Vagabond Voyeur

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Vagabond Packing

VAGABOND BREAKDOWN

What the hell does a fashion-obsessed, accessories-addicted, layering-inclined wardrobe stylist and chronic lifelong over-packer bring on a 10-month journey around the world? Simple question, highly complicated answer.

I knew I’d be on my own carrying my shit on and off trains, buses, and boats, up and down urban staircases, across sand dunes, over dirt roads and onto some teeny tiny airplanes. This meant one thing: pack light.

Luckily, or strategically perhaps, we mapped a route that would follow endless summer: South America from January until early April; Israel and Turkey in April and May; Europe for the summer; and Southeast Asia in September and October. Accordingly, fewer layers would be needed and lighter weight items would be better.

That said, choosing just a few shirts and a couple pairs of pants to wear for a nearly an entire year on the road seemed entirely beyond the realm of doable—let alone the shoe situation! (I honestly still can’t get too deep into the struggle on the footwear front or I will slip into "footwear withdrawal depression," which just isn’t a good place to be). I realized I would have to change my entire mentality around getting dressed. Rather than sartorializing my mood, I’d be suiting up for practicality. Habits like switching outfits four times in a day and discovering new print-mix combos in front of a full-length mirror would of course cease to exist. Same with cathartic vintage shopping, wearing-heels-and-taking-a-cab, obscene necklace stacking, rocking neckties, acid washing my t-shirts, and pretty much every other activity I live for when it comes to clothes. A bigger picture was starting to form: this journey, and the challenge to appropriately pack for it, would force me to redefine the outward expression of who I am. Was I ready for this minimalist, functionality-focused style makeover??! 

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I get ideas about what’s essential when packing my suitcase.
— Diane von Furstenberg
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After countless hours of research and some pretty crazy looking mind maps, my 10 Commandments of Packing became clear:

  1. Every item must be incredibly multifunctional. Every. Single. Item.
  2. A tight color palette is key to ensuring everything works interchangeably and in harmony.
  3. Keep the prints to a minimum and prioritize solids (oh so hard for me, as anyone who’s seen my closet knows). Textured solids for a little extra fun.
  4. Textiles matter. For example, Gore-Tex, waterproof shoes would take me so much further on a wet Amazon hike than my flossy Air Max 90s. Sad but true. 
  5. Strategic layering options are fundamental. You never know when a cold gust of Peruvian wind will blow through the room! (But I had already mastered this one after 5 years in San Francisco)
  6. Accessories must be minimal and democratic. Nothing expensive, nothing fussy, nothing I’d get sick of wearing.
  7. Skincare and bathroom comfort is a non-negotiable. Elusive toiletries would travel with me.
  8. Modular packing is everything. The ability to easily pack, re-pack and quickly find something specific would save hours and so much frustration.
  9. When it doubt, leave it at home.
  10. Save room for shopping!!! DUH.

So without further adieu, I present to you my complete packing list—additions, addendums and all. 

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Bottoms:

  • 1 x tight jeans
  • 1 x boyfriend jeans
  • 1 x knit harem pants
  • 1 x perfect vintage Levi’s cutoff shorts
  • 1 x printed skater skirt
  • 1 x black knit romper
  • 1 x Aztec jumper (I know, breaking multiple rules with this one)
  • 1 x dressy black silk jumper
  • 1 x printed quick-dry fashion shorts
  • 1 pair x Nike running shorts

Tops:

  • 1 x perfect white tank
  • 1 x perfect black tank
  • 1 x perfect gray tee
  • 1 x blue and white striped pocket tee
  • 1 x vintage “Philly” tee
  • 1 x vintage printed blouse
  • 1 x dressy black cami
  • 1 x plaid flannel
  • 1 x lightweight cotton navy hoodie
  • 1 x perfect gray hoodie
  • 1 x black maxi dress

Undergarments:

  • 3 pairs x Icebreaker “anti-bacterial” quick-dry undies (Sounds gross, but so legit)
  • 4 x other undies
  • 2 x bathing suits
  • 3 x athletic socks
  • 1 x wool socks
  • 2 x bras
  • 1 x sports bra
  • 1 x cotton pajama romper

Shoes:

  • 1 pair x Nike Gore-Tex “Wildhorse GTX” sneakers
  • 1 pair x Native rubber “chucks”
  • 1 pair x flip-flops
  • 1 pair x fashion sandals

Accessories:

  • 2 x amazing necklaces made for me by Mandy Black
  • 1 x everyday gold necklace
  • 1 x silver bar stud earrings
  • 1 x silver arrow bracelet
  • 1 x headband/turban
  • 1 x foldable red panama hat
  • 1 x baseball cap
  • 1 x sunglasses
  • 1 x reading glasses

Outerwear:

  • 1 x Columbia breathable waterproof rain jacket

Electronics:

  • 1 x Macbook Air
  • 1 x Canon T1i DSLR camera
  • 1 x iPhone 5s
  • 1 x headlamp
  • 1 x Kindle

Bags:

  • 1 x Osprey “Sojourn” 60L hybrid backpack with wheels
  • 1 x Herschel “Pop Quiz” backpack
  • 1 x Pendleton purse
  • 6 x eBags brand assorted size nylon/mesh compartments for modular packing
  • 1 x eBags brand pack-flat toiletry case 
  • 1 x Chico packable tote

Critical Odds & Ends:

  • 1 x sleep sheet (like a sleeping bag made of sheets) 
  • 1 x REI XXL quick-dry towel
  • 1 x REI XS quick-dry towel
  • 1 x Clearly Filtered water bottle (can make even water from a river safe for drinking!)
  • 1 x rain cover for backpack
  • 1 x umbrella
  • 1 x velcro clothesline
  • 1 x camping spork
Purchased: plaid jacket

Purchased: plaid jacket

Purchased: woven oxfords

Purchased: woven oxfords

Purchases:

  • 1 x rash guard for surfing (Costa Rica)
  • 7 x string bracelets (several from each country)
  • 1 x navy blue alpaca wool cardigan (Peru)
  • 1 x woven fabric swatch (Peru)
  • 1 x alpaca wool scarf (Peru)
  • 1 x alpaca wool beanie
  • 3 x silver rings (Colombia & Peru)
  • 1 x amazing Marie Cher t-shirt dress (Argentina)
  • 1 x vintage leather belt (Argentina)
  • 1 x new bathing suit (Argentina)
  • 1 x KSK denim jacket (Argentina)
  • 1 x insanely amazing plaid varsity jacket (Argentina) 
  • 1 x new Infinit sunnies (Argentina)
  • 2 x cotton crop tops (Argentina)

Sent Home:

  • 1 x lightweight cotton navy hoodie
  • 1 x old sunnies
  • 1 x old bathing suit
  • 2 x t-shirts
  • 1 x alpaca wool scarf
  • 1 x alpaca wool beanie