hours of the morning to not wake your roommates.. Headlamps are a top essential.
  • Toothbrush Cap.
    • I don’t think I need to explain how important this can be.. especially when you’re living in the sea and on the beach. Sand everywhere!!!
  • Reusable Water Bottle.
    • Unless you want to waste plastic and money… bring your water bottle!
  • Journal.
    • So you can write and remember:)
  • Yoga mat.
    • For good health and stability.. yes it is  a burden, but it is a price I am willing to take.
  • Essential Oils.
    • You can find amazing essential oils in New Zealand, but I always bring a little bit of lavender to get me started. It is a smell from home that relaxes me.
  • Book.
    • They are heavy, but once you’re done reading one leave it in a hostel for the next drifter.
  • Camera.
    • Pictures to share, but don’t forget to try to enjoy life outside of the lens.
  • Sleeping Bag.
    • For warmth and comfort when you are not in a hostel bed.
  • Clothes.
    • I won’t go into this section because it is utter chaos for me. Just focus on not bringing too much and limit yourself to 2 pairs of shoes!!!
  • Sentimental things.
    • For me, it is precious stones and a couple of cards. For you, it may be a shirt or a bracelet. Bringing sentimental items is not a waste of space, you will have lonely nights and these are the things you will find comfort in.
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