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Packing for a year: A woman’s perspective

by Larissa on August 20, 2011

Michael has already written a few posts about getting rid of our stuff and how we are going to pack for this year-long trip.  Based on our prior travels I’m a pretty efficient packer.  (Truth be told, this all started when we were getting ready for our honeymoon almost 25 years ago. Michael watched me preparing a different outfit for every day and declared, “I’m marrying you, but not your luggage. If you pack it, you carry it.”)  So I’ve gotten pretty good at the whole mix-and-match wardrobe thing.

Larissa packing for a yearThis is it for luggage for a year of travel

But I’ve never had to worry about packing for a year so I’m wondering about a few things, like . . .

Will I have the right clothes for every occasion?  Probably not.  We’re not planning on climbing any mountains or herding yaks on a regular basis so we won’t be bringing clothes for those activities  Therefore anything we might do that requires specialty clothing will likely be a one-off experience. So we’ll either buy what we need or make do with what we have.

My more immediate “fashion concern” is whether I will have the right items for strolling around a city, going out to dinner or a light hike in the countryside.   I’m packing mostly multi-purpose garments; basic black separates with a few splashes of color here and there.  I don’t need to look like a fashionista everywhere I go, but I don’t want to look like something the cat dragged in either.

So my preliminary solution:  “accessories!”   I’m counting on sturdy pants, shorts and shirts that can take some abuse, with some costume jewelry and a scarf or two to dress up an otherwise mundane ensemble.  I’ll also be relying on my “miracle sundress” that I can dress up or down.  (Will this be enough?  Not sure.  Stay tuned for an update somewhere on the road.)

Will I get tired of the clothes I bring?  Probably.  (Will I get tired of Michael? Possibly.) No matter how many permutations I might try to create with this set of separates, I am bound to get bored with them by week five or six.  I am not going to ditch everything and start over, so what’s my plan?  Again. . . “accessories!”

In virtually every country I’ve ever visited I’ve found a market or bazaar that sells inexpensive trinkets and baubles.  This includes the US where they call it Target. They are not the best quality, but it won’t matter to me, since I will probably replace them in a month or two.

What about shoes?  A true woman’s question if there ever was one.  This is one topic to which I’ve given much thought.  No matter where you are, trudging around in uncomfortable shoes can tarnish an otherwise great experience.  I’m bringing shoes that are sturdy (but not ugly—I don’t like ugly shoes), comfortable and can multi-task.  After much deliberation, I’ve narrowed the selection down to 4 pairs:

Low-heeled loafers:  black patent leather, which will go with everything I wear, closed-toe (for bad weather, and visiting religious sites where open-toed shoes are considered offensive).

Hiking sandals:  good for city or country walking, waterproof.  I like the ones made by Keen—super sturdy and comfy.  (Michael thinks these are kind of goofy looking because of the black rubber cap toe, but I think they have a sort of nerdy charm.)

Flip Flops:  I have a pair of Fit Flops, which are really comfortable for walking, will be great for using at the beach or pool, plus they’ll work with a casual dress. I can also use them as slippers

Mid-heeled sandals:  (my big indulgence) Let’s face it girls, I can’t go away for a whole year without at least one pair of heels.  I’ve tried this pair out; they are comfortable for walking and dress up any outfit just because of the heel (I guess they sort of fall into my “accessories” category too)

The points I make above are based partly from experience and partly from what I think (read:  I hope) will work.  I will be reporting back from time to time on just how well (or poorly) I planned, and will highlight particularly useful (or useless) items.  And no smart remarks from you, dear reader, on seeing me in the same outfit twice!

See you from the road. . . Larissa

Related post: Our favorite travel accessories and gadgets

Click the link to see if Larissa made the right choices with her shoes: review of women’s travel shoes.

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John Discepoli August 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Having a normal size foot helps. We in the size 13-14 range are used to this quandary simply because when your shoes are that big, they take up too much space. I typically wear the one’s that are the most versatile and live with it. Only wish that were true for wedding travels. (I am really wondering why I am commenting on shoes – what is happening to me). Enjoy and keep us updated.

Michael August 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Maybe you should ship your shoes ahead via UPS.

MissElaineous August 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I’m thinking you will get tired of what MICHAEL is wearing. You can avoid mirrors and big windows, and thus, your own reflection. But Michael…well, you’ll just plain have to look at him all the time. Pack some colorful scarves and whatnot for him too!

Zena Charokopos September 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Larissa ~ I can’t help but smile while I read your shoe dilemma. I have had the pleasure of visiting a couple of countires in Asia. I will never forget the shoe floor in a Philippine Department store in their mega mall… it was like Norstroms x 100. It appeared to be 10,000 sf of shoes. I wasn’t sure which way to walk first… I actually got lost and couldn’t find the last pair of shoes that I picked to purchase. The prices are also hard to resist… have fun shopping!

Michael September 22, 2011 at 12:36 am

It must be the legacy of Imelda Marcos.

Larissa April 30, 2012 at 5:17 am

Or I could just wear sunglasses and pretend I don’t know him on his particularly shabby days. . .

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