At long, long last it’s finally starting to hit me. After tomorrow morning I won’t see most of my family, my house, my friends, and pretty much anything else that’s part of home for a full year.
I think all the rushing around and making final arrangements today in preparation for departing tomorrow was what finally succeeded in drilling it into my head.
The day was a long one, beginning with a 10km run with my mom and sister, progressing through my second trial-pack of my bag (in order to reassure myself once more that everything fits comfortably, and that I haven’t forgotten anything,) getting US cash and travelers cheques at the bank, scrambling to find a couple of lost items, failing to find two of them, running down to Mountain Equipment Co-Op to do some last minute shopping, coming home to have a last dinner with my parents and sister, phoning other family to say last goodbyes, going to my house to say goodbye to the Jason, Carole and Kate and to move out a last few things, then coming back to my mom and dad’s, going through my financial stuff with my mom and finally finishing off with PACKING late into the night.
(Yes, I’m fully aware that that was a horrendous run-on sentence, but I think it’s rather appropriate.)
The final pack began at around 22:00 Tuesday, and is now complete, just before 2:30 Wednesday.
The first task, and a time consuming one, was to complete that sacred rite of the Canadian traveler: sewing the maple leaf patch onto my new(ish) pack.
(Photo of me exercising my near-non-existant tailoring skills.)
Packing continued with yet another check through the items strewn on the living room floor to ensure nothing was missing. Finally, I started loading stuff into the bag.
By the time it was all done, I had more or less all my worldly goods for the next year stuffed into a 55L (3300cubic in) backpack weighing in at almost exactly 13.5kg (30lb) (including everything in my daypack, but not including the clothes I’ll be wearing tomorrow and my money belt and neck pouch.) All things considered, I’m content with this. From the start I said I would aim to limit my pack to 25lb, with the knowledge that I’d probably miss, but that this target would keep my under 30lb, which was my “real” goal. There’s a bit of extra space for souveniers, food during treks or what have you, but not so much that I’ll be tempted to fill it beyond my capacity to carry.
A lot of people are curious to know what all I’ll be bringing along, so in part to satisfy their curiosity, and in part to check ONE MORE TIME that I’ve not missed anything, here’s a list:
-2 pairs synthetic convertible (zip-off) pants
-1 thin long sleeved collared shirt
-6 pairs underwear
-3 pairs socks
-1 bathing suit/shorts
-1 thin but warm cashmere sweater
-1 fleece pullover
-1 gore-tex jacket from MEC (most expensive piece of clothing I’ve ever bought, but worth every penny.)
-1 pair hiking boots
-1 pair sandals
-1 wide brimmed hat
-55L Serratus Ibex 55 backpack (while a travel pack might have been nicer in town, I plan on doing enough trekking to make a real backpack worthwhile.)
-17L MEC daypack
-Neck pouch for smaller amounts of cash, day to day items that I’d like to keep semi-secure
-Waist money belt for passport, plane tickets, reserve cash, other super-important stuff
-large mesh laundry bag to surround backpack at airports and keep straps from getting caught.
-Small first aid kit
-Small bottles, soap + shampoo
-1 bottle multivitamins
-1 bottle SPF 30 sunscreen
-razor + 6 extra blades
-DEET insect repellant
-2 night guards to protect my teeth while sleeping because I grind them so much
“OUTDOOR” TYPE STUFF
- -7 Celsius (20 Fahrenheit) down sleeping bag (rolls up pretty small, but I might have to pick up a compression sack for it at some point.)
-Thermarest air mattress
-2 1L Nalgene water bottles
-20 matches in a film canister
-120ml water purification drops
-smallish Swiss army knife
-Small waterproof flashlight
-Pentax Optio33WR digital camera and USB cable
-Iriver IHP120 hard drive mp3 player (20Gb… Lots and lots of music, plus room for temporary picture storage) USB cable and charger
-10 rechargable AA batteries
-Plug adapters for most of the world
-Small calculator for currency conversions etc.
-1 combination lock
-1/8” steel cable looped at ends for locking my pack to stuff
-1 cheap digital watch (minus band)
-9m (30’) of 6.5mm (¼”) nylon rope
-See-thru garbage bags
-Heavy duty Ziploc bags
-universal (flat) sink plug (for doing laundry in sinks)
-2 books (the Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies and The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood, hopefully to be traded in once they’re done)
-1 old and pretty beat up hand towel. A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker (or world traveler) can have.
Whew. That sounds like a lot of stuff… I’m pretty happy with everything I’ve chosen. Virtually everyone who goes on this kind of trip seems to discover that there are at least one or two things that they’ve forgotten, and that there are a couple of things they wish they’d left behind. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what mine are.
So. I think it’s about bedtime, since, although my flight doesn’t leave ’til 13:30 I have to get up early to say goodbye to my sister and dad before they disappear for work. Thanks to you all for reading along thus far. Next time you hear from me will be from Atlanta, and the adventure will have begun.
P.S. Humour for the day: Before I left, a few people at work were entertaining the idea of taking bets as to where on this trip I’d meet my future wife and where she’d end up being from. While I don’t have any plans on marrying anyone while away (or shortly thereafter) I was probably most fond of (or entertained by at least) the suggestion that she’d be an Icelandic girl I met in Thailand.
Tags: Before Departure