Counting Down and Packing Up

Well, after much confusion and changing plans I finally know when I want to leave – August 17 – for China. I have to be to Kaifeng by July 27 to join the rest of the crew going. I am planning on flying into Hong Kong and staying with friends in the area then taking a train to Kaifeng.

So if I start the count down now, I have 21 days to earn money, pack, and visit with everyone before leaving for a year abroad on the other side of the planet. Not sure why but it is still not sinking in that I am leaving.

My latest conundrum is how does one pack for a year? If I was a size 2 or under 5 ft I wouldn’t even pack more then a couple days worth of clothes, but alas I am neither of those so I have to think about the seasons, boredom of outfits and comfort.

In May, when I sent in my scholarship application I started thinking about what I would bring. I started out with a huge pile of possibilities: winter layering, jeans, shorts, t-shirts, tanks, dresses, skirts and shoes. I laid them all into the potential suitcase (the largest I have and it could easily fit a small child inside) then I put away all other clothes. I would live out of this suitcase for the remainder of the summer. This is so that I could see what I actually used out of potential clothing (minus nicer dress clothes and winter clothes) and what I didn’t.

By late June I could easily narrow the pile down by a third. Then in July I purchased those space saver bags and could fit everything into large suit case with plenty of room. I felt quite good about this move, only to realize that while it made more room the weight remained the same and I would be lugging this suit case around on trains, planes, and buses. Now what?

Today while driving into work it dawned on me to try a different strategy. Why not look at my clothes from the perspective of what I enjoy wearing and what I feel good vs what I might wear of all the clothes I like are dirty. It made me wonder how many outfits could I truly say I love and love myself in. I could maybe count on 2 hands these outfits. Guess my packing just got lighter and easier.

Now, for a smaller suitcase…