So I officially think this is the lightest I have ever packed for any trip where I’ll be multitasking at this level.
Packing for this trip has been quite the affair. After my last deportation disaster (perhaps more on that later) I’ve felt the need to over think everything I’m bringing- as if being exquisitely organized could guarantee that my passport and visa will be accepted at the gate and that I’ll actually EARN my 200 Hour yoga certification this year. (Gawfaw-Update: I made in into India, by passport and visa were good this time- praise the lord and always get e-tourists visa and don’t buy 10 year with CKG).
I was feeling pretty good about things when I started packing and photographing last week, and I was ready to take a ‘big’ bag to bring back sari fabric and other goodies only purchasable in the colors and varieties that I crave in India itself when I thought to check the baggage allowance on my domestic flights within India. Last year I had to juggle a few items between bags when I flew from Delhi to Bhubaneswar. And, sure enough, the airlines I am flying this time have even tighter regulations than before. Check on bags can only weigh 15kg (33lb for my fellow American readers) and carry on can only be 7kg (15lb). Can anyone explain to me how they think I can survive on a wardrobe for 2 months what fits into a 33lb bag? Particularly when the wardrobe needs to accommodate for 6 hours of physical yoga practice and 2 hours of meditation daily?
Needless to say, I had to take all my items out of their packages, and take only what I thought, for sure, I’d need. I was going to take a full thing of tooth paste, and also my containers of shampoo and conditioner, but turns out, small bottles will do fine. I was going to bring my toiletries bag, but that weighs a lb, so it looks like I’ll organize that stuff in a small lighter weight bag that I’ll buy when I’m there and discard when I leave. Usually I take a number of rolls of American toilet paper (sounds silly, I know, but we are really spoiled with quality tp it’s availability in most stores). When I’m in Raghurajpur, I have to drive to a supermarket in Puri to get the uncomfortable, thin, unpleasant rolls they sell at the one store that carries a few rolls. No Luxury TP for me this time, carefully rolled without the center- didn’t fit in the bag-bum guns it is (for my western friends, these are kitchen sprayers near the toilet). On the organized note: this time around I found myself counting items like pills, and tampons and other things I’d usually just bring in their over the counter quantity and putting them together in zip lock bags with handwritten labels. My carry on currently weighs in at 26 lb and my carry laptop bag at 14.5llb. I have a small purse too which is packed to the max. For those of you interested here is roughly what is in each bag.
In my Purse (which has adjustable straps and can be worn as a back pack)
cell phone and charger
charger adapter for India/Asia
a file folder containing all paperwork, hotel receipts, visas, addresses of where I’m staying, emergency contacts, and additional small photos of my face to use to get a SIM card when there, pass port etc
a wallet where I have 50$ in American cast and 100$ in Rupees, a credit and visa card and my drivers license. Sometimes they give teachers/students discounts so one of my uni id cards is also in the bag
small packet of electrolytes (what plants crave and what people loose when flying)
a granola bar with 15g protein (vegan) and peanut butter flavored
a cookie and pea-nuts + pistachios (I inherited a sweet-n-salty tooth)
battery pack for phone with cable
sketchbook and 3 pens
small sketchbook for taking notes on things like language/words/details whatever, it fits in my pocket
alcohol wipes, travel sized hand sanitizer, 2 face wipes with moisturizer
1 roll of toilet paper re-rolled without the center roll and placed in a zip lock
jewelry in small plastic container
pocket book of coins (last time my friends kept asking for my countries coin currency)
my business cards
a small led light so I can see what the hell is at the bottom of my bag and where I’m going if I’m walking at night in India (bonus, they refer to these as torches- love it)
2 packets of emergen-c
a prayer card for st. Christopher, patron saint of travelers
prescription of Sipro in case I get cholera or can’t stop using the bathroom because of vicious microbes
small container with aspirin, charcoal pills, Dramamine, ibuprofen
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Bobby Pins, deodorant-full not travel sized- I sweat A LOT- comb, 4 safety pins
Roll of friction tape/injury tape in case my shoes start to rub a blister or I get a paper cut or something
life straw (brand) water filtration straw
In my laptop bag:
more travel battery packs, cables, cords converters
I phone camera lenses and clamp
snacks and a package of vegan dietary supplement with vitamins and protein to mix with almond milk or water if I feel like I’m hungry and obviously about to die
3 more packages of nuts
15 photos to help explain my life in Louisville and what I do to someone who doesn’t speak any English but still wants to English with me (side note, already used these with my Air Bnb hostess)
A Package of printed photos I took with my friends in Raghurajpur- including the doctor who made me prove that I did yoga by demonstrating it in front of a very large group of people and the woman tailor and all her ‘girls’ who insisted my pants not have pockets because I should make my male escorts carry all my things. I intend to give the images with small gifts.
