What to pack
When planning a 6-8 month trip, one of the main questions you get asked is; have you packed yet? Or, what will you pack? Also, many inquisitive friends have asked if I'm going to be taking a suitcase or a backpack? Well, that one I can answer, I'm taking a backpack, one that is designed just for women by Osprey; It's the Fairview and it holds 55 litres. I have done quite a bit of travel over my life thus far and if you're going to countries where the infrastructure is not as good as here in the UK, it's just easier to take a backpack.
Have you ever tried rolling a suitcases across sand to reach a beach hut? Or hauling a giant suitcase on top of a bus? Or trying to get it up and down narrow staircases or into tiny storage compartments on trains? It's not easy!
Are we backpacking? Kind of, most of the accommodation we have booked so far are Airbnbs owned by local people, so far not a hostel in sight. So, I'm not really sure you could call it backpacking.. but then again we aren't staying in luxury hotels either (the odd boutique hotel along the way, maybe). We are, however, going for such a long time that we are called 'travellers' rather than tourists.
Our first stop, Sri Lanka, we are staying for almost two months. I'm really looking forward to a more outdoor life than the one I experience during Autumn/Winter in the UK. I will be practising yoga, running, swimming, hiking and learning to surf and possibly scuba dive, so I need to pack enough active wear for all those activities. I assume a third of my backpack will be full of Sweaty Betty sportswear and about 10 swimsuits (you can never take enough swimsuits :)
I'm then going to pack about ten lightweight dresses, (cotton and silk are my preferred fabrics). On top of this I'll throw in some shorts and t-shirts and a few skirts. Maybe one pair of full length trousers, and a longer skirt, one waterproof jacket, some PJS, a trusty hat, and a couple of jumpers and that's about it in terms of clothing.
We are heading to Nepal for trekking in December and will need some warm clothes but we will buy those on arrival in Kathmandu. It makes no sense to carry thermals around hot countries for three months! I am however, taking my own hiking boots, so they will have to be worn on all the plane journeys. Other shoes include, one pair of running shoes, two pairs of flat sandals and one pair of heels (probably wedges), even though I'll probably never wear them, I'd like to think I might....
So, that's the clothes, then of course I'll be packing a good organic sunscreen, Aesop moisturiser, minimal makeup and a small travelling pharmacy (maybe Sander can carry that).
It's quite an interesting exercise in minimalism...I'm not sure how the choosing of clothes will go tomorrow. But as everyone keeps telling me, I'm sure to buy new dresses and clothes along the way anyway, so I needn't worry too much. (Right?)
Getting the balance between practicality and style right whilst travelling for a long period is not the easiest thing to achieve. I am however, looking forward to the challenge.