Have you ever put something down and not even remembered touching it?
That happens to me a lot, I instinctively move something or put it away, but don’t even realize I’m doing it. This means sunglasses and random objects are usually not always where I think they should be or for Danny where he thinks they should be.
On the road I was always worried about losing things. Mostly our passports and cash, but also just little things like our laundry line and sunscreen. Ridiculous, I know. Surely every market had twine, but it wouldn’t have the cool little clips and small neoprene pouch that our fancy shmancy seatosummit one had. We might be able to find sunscreen, but it wouldn’t be the waterproof 30SPF oil free kind from home that we love.
Somewhere along the road of selling it, quitting it and giving it away I got very protective over those precious few items in my backpack.
So we developed a stuff survival system. DEFT- Drying, electronics, food, toiletries- the things that would most likely be left behind. We double checked as we left the room. “Honey did you pack____?” I’d say. Things were tightly put away in pouches, our backpacks fit together like puzzles, everything only fit one way which made it a lot easier to know when something was missing. But not everything.
Somethings were lost along the way.
Actually quite a few things, especially as time went on. Towards the end of the trip we stopped paying so much attention to our stuff, perhaps because we knew the end was in sight. From a rather expensive rain jacket in China to yes, a laundry line left hanging at a campground in Africa, many of those precious few items were left along the way. And you know what, at the time, we missed them. We had truly packed down to our essentials, there was hardly anything in that pack I didn’t use on a daily or weekly basis. But losing them didn’t ruin our trip. (Although I think Danny would disagree about his raincoat!)
The stuff I was trying to protect really didn’t matter. It made us more comfortable, but when I couldn’t buy contact solution (for the record ONLY Ethiopia) I just did without. In the end we both came home with packs smaller than when we left. Not because we lost so many things, but because we realized we could do more or the same with less. We let our stuff go and you know what, it was rather empowering.
Packing for a big trip? Check out our youtube video on packing a backpack!