a set of flashcards with the Sanskrit names for a number of the primary yoga poses
female hygiene products
my next outfit for when I arrive in Delhi in case my checked baggage doesn’t make it there. Right now I’m wearing a very conservative full coverage yoga outfit (except for the scoop neck which is covered by a Shawl). When I arrive I’ll want to change into a looser Indian top and harem-style pant set my current pants are too tight and show too much bum (no skin is exposed, they are just, well: yoga pants being worn in public space they (I) tend to attract large crowds of 20 year old boy-men where ever I go).
Fresh undies and a fresh bra (worth hauling around in a lap top bag).
Eye mask and giant memory foam neck support for upright sleeping-worth it
Extra alcohol and antiseptic wipes
a pad lock for the laptop bag and a bike chain lock for my luggage in case I ever need to chain it down while I’m traveling. (I like to do this if I leave it in the car with a driver or down stairs of a hotel or something. I know it won’t stop anyone, but I like to think I don’t want to make it easy to unzip my bags and take a peak.
In my Checked bag
All Medication, including things like Mucinex in the exact amount I think I might need to use.
Benadryl anti itch cream (I wished I had this last time and couldn’t find an equivalent there I had so many mosquito bites it was unreal). 1 container colloidal silver nasal spray (for when the air quality starts to irritate my nose or gives me another sinus infection)
6 assorted Band-Aids
medicated foot moisturizer cream
water bottle with filtration system (brand-life straw)
a few rolls of toilet paper re-rolled without the center
The coolest roll-up hat to keep the sun off my sensitive and 1 pair of sunglasses
1 pair cheep flip flops 1 pair Chaco’s in orange (thanks Susie Schuhmann!)
5 top and bottom outfits 3 coordinating scarves per the Indian style
1 sari top,1 sari underskirt, 1 sari fabric wrap
10 pairs of underwear including 1 pair of thinx
10 bras: 2 regular, 8 fancy but comfortable sports bras
4 pairs of yoga pants
4 full coverage tops (think T-shirts that also cover a bit of my bum and that don’t flip up when I’m inverted….because….yoga)
3 bratops with 3 crop tops to wear with the bra-tops in order to cover my cleavage- potentially to be worn with yoga pants to get into the Ganges river in (in case you are wondering, I will not repeat my last river washing mistake and am prepared with appropriate products and hydration plans)
1 pair of socks (on the air plane I’m wearing slip on canvas shoes with the 2nd pair of socks)
1 tictac container of dance floor wax (because I have to practice balboa foot work and balance during turns/rotations but also because sometimes I get annoyed with how women are treated in India and I play PINK songs and dance around to blow off steam and I need a smooth surface for all that groovin’)
Vitamin pills and per a recommendation from a fellow yogi who also studied in India- I’m taking 10 packages of vegan protein supplements because she said she lost a lot of muscle on the diet she was fed at the ashram. So that gives me 1 package every 3 days I think that should be plenty, I can almost do an unassisted chin up and I can forward row 45lb now- I don’t want to loose that sort of hard earned strength and I doubt weight lifting is part of our daily regime/I doubt I’ll have energy for weight lifting after doing all the awesome yogas!
19 packages of electrolyte power (it’s what plants crave) in case I get dehydrated or constipated (related conditions I commonly experience while traveling)
Make up-1 lipstick in berry, 1 compact with mirror and powder, 1 eye liner, 1 travel container of eye shadows in 3 types of pink/purple
Toiletries deemed necessary and only in small quantities all fitting in a single zip lock container including moisturizing face wipes.
Things you can’t see that I am ‘taking’ with me
Tetnis and Rubella cocktail Shot or Update (good for 10 years)
Heps A-D (3 part shots for life time immunity)
Anti-malaria pills (if I’m going to areas where there has been malaria in the past 2 years)- which is none this time.
Daily Kombucha (home made) (drinking everyday since I decided to travel)
Emergen-C taken daily for the week leading to departure and then every 24 hours while enroute