World Travel 2013-2014, The Pack After A Year of Travel

So, now that all of that travelling has been done over the past year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back on what happened to my pack after a year of travelling.

You can find the original post here.

What survived and what didn’t

  • RIP to sunglasses lost on Patong Beach, Thailand
  • A Nikon camera lens which unfortunately didn’t survive a small drop in South Korea
  • Small backpack whose poor zip could no longer sustain the weight of my camera (and everything else!)
  • Pair of hiking shoes / sneakers which almost lasted the year

Items that joined our pack as we went along

  • One coat as it’s REALLY cold in Japan in winter
  • A dress. Handy to have in very (very) hot weather and light
  • Face wash. Who wants pollution and grime sticking around on your face all night
  • Metal camping cup (60 baht each in Bangkok). There is only so long before you just want to be able to have a instant coffee at the accommodation, or to drink out of a cup. Budget accommodation doesn’t always afford you the luxury of providing cups
  • Cheap (and light) rain jackets / ponchos to keep us dry
  • Jewellery. Yup, there’s only so long before you want some random things from home to try to make you look a bit more presentable (emphasis on TRY)

Some items that were particularly useful:

  • Collapsable sink. Incredibly handy for when you want to soak clothing, or if you are in accommodation with shared bathrooms. Ours has been used a lot
  • Clothesline (without suction caps, has to be the kind which hooks). A useful item for stringing up clothing to dry – just make sure you don’t get the suction cup style as they don’t always stick

Some items that we regretted packing or didn’t use:

  • Rain Jacket. Too light to be of any warmth, but too heavy for the hotter days in South East Asia. This item promptly found itself in a box back to Australia and was replaced with a heavier weight coat
  • Shawl. Too light weight to act as a scarf in cold weather, too sheer to act as a skirt/sarong and not fluffy enough to become a pillow this also found its way home
  • Silk liner. If you do your research on your accommodation then this just isn’t needed in our experience
  • Lush solid shampoo. Didn’t use it, sent it home. You can easily buy tolietries on the road so don’t take too much with you

If we packed for a trip like this again, there are a few modifications we would make.

  1. Pack for one climate. We tried to do both very hot and humid (Malaysia, Singapore & Thailand) as well as very cold (Japan in winter etc). Packing for completely different climates makes your bag much heavier and renders a lot of your pack useless in certain climates. We discovered this was a mistake VERY early on in our trip
  2. Limit even further the amount of tolietries packed. Did we really need a toothpaste each, or a small shampoo? Not really, these are things we could have easily picked up on the road as we needed them rather than lugging them around with us (and we did change this when we headed back out on the road again for North America and China)
  3. Anti histamines. While these weren’t completely necessary (and hence weren’t packed) they were something I probably should have packed considering my mild allergies to certain foods. It’s not always going to be possible in a country where you don’t speak the language to avoid certain foods, and its not nice getting a hive reaction in a foreign country when you can only get low strength hay fever medication. Ah, it took a good two weeks for that reaction to go away…

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