I don't really consider myself high maintenance (I can feel your eyes rolling, Mr. W). But attempting to pack one large backpack for four months would be a daunting task for any average female. Seriously, one pair of jeans? It gives me minor panic attacks just thinking about it.
I am not accustomed to clothes shopping for functionality purposes. Dick's isn't where I usually go to update my wardrobe. So you can imagine my surprise when I found that they make pants that turn into shorts that turn into a sleeping bag and a parachute. Everything is multi-purpose-- quick-drying, waterproof, fire retardant, and reversible. And unfortunately, most leave much to be desired in terms of aesthetics. I've had to do my best to let my snobbery go, remember my purpose for this trip, and try to pack accordingly.
So ladies, prepare yourself for this...deep breaths...here's what I'm taking: ONE, yes, literally, one pair of jeans. A pair of cargo pants that can snap up into capris. A pair of actual capris, and a pair of shorts. 2 sundresses. Lots of tank tops, cause they can fold into 1" x 1" squares, a bathing suit, a sarong (that will also serve as a blanket or towel), 3 pair of socks, a zillion pair of underwear (the one thing I refuse to wear over and over) a light weight rain jacket, a hoodie, and 4 pairs of shoes--tennis shoes, 2 pair of flip-flops and one wedge sandal (my splurge).
Toiletry-wise, I'm bringing a little make-up, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, bug spray with deet (a necessity says Dr. Disease, can't get Malaria if you don't get bitten), advil, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc, etc. All in 3 oz. or less containers, otherwise I'll have to leave them at Port Columbus...because I'm not checking my bag.
Imagine, a 4 month trip with so little luggage that you can carry it on the plane. After wanting to hyperventilate into a paper bag, I do feel a slight bit of pride. I'm going to be wearing the same thing day after day after day...and you know what? I don't care. (Ok, I'm getting there at least...I almost don't care) This trip is not about my wardrobe or lack thereof. Plus, I learned the hard way from my last trip to Thailand, carrying all of your belongings on your back can get really heavy, especially if you are only 5'3" and your backpack is almost your size.
For those of you who have traveled extensively, I know this really isn't that big a deal--people do it all the time, right? But, this is a first for me and it's taken quite a bit of deep thought and consideration to figure out which articles of clothing make the final cut.
So, please think of me as you are walking through Nordstrom's shoe department and tell Anthropologie that I'll miss it dearly, but I will return in September to buy something that cannot hold up against a monsoon but looks really freakin' cute.