Thoughts and Experiences

Packing is like Tetris

It rained all morning, which I guess is a good thing because I didn’t feel as bad about being cooped up in my room with last minute packing. It sounds like such a simple thing to do – put some clothes in a case, zip it up, and you’re good to go. However, packing is always an occasion for me; it is like real life Tetris to get the stuff you need and a bit of the wants inside a confined space within a weight limit – it really is the ultimate test of spatial reasoning. Nonetheless I have managed to place my blocks of clothes, shoes, and toiletries throughout the suitcase to yet again be within just a fraction away from the max weight limit.

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If there is any trick or magic rule for packing it is to focus on what you actually need. I will be heading to Athens, Greece in just a few hours and will be living there for the next three months – so I packed reasonably, including dress wear and some extra items (like my polaroid) to make the most of the experience. It is really easy to say to yourself though, “Oh, I am sure I will get some use out of this!” And 17 unworn shirts later your bag is 5kg heavier. So, my main advice would be to pack the basics. A pair of jeans, a couple of shirts, your favorite sweater. Then weigh your bag and fill the remainder with the miscellaneous things you find in your closet.

Khakis shorts, green/white/pink/blue tee, and sandals.

Khakis shorts, green/white/pink/blue tee, and sandals.

Another packing trick I use, that I highly recommend to anyone who travels for months at a time, is to bring your own shampoo/conditioner/soap! Yes, it takes up weight in your suitcase, but then on your return flight you don’t have to worry about being overweight in an airport where you have the decision to either pile on layers as if going into a snowstorm or leaving behind some clothes. You can also wear your heavier clothes on the plane to avoid this. For example I will wear my jean jacket and converse on the plane, which isn’t as comfy as a hoodie and flip flops, but also weighs a bit more. Plus I’d rather carry a one jacket through an airport than two or three sweaters. I guess it is kind of like the question “Would you rather have to carry 1 ton of feathers or 1 ton or lead?”

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One final piece of advice, do a bit of research into where you are going to. See what their population is, their biggest imports/exports, look at the big travel recommendations and then talk to some locals about their favorite spots in the city. Here are some links about Athens: tourism, locations, history.

Now it is reaching the final hours before I head off to the airport to go to the origins of democracy and Greek mythology. My excitement is almost overwhelming, so I will post as soon as I have gotten a chance to explore a bit and find a source of wifi.

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