Hello from Frankfurt! I have no idea what time it is here. We’re fresh off of our (8? 9? 10?) hour flight across the Atlantic. From here we fly to Delhi — another 9 hours or so.
Packing light isn’t my speciality. The girl who’s wildly moving items from checked luggage to carry-ons at the ticket counter, madly throwing some combination of shoes, hair appliances, and jeans into her carry-on and hoping that it will tip the scale to 49.5 pounds? Nice to meet you, that’s me. And that makes packing for a month-long trip to India a challenge. Especially when you consider that you have to take your own toilet paper.
Here’s how my luggage breaks down by the numbers:
1: Checked bag, a Dakine split duffle, the best piece of luggage I’ve ever owned.
4: Pairs of shoes: tennis, dress, shower sandals, casual.
4: Pairs of pants: jeans (2), sweats, leggings. (And no, leggings are not pants. Except on this list.)
4: Black, long-sleeved shirts (Megan says I’ll look like I’m constantly in mourning. Yes, I say, and also I’ll look mostly clean.)
2: T-shirts, one black, one teal. The teal is part of our casual uniform. Otherwise? Yep, would’ve been black.
4: Spandex camisole undershirts.
1: Uniform for presentations (black suit, blue button-down shirt).
1: Light-weight fleece pullover.
9: Pairs of underwear
7: Pairs of socks
That’s half the bag. Yikes. The other half?
5: Rolls of toilet paper.
6: Packages of various kinds of wipes. Face. Flushable. Anti-bacterial. You name it, I’ve got a wipe for it. Did this just get weird?
3: Kinds of hair product.
1: Each, bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
0: Hair dryers. We’ll see how well that goes.
1: Bottle of hand sanitizer.
1: Bottle of toothpaste.
3: Packages of Kleenex.
1: Stick of deodorant.
10: Hair ties
1: Small bottle of Downy wrinkle-releaser
47: Kinds of medication. Or so. I’m a one-woman pharmacy. Immodium. Bonine. Sudafed. Cipro. Emergen-C. Tums. Anti-nausea. Ibuprofen. I could go on. And on, and on, and on.
1: Bottle of 100% DEET mosquito repellant. Keeping malaria and Japanese encephalitis at bay, one spritz at a time.
1: Small bottle of laundry detergent.
1: Box of business cards.
1: Set of brochures about our team and Rotary district.
10: Bars of dark chocolate, host gifts for the families I’ll be staying with.
Snacks? I got your snacks.
2: Boxes of granola bars
1: Bag of trail mix
1: Box of fruit snacks
1: (Large) bag of almonds
1: Bag of turkey jerky. (Protein! And no, not beef jerky. I’m not that insensitive. Though I am still wondering who’s taking me to get a steak when I get home.)
And how about that carry-on?
1: North Face backpack. It’s been around the world with me. Why stop now?
1: iPad (Thanks to the eleventh-hour benevolence of my friend Ryan, who was alarmed to discover that I was going overseas sans an iPad, as I don’t own one. So he loaned me his. For a month. His only condition was that I blog about food. You know what, Ryan? You’ve got a deal.)
1: Canon Rebel SLR & associated cords + chargers. (Thanks to my friend Nichole, who volunteered it to me (for a month!) after I mentioned taking my little point and shoot.)
1: Brag book of photos. I have to show all of you off to my hosts in India.
1: Folder of copies of itineraries and various other important documents.
1: Plug and voltage converter
3: Fine-tip Sharpies
4: Power cords
1: Tiny toothpaste
1: Change of underwear (30 hours of travel, y’all.)
1: U-shaped neck pillow. What’s the official name for those things? I don’t know, but I love it so much I might marry it.
1: Face mask. For snoozin’ on the plane, of course.
While making this list (somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean), I realized I forgot at least two things: a shirt to sleep in and a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer. That big bottle was supposed to be for refills. The good news? I think both of those items will be for sale in India.
So, what do you think? Did I miss anything? Did I pack too much? I’ll tell you this much: my checked bag came in at 48 pounds flat. And that, my friends, is a miracle.