Sabbatical: One Bag

What do you put into a suitcase for six weeks of travel? I have never been on a trip that lasted longer than two weeks, let alone with just one bag. One carry on bag. I suppose I should back up a few steps. Every seven years, the company I work for grants it’s salaried employees eight weeks of additional paid vacation. You can use this time however you choose, and this magical time is known as sabbatical.

sabbatical noun: a period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research, etc.

One bag.
The worst possible thing that can happen when you are traveling is lost luggage. My first course of action was to identify a single travel bag that would be versatile, functional, and easily fit into the overhead compartment of a standard airplane. After researching several different sites and bags, I settled on the Deuter Transit 50 for its versatility, durability and zip-off daypack. Great for the single traveler hopping on and off of buses, doing day hikes, and without need for all of the extraneous add-ons of typical backpacking packs. I picked it up for $143.00 on Moosejaw.

So, now, I had the bag and we are back to the original question: What do you put into a suitcase for six weeks of travel?

I suppose that depends on where you are traveling, and what you intend to do. I was planning to travel to Costa Rica (3 weeks), Peru (1 week), Argentina (1 week), and Colombia (1 week). This presented a bit of a challenge because I would be doing a mixture of adventure and urban travel. I wanted to snorkel, hike, zipline, tango, attend my first professional soccer match and learn how to surf–among other things. The range in temperature: 40-85 Fahrenheit.

What’s in my bag?

  1. Journal and pen
  2. White long-sleeved cotton shirt
  3. Black Danskin long sleeve mock turtleneck
  4. Black Prana convertible pants — Best. Pants. Ever.
  5. Black stretchy pants
  6. 2 multicolored print scarves
  7. 2 maxi convertible tube dresses which double as skirts (one black, one animal print)
  8. 1 black sweater
  9. 1 cream knitted hoodie (Roxy– love it!)
  10. 1 sports bra
  11. 1 cream colored hemp material long skirt
  12. 1 pair of board shorts
  13. 1 regular bra
  14. 1 athletic bikini
  15. 1 one-piece black halter swimsuit
  16. Rashguard (this I could have left at home, the surf instructor provided one)
  17. 1 pair of waterproof socks
  18. 1 white cotton t-shirt
  19. 1 black cami
  20. 1 white cami
  21. 1 tan cami
  22. 1 gray cami
  23. 1 animal print 1/2 t-shirt
  24. 1 pair mid-calf jean shorts
  25. 1 pair of cotton long socks
  26. 1 pair black yoga pants
  27. 1 island print cotton halter dress
  28. 1 long sleeve embroidered hemp-material “hippie” shirt.
  29. 7 pair of underwear
  30. 1 pair of black gloves
  31. 1 Orange knit hat
  32. 1 army green baseball cap
  33. 1 black Marmot waterproof jacket
  34. 1 pair Teva TIRRA hiking sandals
  35. 1 pair Born Elsa sandals
  36. 1 pair of “fashion” boots
  37. 1 hobo bag for a more fashionable alternative to the day pack when in an urban setting 🙂
  38. Norwex towel and washcloth
  39. 1 Argentinian futbol jersey 🙂
  40. 2 pair of earplugs
  41. Electronics: Canon PowerShot D20 waterproof camera, Samsung ATIV 500 Tablet, iPod, 500GB external hard drive (for backing up pics), USB mouse, lightweight Bluetooth keyboard, Droid Bionic, Casio Tough Solar waterproof watch, USB rechargeable flashlight
  42. Toiletries: Lush body butter (take THAT TSA), Soapwalla Deodorant cream, contact solution, arm & hammer toothpaste, scalp olive oil, shampoo
  43. Feminine products — I wanted to just take a DivaCup, but, I hadn’t tested it out yet, so I opted for conventional products on this trip.
  44. Reading (ebooks): Girl Who Played with Fire, Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Half the Sky, World War Z, Bossy Pants (audio), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (audio), The New Yorker
  45. Accessories: Wooden jewelry, sunglasses
  46. Makeup: 1 mascara, 1 neutral (brown), palette eyeshadow, brow pencil, lip gloss, black eyeliner
  47. Travel Pharmacy (various medications for traveling, I won’t inventory this, but suffice it to say I am amply prepared for Montezuma’s revenge or any other common disease that besets travelers).
  48. Outlet adapter, I need to add a 3 prong adapter in this, as presently I only have 2 prongs.
  49. Water bottle
  50. Water bladder from my camelback, which I have not used at all!
  51. Plastic baggies
  52. Snacks! Lifesavers on long bus rides. I had Lara bars, I have since replaced them with local snacks.
One bag to rule them all: Deuter Transit 50
That may not be an all-inclusive list, but it pretty much captures everything that is in my bag (so far as I can recall). I didn’t have to bring any styling products for my hair because I am sporting braids, circa 1993 Poetic Justice style! To anyone who will be traveling for an extended period of time, I would recommend the theme song “Bag Lady,” as you will definitely need to “pack light.”

I have been in Costa Rica for two and a half weeks now and I must say that my all-stars have been the convertible pants, hiking sandals, and rain jacket. There were things that I considered putting in my bag, but they just wouldn’t fit, these included: pair of flip flops, tennis shoes (chucks).  I will write about each country as I complete my journey there, but I wanted to start with what I put in my bag. Until next time!

Hippie shirt, jean shorts, and tevas