Travel packlists… where to begin?
The travel packlist. A bone of much contention for travellers and the focus of much careful thought and planning for budding backpackers everywhere. Before leaving home, we searched through plenty of exemplary packlists and engaged in lots of lively discussion about what we should and shouldn’t bring. (I favour the pack light, buy more model, while Mr Practicality is all about a wardrobe of smart-clothing and as much tech as he can carry.)
The truth is, there isn’t one definitive travel packlist that will prepare you for any situation you might encounter. There are just travellers, and their stuff. But, as we’ve discovered through meeting people along our way, this is a fascinating topic.
Join us, as we go, through the rucksack…
This is the first post in our series of What’s in the bag? Think of this as a Through the Keyhole for backpacks! We’ll rummage around traveller’s gear and discover what makes them tick. Plus, we ask them a series of tough questions to find out what really matters the most to them and their best tips for those soon to hit the road.
Our first volunteer was the lovely Sarah from the US. We met her during our stay at Fungi Academy, an awesome community project in the hills of San Marcos overlooking Lake Atitlan. You can check out their blog here.
Sarah is a bubble of infectious energy and a seasoned traveller. She is a fantastic cook, and also treated us to tantric yoga sessions, cacao ceremonies and ukulele seranades during our stay. Based in California, Sarah is currently travelling around South and Central America and has recently completed yoga teacher training in Ecuador. She loves all things spiritual, but also has a wicked sense of humour. As she freely admits, the contents of her bag aren’t all about practicality and there are sacks of personality thrown in. Conversely, her rucksack also contains everything she could possibly need on the road and more.
Vital backpacker statistics
Occupation: Yoga teacher/ bartender
Country of origin: US
Time travelling so far: 6 months
Overall travel time: 9 months
Backpack: Osprey Farpoint 55L, $180 dollars
So, what’s in the bag?
Clothes: 2 pairs yoga pants, 2 shorts, 1 romper, 3 bikinis, 3 tshirts/tops, 1 dress, 5 socks, 15 pairs of underwear (I don’t like doing laundry too often!), cherry red Doc Marten boots – my only shoes, 2 ponchos, 1 sweater, a giant squid hat, 3 rainbow sarongs, rainbow headband, sunglasses
Tech: My Android phone (Apple sucks), Boom Swimmer waterproof speaker ($30 and it survived the rainforest), headphones
Toiletries: Seatosummit toiletry bag, Dr Bronner soap for everything – it’s amazing, Tiger’s blood (antiseptic tree sap and bandaid – my first aid kit), toothbrush and toothpaste
Extras: Lots of tea! Colourful string, an insulated bottle for cold or hot water which is essential in different climates, palosanto – a type of incense wood I use for cleaning the space for ceremonies or yoga, essential oils, Barry my ukulele, a Shaman protector sphere, my kazoo, a library of poetry books, mini llama keyring, my yoga mat, and cutlery.
I also have a giant roll of natural tobacco which can be used as a form of currency for indigenous people all over this part of the world. It’s really useful for bartering or exchanging.
The road test
The thing you’d ditch if you had to: Ukulele. I have a love and hate relationship with my uke. It’s really heavy and cumbersome but I know that if I got rid of it I’d miss it straight away. Music is such a universal language to communicate when you don’t speak the same language. I’ve also played in random places, like getting invited to perform in a village show after playing for my host family.)
The thing you’d save from a burning hostel: My favourite Ecuadorian poncho given to me by my shamanism teacher.
The thing from home you wish you could magic here: My contact juggling ball – it’s the sort of thing you just can’t find in this part of the world.
Best travel pack tip: Less is more – you can’t prepare for everything,. When I first started travelling I had a camping stove, tent, everything! After a few months I was down to a bowl, spoon, sleeping bag and I could sleep anywhere. Travelling is about being creative. What I collect is the random stuff you can’t get everywhere – like a giant squid hat!