Packing light: My 50th birthday present to myself
I’ve always been an over-packer when traveling, due to being concerned that I might need something at my fingertips when across the globe, usually in rural Turkey (where I’ve travelled 12 times with way too much luggage!).
However, as I approached my 50th birthday, realizing that the bucket list must be implemented post-haste, I decided to be kind to my body and my mind via packing light.
In order to test out this new modus operandi, Murat and I decided to journey around mostly northern Scotland with good friends. This trip’s geography necessitates packing for early springtime with lots of rain and at its worst 40°F weather on the Shetland Islands to the potential for 80°F days in the city of Glasgow. A perfect challenge!
Being a researcher, I began this process by looking into how women pack light. There are a plethora of blog posts and even blog sites on this topic, but my favorite is: Her Packing List. Through this site, I found my holy grail of a bag, the PacSafe Vibe 40L Weekender Backpack – which allows for way more than a weekend’s worth of stuff! It also boasts a steel mesh eco-skeleton under the “skin” of the pack and in the straps to stop anyone keen to slash or cut it. It is comfortable to wear for me at 5 feet, 9 inches, although I hear the straps are too long for women who are on the shorter side. I also bought a matching hobo bag as a purse. Don’t judge, I like matching things.
So, after finding the bag, I commenced planning what to put in the bag. I started by reading a post on what to pack for Edinburgh’s fringe festival and added warm weather gear on to that. Here’s what I ended up with:
Contents of hobo purse from PacSafe:
Light laptop & charger (Apple)
iPhone & charger
Pill containers (special for travel)
Light jeans (Jag)
Cotton leggings (Garnet Hill)
Jeggings (J. Jill denim)
Black knit miniskirt (J. Jill wearever travel knit)
Black tunic (J. Jill wearever travel knit)
Teal tunic (Same as above)
Black t-shirt (Same as above)
Patterned silk tunic (“Edna” from Boden)
Patterned dress/tunic (“Mollie” from Boden)
Vintage grey t-shirt
3 pairs of shoes:
Merino wool All birds runners (fast dryers)
Gladiator sandals (Gentle Souls from Nordstrom, amazing for walking yet still cute)
Intimates & accessories;
Light cotton pajama top & bottom that can be used as clothing too (Garnet Hill)
4 quick-dry underwear (New Balance)
3 bras (one sporty, two regular underwire boob torturers)
2 pairs quick-dry socks (Fazitrip)
2 light silk/cotton scarves
Silver stud earrings
Silver everyday necklace
Small leather purse
Light parka (Cosima by Ex Officio at Travelsmith)
Fleece vest (Columbia)
1 pashmina scarf
L.L. Bean “around town” raincoat (squishable)
Lunatec quick drying washcloth (I don’t buy the idea that it is self-cleaning though)
Shampoo & conditioner, travel sized
Hair product, travel sized
Q-tips, travel sized
SPF-15 Moisturizer, travel sized
Bar of soap, travel sized
Toothpaste, travel sized
Toothbrush (carried by Murat)
Aquaphor, travel sized
Travel blow-dryer (Company)
I’m so pleased with the outcome
of this experiment – I can’t wait to take it on the road!
What are your favorite ways to pack light? Leave a comment below!