Certainly I will buy many things in Morocco, but there are some things money can’t buy. Flags from every country I’ve visited… a pennant from my university… a tiny framed poster of Frodo in The Two Towers. You know, things that money can buy but have certain memories attached to them.
Then there are those things that a lot of my money went into buying. A laptop… a Columbia Omni-Tech coat… a camera. Obviously those have to come with me, too.
And finally there are those things that I could buy in Morocco but may not be of good quality and/or are ridiculously expensive. Bed sheets… soft underwear… hiking boots. I’m bringing those as well.
So how do I go about packing everything?
Bag 1 (21.5″H x 14″W x 11.5″D)
My carry-on. An Evecase DSLR/Laptop backpack with all sorts of pockets. An inch and a half deeper than what Southwest Airlines allows – and two and a half inches deeper than American Airlines allows??? – but smaller in height and width. (Nobody tell them.) This bag is the only one of the three with expensive valuables, aka…
- DSLR camera, including lenses, memory cards, and accessories
- Audio recording equipment, including microphones and accessories
- External hard drives
This bag will essentially be permanently attached to me – thanks to the waist and chest buckles – from Portland to Casablanca. No theft here.
Bag 2 (24″L x 16″W x 8″D)
Checked bag 1/2. The bag that goes with me to training. It’ll include most of my clothes, towel, some toiletries, bed sheets, office supplies, shoes (like my new, unofficially-required Chacos), and a small jar of honey. This last is a gift for my host family.
This bag flies free on Southwest and on American! Cha-ching!
Bag 3 (27″L x 18.5″W x 9.5″D)
Checked bag 2/2. The bag I’m leaving in Peace Corps storage in Rabat (see Bad Dreams), meaning it won’t have anything I will need for the three months of training. Bye bye, hiking boots, kitchen utensils, a couple pots, room decorations, and cleaning supplies. I’ll place some of my more wintry clothing in here because training ends in early December when my bag and I will be reunited.
I’ll keep a second jar of honey in this bag for my second host family in my permanent site.
This bag flies free on Southwest! Hooray! It costs $100 on American. Boo! This ultimately shouldn’t be a problem, however. Simply showing the desk agent some of my PC documentation should waive the fee. If not, PC will reimburse me.
Bonus: personal item
My camera tripod in its carrying case. It’ll probably hang out next to my feet during the flights, but if I can manage to get it in the overhead bins… again, don’t tell my airlines.
Although I have never really had issues with packing for extended international trips, this time is different. It is more difficult knowing that I’m moving to another country rather than visiting. It is more difficult to decide what stays and what goes. It is more difficult having to leave certain things behind, things that I want but don’t need.
It’s gratifying to have trouble fitting my life into three bags. It’s disappointing that I can actually accomplish it.