Things are in the suitcase and I leave really really soon

At some point this week, I’ll be writing what is likely to be an emotionally-charged and heartfelt post about my imminent (4 DAYS WHAT CRAZY TALK) departure for Morocco, but as it’s way more fun to talk about packing, that’s what we’ll be doing for the time being.

Packing is hard. But also like a real-life game of Tetris, so I guess overall it’s been a good day.

Piling is my organizational method of choice.

Piling is my organizational method of choice.


A few days ago I did a huge load of laundry and, when it was dry, folded everything and began sorting piles of clothing into what I wanted to take with me, the goal of the exercise being to either figure out how to fit everything I wanted to take with me into my bags or forcing myself to realize certain items simply will not be the most important in Morocco.

Limiting my choices are my Peace Corps baggage restrictions, which allow me two checked bags (with a combined total measurement of a certain amount of inches that I have decided to not worry so much about) that cannot weigh more than a total of 100 pounds (no more than 50 pounds per bag). Also, I get a carry-on and a personal item. As I am responsible for handling all my own luggage, my goal is also to see how little I can get away with packing because ,as anyone who has negotiated the Paris subway system with two rolling suitcases knows, less luggage is a genius idea.

So, checked bag No. 1 is my new hiking backpack (awesome Christmas gift from awesome parents!!). Bag No. 2 is the carry-on size rolling suitcase from my luggage set. Actual carry-on is a small-ish duffel bag. Personal item will be my school-sized backpack, which will also contain the purse I will be using during my trip.

Into those bags I have fit the following items. In about a year or so, I’ll endeavor to tell you which items I was glad I brought and which I had left behind.


  • Columbia jacket with removable fleece lining (wearing on the plane)
  • gloves
  • fingerless gloves
  • warm hat
  • scarves (2)
  • mittens


  • hiking boots
  • Mary Jane-style shoes (wearing on plane)
  • hiking sandals
  • sneakers
  • flip flops
  • running shoes


  • pants (4 pairs, one worn on plane)
  • skirts (6, all below the knee)
  • long sleeve shirts for layering (7?)
  • short sleeve shirts (4)
  • workout and pajama shirts (3)
  • button down shirts/blouses (8)
  • what are actually sun dresses but will serve to cover the butt for shirts that don’t already do so (4)
  • cardigans (6)
  • leggings (2)
  • tights (2)
  • long johns (2)
  • capris (2)
  • tank top (1)
  • bathing suit (2)
  • workout capris (1)
  • workout shorts (1)
  • running tights (1)
  • fleece pullover
  • sports bras (2)
  • regular bras (3 – black, white and pink-ish)
  • pajamas (3)
  • underwear (20 pairs)
  • socks (hopefully enough and in an acceptable combination of short, tall and workout)


  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping bag liner
  • towel
  • pillow case
  • pocket knives (2)
  • silverware kit
  • headlamp (2)
  • flashlight
  • umbrella
  • scissors
  • markers
  • Nalgene bottle
  • sunglasses
  • extra pair of regular glasses
  • earrings


  • 3 months of medication
  • hair ties
  • deodorant
  • shampoo (travel size)
  • conditioner (travel size)
  • lotion
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrushes
  • hairbrush
  • floss
  • razors
  • nail clippers
  • tweezers
  • Diva cup
  • sewing kit

Computer stuff

  • laptop and necessary software disks
  • Nook and necessary charging cord
  • electrical outlet adapter/converter set
  • camera
  • batteries and recharger
  • DVD/CD case (including four workout DVDs)

Stuff for me

  • journal
  • sketchbook
  • pencil case
  • pictures of home
  • knitting needles in case

Cultural outreach items

  • host family gifts (2 sets)
  • Bananagrams
  • story cubes
  • map of Michigan

Important paperwork

  • Peace Corps papers
  • immunization records

I feel like I estimated fairly well, since I haven’t had to pull too many things from my original piles. I’ve got my duffel bag and my hiking backpack pretty much full with the majority of my clothes – the duffel bag has several days’ worth of outfits in case something gets lost. The rolling suitcase will have the hiking boots and sandals, warmer weather clothing and other things I won’t need immediately, or at least it will once it’s full. And don’t worry, I’ll weigh everything before Sunday morning. I don’t want to be the volunteer stuck throwing things out because her bags are too heavy.

Also, I still need to procure some packable gifts for my host families. That’s my job for tomorrow.

Categories: Pre-departure | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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