Now that I have the inspiration and destination(s) for my travels sorted, it’s time to chat about the stuff I’ll be taking with me. Due to my stupidly verbose writing style, I’ve decided to stick to clothes for the first post, then we’ll have another post later on with other stuff. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve started moving into a minimalist style of living with relatively few things. While this started out as “a bit of a clear out”, I’ve found that I just owned a huge amount of stuff which I hardly ever used such as enough cutlery to last weeks without doing the washing up, and enough pairs of shoes to wear a different pair every day of the week.
Suffice to say I found that I constantly had a huge pile of washing up to do, and had a pile of shoes with cobwebs on them because I only ever wore 2 pairs. Therefore when I moved to my current house, I decided to bring a single 50 litre bag of stuff (including shoes, shirt, and tie for my viva, which hasn’t been touched since the viva) to see if I could do it. I did indeed manage that just fine, and now there’re 2 pairs of trousers and a bunch of shirts (alongside a load of other stuff) which haven’t been touched since I moved in. Time to downscale.
As a side note, while preparing for my travels I have been working in an outdoor gear shop. This was a very deliberate ploy to A) gain some money for my travels (or at least not lose money), B) get some recent work experience in a shop to make my CV a bit stronger for shop work (a common work place whilst travelling), and C) to pick up some bits of clothing/equipment for my travels using the benefit of a staff discount.
While reading up on travelling, I found that many bloggers/youtubers said that when they went travelling they found that they had far too much stuff (e.g. Travel Independent, Travel Blog, and Nomadic Matt), and wish they’d packed much less. A bit of further reading showed me that a few travellers (unfortunately at present I can only find Snarky Nomad) were going to the next level, and travelling only with carry-on luggage (i.e. stuff you can carry on a plane, rather than storing in the hold). Obviously with my increasing minimalist tendencies, minimalist travel appealed to me somewhat. As I was finding that 50 litres was way too much for living in England (where one generally wears more, thicker, clothing than in warmer climates), I figured that trying to halve that volume to head to tropical climes was a reasonable and achievable target. The only slight stumbling point is that in my aim to get out doing conservation work, I may well need a bit of extra tough clothing.
I tend to wear walking base layers for pretty much all occasions anyway, so it makes sense to take a bunch of those to wear on a regular basis. They’re light, breathable, quick drying and extremely comfortable, not to mention that they pack down remarkably small, so can easily fit into a small bag. To supplement those, I’ll be taking a couple of smarter shirts (still fairly casual though), for everything from interviews to parties to random days when I decide to wear a shirt.
I have it on good authority that Australia is generally… Not cold. With that in mind I’ll be taking only 1 thicker top, which can double as a thick base layer or a thin mid layer. This should be handy for popping up mountains and being in places where they are a little overzealous with the air conditioning. I’ll also be taking my windshirt (a very thin windproof layer), which again can either function as a base layer or a midlayer, and is generally just one of the most useful and multifunctional pieces of clothing I own.
On to the lower body, and I’m still debating whether to take 1 pair of trousers or two. I’ve just disposed of most of my trousers (because they were getting huge holes in them, and generally having issues), and treated myself to a couple of pairs of Montane Terra Pants, which are very lightweight, breathable, and flexible trousers, whilst also being quite tough, ideal for volunteering in hot countries. Of course for the most part I’ll be wearing shorts, and therefore whether a second pair of trousers would just be taking up space or not is still up for debate. As trousers tend to take up a fair bit of space in packing, I suspect I’ll just take the one pair and make it work. I’ll then take a couple of generic pairs of shorts and some swimming shorts (not pictured above because I haven’t found them yet).
In terms of footwear, I’ll be taking 2 pairs of shoes. The first is some Scarpa Mojitos, which are a really nice “approach shoe” (ie walking shoe). They have a vicious grip on the bottom, and are extremely comfortable in walking, but also look reasonably smart (they look fairly shoe like, rather than walking boot like) for use in a work/town setting. The second pair of shoes is my good old Merrell Trail Gloves (though I think it’s nearly time to get a new pair as I’ve almost worn through the soles in places). They’re light, breathable, comfortable, flexible, and good for everything it seems.
I’ll also be taking my Patagonia Torrentshell (lightweight waterproof), because it rains quite a bit. Whilst my Torrentshell is now 3 years old, it’s still doing ok though it’s a little worn, but hey ho. It also packs down into its own pocket, and actually ends up taking up very little space in the bag, which is beneficial.
The final item for my clothing list is a hat. Of course it’s going to be fairly sunny in the tropics/Australia, and so I’ve got myself a snazzy hat with a wide brim all the way round. It’s not a fashion item, but I’d rather look stupid than get horribly sunburnt.
So that’s it for now. There should be a follow post reasonably soon of the other half of the stuff I’m taking. Not long before I leave now though…
Until next time