Okay, let’s be honest here. We’ve heard the screams or semi-pleasant whispers of, “less is more,” and I KNOW that you probably claim to believe it, to the hilt, every day of your life. EXCEPT for when it’s time to pack for a series of semi-short trips smooshed into a big, long trip. This applies particularly when you know you will be staying in a foreign place for more than a couple of months– you want little mementos of home: a photo,  some jewelry, 3 cameras and their accessories (in my case), 17 mismatched sparkly and/or poppin’ 80’s inspired dresses that you may or may not wear… you get my point. In my case, during travel, I chose roughly 6 outfits to wear throughout the trip minus special occasions, for which I kept my most extreme items of clothing on call.

See? Don’t be fooled: your clothing is not the only thing that describes “you”– more often than not simply wearing various pieces of light (lb wise) jewelry can make EVERYTHING better and easier on not only you, but… well, yeah, just you.

The Life.

As you can tell from the next photo, my previous living arrangement gave me the opportunity to choose from my entire closet as if I reverted back to the days of being 5 and caring more about each piece than the outfit at the whole (which, I must say, I dream of; even today):

Frames Not Required

Frames Not Required

4 pairs of shorts, 7 or 8 t shirts, a couple of nicer tops, and jewelry/accessories of various types made up my bag. And a bra. And a swimsuit. Oh, not to mention a photo of my mother and I from 20 years ago, some incense that reminded me of home, and a small box to keep personal/random things in.

Trinkets used to combine my old life and my new one throughout my travels.

Trinkets used to combine my old life and my new one throughout my travels.

I know it’s difficult to part with your things, but let me just say that when you’re going through to pack for ANY trip, ask yourself, “could I live without this?”– additionally considering weather, the amount of times you’ll REALISTICALLY live with wearing it between washes, the amount of space it takes up in your bag, and if it would work well with more than at least 3 other items you are bringing.

And YES, I understand that toiletries and make up are necessary but for the love of all things sacred, cut it down to one bag. We all know your toothbrush shouldn’t take up more space than a genuine wooden pencil ( http://www.beau-coup.com/prod/1652/classic-mini-wood-pencil-favors.jpg ) and if it does? Well, that’s a whole other issue. Aside from medication there is no mystery product you can find at home that you can’t find somewhere else*. And if you don’t find it somewhere else, perhaps it’s not as necessary as you thought. Learning is a part of travel, right? Right? Additionally, if you must bring peanut butter from home, please do so in limited amounts. When you get back to wherever you originally came from you might even find yourself saying, “damn, I didn’t even eat it and I was so worried about it squishing out all over my stuff the entire time.” Save yourself the energy.

Let’s discuss shoes. Now I will ASSUME you want to do the opposite of this, but bring ONE pair of heels. Seriously. One. Okay, so I brought more than 3 on a journey lasting a little over 2 months and regretted it once I realized I could have a) bought a pair in one of the places I was visiting that just so happened to be appropriate to the rest of my outfits and b) afforded new shoes (once the chiropractor bills rolled in).  If I could have it my way I would have bought 4 pair of those vans-looking lace-up shoes in multiple colors (at 5Eruo a pop), a pair of boots, my gold shoes (for when I’m feelin’ down), a pair of heels (reasonably sassy Jeffery Campbell saddle shoe heels), pale yellow brushed-suede flats for times when I needed to be an adult,  and a lot of crazy socks to make an outfit work for me when I didn’t feel like it. I got most of those down, but the four sets of knock-off Keds still escapes me.

I wasn't the only one who found the 5Euro Superdeal.

I wasn’t the only one who found the 5Euro Super-deal.

Bottom Line: Carrying too many unnecessary items will make not only your back hurt, but your head hurt. Packing and re-packing is not what you need to be spending your time doing. That said, I should drink a spoon full of my own medicine before my next journey.

*If traveling to a country lacking running water, or stores of some type, you should really look into bringing your own deodorant and possibly toilet paper (if you’re into that sort of thing).