The Illustrated Guide To Packing

Because photos are cliché and lists are boring.

Imagine me, running around the house like a headless chicken. My room looks like my wardrobe just exploded with clothes scattered everywhere. There’s two cardboard boxes labeled ‘things to keep’ and a garbage bag filled with ‘junk to throw away’. My backpack is almost full but there is still so much stuff left.

How on earth is it all gonna fit in my modest 55l backpack and a carry-on?

Illustrated Packing List
What goes into the backpack

I’ve mastered the art of travelling light for years. Not kidding, my backpack has never been heavier than 12kg. But that was for trips. Moving to another continent and to stay in one place for a while is…different.

Sure when I travel I don’t take a pillowcase because I don’t care about dirty pillows or just cover them with a towel. But to do that for at least eight months? Meh.
When properly on the road I really don’t care about nail polish, one of my guilty pleasures, but now I take four bottles in funky colors with me, so that I can paint my nails when I feel like it. Same for the party dress. I really like to dress up every once in a while and I wear dresses most of the time and although they’re far from practical, I still take them with me. It is also nice to have slightly more formal clothing for whenever.

I even thought about bringing a coffee maker because there’s no such thing as decent affordable coffee on the island, but then there’s no place to buy decently grounded coffee either, so that’s a no go.

Not very minimalist, I know. But it’s still pretty awesome that I am moving to another country with just a modest backpack and a carry-on. And not to mention: that includes my very bulky dive gear (a BCD, regs, fins, random stuff). Fellow divers know what weight and size I’m talking about. So I actually AM doing a very good job, minimalist wise. Especially when you remember that from now on I have to cut my own bangs with a nailclipper (there’s no hairdresser on the island) because I don’t feel like bringing scissors.

In the last five months I sold, gave or threw away about 70% of my possessions. What remains are most of my books (but they’re for sale), some precious clothes, some art, my old diaries, my running shoes (unfortunately they don’t fit in my backpack, but there’s no roads to run on on the island anyway). My pair of green Dr. Marten shoes that I bought when I was 13. I don’t really wear them but can’t throw them away.

So here is what I do bring. And a lot more small stuff that’s not included in the picture (like nail polish, condoms, shoes, the jeans I am wearing, the pens and pencils…you name it).

Am I forgetting something?

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