Asia, Travel & Lifestyle, Travel Tips

Confessions of an Overpacker, Chapter 2

31st October 2017

As I mentioned in my previous post, ‘Confessions of an Overpacker, Chapter 1 ‘ I have no interest in travelling light. I am away for a year and am going to different countries where I will need different things. HOWEVER I have had to admit defeat on some items, literally because my bag wouldn’t close!

I didn’t take in to account that I was wearing trainers, a hoodie, leggings and a checked shirt to the airport … which had no hope of going in my bag once I was in hot places where I no longer needed them. Oops.

When I stopped in Sri Lanka for my surf and yoga retreat (which you can read all about here) I had a word with myself and went through my bag to decide what I could live without.

Round one of posting back home!

I decided I didn’t need two gym outfits, and some bikinis I could save for Australia. Sequins probably aren’t super practical so that crop top could go, along with a book I finished but want to keep, a thin long sleeve top (which I already regret sending back!!) and a playsuit which is quite thick so I probably wouldn’t wear it much.

So armed with my carrier bag of rejected things, and a poster I bought in Galle I headed to the post office with a tuk tuk driver. When we pulled up I told him I was happy to go in on my own and fend for myself but luckily he insisted on coming with me. It was literally MENTAL!

He grabbed my things off me and set off for a tiny little room full of people, I scurried along behind him. This was the packing room, where they look at what you’re sending, box it up securely and address if for you. This took ages, because it’s only English people that like to stand in a queue and huff and puff, Sri Lankan’s just all push to the front, it’s dog eat dog! My driver was excellent at this, waving the big tube with my poster in it he got attention straight away and they started serving us from near the back. I literally cowered at the back not wanting to get lynched by the angry old ladies!

Here he is, my hero ‘Westwood’

Next up stamps, next ‘queue’ was for postage charges. The lady weighed by box and my tube and gave me a price for each, I paid and she stuck about 400 stickers and stamps all over the box.

Stamping the shit out of my parcel

The last window we went to was to actually post the box, thank god that was over! It set me back a good £45 but it weighed 2.5kg and hopefully a big chunk of space in my backpack!

Ready to go

I was due to meet some friends in Cambodia a month into my trip, and so luckily the few bits I forgot they could bring out with them. In my defence it wasn’t much! It was surf leggings, a maxi dress and some black hareem pants.

My bag was still a tight squeeze (I swear my things were expanding in the heat!!) so I had to send some more back, I settled on a second sequin top which as much as I love, and with a tan it looks awesome, I will have to wait until next year to be reunited with it! A dress, a bodysuit that I love but really bodysuits are bloody annoying especially with the toilet situation out here, you don’t want anything hanging down that you can accidentally pee on while squatting! So those three items equalled out to me three new ones! I also binned two bikini tops, one was really faded and the other was covered in nail varnish from the one that snapped open in my bag on my first night. Surely packing would get easier without these few extra bits!

After I got annoyingly mugged in Cambodia I needed to go and buy a new camera, the people in the shop were extremely kind and gave me a really nice camera bag that looked like a satchel for free. It was such a nice bag and in the real world it would be really useful, however it was too much for my poor backpack. So I didn’t want to waste it and I had to post my crime report back home, so I decided to venture to a Vietnamese post office. It’s becoming my new thing! As I started packing my things were still growing somehow so I decided on a t shirt and a maxi skirt to go back with the bag.

I knew the post office drill this time, so I went solo and headed straight to the packing queue. Once it was wrapped up it was the stamps queue and they took my parcel from there. So much easier and calmer that the Sri Lankan post office. I had jumped in at the deep end there!!

So six weeks into my trip, two post office visits and about £90 down, here is an updated list of what I am still lugging around the world with me …

The List:

Clothes & Shoes:

9 x bikini tops – 3 down, one went home, two went to heaven

13 x bikini bottoms – 3 went home

I don’t ever wear matching bikinis … hence the odd numbers!

2 x one piece swimsuits

3 x denim shorts (2 blue and 1 black)

0 x day shorts – binned one I decided were ugly and sent one home

1 x dressy shorts

1 x maxi skirts – 1 went home

1 x 3/4 length culottes

2 x dresses – sent one home, gave one to a friend, accidentally bought one more

1 x thin long sleeved t shirts – sent 1 home and regret it most days

0 x playsuit – went home!

3 x dressy-ish tops – 2 inappropriate sequin tops and one crop top all came home

7 x day tops – just one has gone home, one fell in my possession in Topshop’s sale in Ho Chi Minh

6 x black tops – going strong!

4 x t shirts – this accidentally went up, sent one home, bought two more – God damn you Topshop!

12 x underwear – this has reduced since I got my laundry done and got about 3 pairs of someone else pants, they swiftly went in the bin!

3 x socks

3 x bras

1 x trainers

1 x beach flip flops

1 x sandals

1 x waterproof jacket

1 x sports bra – down to 1!

1 x gym shorts

1 x leather belt

Toiletries & Make Up:

Shampoo & Conditioner

Suncream – SPF 50 & 30

Facial SPF 50

Hair protection spray

Shower gel

Aftersun

1 x black nail varnish

0 x blue nail varnish – gone! Snapped in my bag during the first flight 

0 x Nail varnish remover pads – all used up

Deodorant

Toothpaste

First Aid Kit:

Plasters

Ibuprofen

Imodium

Tampons (as I mentioned in my previous post, 7 Things to Know Before Travelling to Asia, they can be hard to get hold of)

100% Deet

After bite cream

Tiger balm

Allergy tablets

Electrical’s:

2 x Plug Adaptor

Laptop & Charger

iPhone & Charger

GoPro & Charger

Olympus Pen E-PL8 & Charger – aaaah! Gone forever thanks to some scruff in Phnom Penh!

Kindle & Charger

Electric Toothbrush & Charger

Portable Charger & USB Lead

UE Portable speaker & charger

This section is heavy … I blame all those chargers personally!

Miscellaneous:

3 x padlocks (small for my backpack zips and a large one for hostel lockers)

Eye Mask

Ear Plugs

Sleeping bag liner

Happiness Journal

3 x paperback books

Sunglasses

So I think you’ll agree I’m doing better! You have to cut me some slack for the fact I will be wearing these clothes for a whole year!

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