Packing and Repacking, then Packing again

One of the most frustrating things I have found in my travels is my ability to have all the ‘just in cases’ and carrying them around the whole time – only not to need them. I decided this trip was going to be different….

I packed (too many options), pared down (still too many) and repacked. For two and a half weeks, I have plenty of clothes, but I am not going to be in any one city for more than 4 days – this means I will probably have to do laundry.
I also want to make sure to have the right apparel for some of the culinary adventures I have planned – so dressing up is going to be a necessity.

First I made a list of all the ‘layer-able’ clothing I would need for 5 days (including my flight over). I narrowed it down to 3 pairs of crop pants, 1 pair of shorts, 3 dresses, and multiple tops/tank tops (3 tanks, 4 shirts, 3 t-shirts). I am also taking 1 pair of jeans in case of inclimate weather. Extra clothing was eliminated – like the additional 2 dresses, 3 t-shirts, and 2 shorts.

Now I am going to be near a beach at the end of my trip, so a bathing suit is necessary, and I suggest packing extra night clothes, socks, and undergarments if you aren’t doing laundry (but I am, so I limited it to a week’s worth).

I have had to pack and re-pack about 5-7 times to get it right – and I probably have at least one more time before leaving – I did put my journals, books and maps in my checked bag (other than the first city’s), and packed extra clothes in my carry-on.
My toiletry bag is also in my checked bag – it’s kind of big, and I may rethink that as well – I will keep you all up to date on if this works and take some photos of the packing final too!

Practicing the Languages

No matter where I travel, I like to learn some of the language of the countries to which I visit – a great friend recommended ‘Duolingo’ to brush up on my Spanish and French. 

I more than wholeheartedly recommend this app to get acquainted with the languages. It has a really easy and interactive interface.

If only to say ‘please, thank you, order a drink, ask directions, and tell time and prices’ – I always try to speak the native tongue (and it helps to understand directions, too).

Why Do I Travel?

Why do I travel?

Travel for me is a conglomeration of several ideas and challenges:

  1. I enjoy the sense of empowerment, the sense of independence – yet dependent upon the people I encounter. The trust one has to have in human nature, oneself, and the ability to solve complex issues and to be flexible – sometimes not in my nature (like time delays, missed transportation, illness, negative encounters, monetary issues, language barriers, etc.). This is why I travel.
  2. I am obsessed with history and its impacts on humanity. I am well-versed in historical events and movements, especially in art. I confirm and contradict many of my views and information about the past when I travel to the origin. Perhaps it is a story about Shakespeare, perhaps stereotypical information such as cultural traditions or habits – Traveling changes my mind and surprises me – CONSTANTLY! This is what traveling does for me.
  3. The ART appreciation by our contemporary society has seemed to lack as of late – I gauge this by my own experiences in my classrooms. Usually, by the end of a course, these students’ opinions about art changes – I like to be surrounded by this appreciation and in the midst of mutual knowledge – I love to learn, I love to teach, I love to experience ART of all forms. From culinary to visual, from performances to architecture – part of being ‘human’ is to appreciate that which makes us so… and why travel is important to me.
  4. The food – I have grown tired of the processed existence that is America. It is prevalent in our restaurants (of all cultures), fast food, even in our grocery stores. I know it exists in modernized and industrialized countries as well, however, there are preservatives and additives, which are not present. These ‘exotic’ foods satiate my hunger and quench my thirst with a forceful tradition – I enjoy ‘tasting’ and traveling.
  5. The people – I have some of the funniest stories about people whom I have met in my travels. Experiences waiting on a train – walking through a museum or site – eating at a café – cooking in another country – ordering from a grocery store – asking for directions – and, of course, visiting local clubs, beaches, and bars – these are stories I get from traveling.
  6. The trust I mentioned earlier – Traveling forces us to learn to trust again. I practice trusting myself – my planning abilities, my organizational skills, my language and culture knowledge, and my ability to be flexible with my plans. I practice and rediscover trusting others – trust in humans’ ability to help, to be honest, and to re-instill that trust over the built-up jaded attitude so often that comes with negative experiences. I am open to this practice and rediscovery of my trusting nature. Travel helps me to continue my personal growth.
  7. Just breathing the air, smelling the surroundings, hearing the sounds, seeing the art, tasting the food, and walking the streets – Clearing My Mind and Body – THAT is what Travel is to me.