Euro-chic nights in Florence. Bush camping in the Serengeti. Mountain trekking in the Himalayas. Volunteering on the Equator. How the hell are you supposed to pack for that sort of RTW trip? Well, it involved a lot of research and pondering, but I managed to make a list of items I couldn't leave home without. In a 50 liter Deuter backpack, I loaded up my heart and soul, and some assorted accessories, for a seven month jaunt. My main compass for the packing came from overlanding guides in Africa and what they considered to be essential.

This list was last altered in May of 2008 before disembarking. The additions in red are hindsight recommendations.

Big Journey Packing List

aloe - never used...but could have
bandanna - waste of space
bathing suit - should have brought a more heavy duty one
big rubber band - rarely used as a form of small space exercise
blackberry, charger and adapters
books (11) - where was Kindle when I needed it? I don't regret bringing these though.
CDs (3) - didn't need on overlanding trucks because of iPod hook-up
chapstick (2)
cipro (for travelers diarrhea)
clear make-up bags - wonderful for keeping toiletries and electronic accessories together and rather water-proof
clock or use phone - used phone
cold meds
comfy bra - indeed useful
cords and connectors for camera
Nikon D50 SLR
D50 charger and backup battery
day bag - make sure it's durable and a quality brand
lady things...ask if you're curious
doxycycline - malaria prophalaxis, which I replaced taking in Africa with being extra careful
duct tape
fleece and rain jacket
hair things and bobby pins
hard drive (external) - the perfect alternative for a laptop
hat - only needed in cold places and could have bought there
head lamp - oh, that's essential
headphones (2)
iPod camera connector
iPod charger and cord
journals - one of the three or four most precious items I carried with me
laundry bags (2) - sleeping bag cover doubled as a fine laundry receptacle
long-sleeved shirt (2)
maletonin - absolutely essential
mini maglite - no
minimal make-up
mosquito net (buy in Nairobi) - could have bought but didn't need to because it was in the tent
mosquito repellent - Off orange with 25% deet. Get ready to be crazy!
nail clippers
notebook - for keeping notes and evacuation plans, practical stuff
oral dehydration salts - didn't bring and needed at a few points
pants (black or sweats) - sweats are a home luxury, but black, versatile, and light pants are always on my list
pens (3)
pepcid AC
pepto bismol tablets - holla!
purell or wipes
rain cover for bag - didn't have but could have used
retractable cable lock - needed a few times but always seemed to find a trustworthy person to watch my bag
sandals - either splurge on Rainbows or buy on the road
sarong - acted as a perfect, quick-drying towel
scarf - a good pashmina can be warming or even spruce up the most dingy outfit
scrub brush and detergent - just used an old toothbrush and shampoo
sewing kit
shirt (purple, stripes, or button up) - good for Italy and useless everywhere else, sent them home or gave them away
shorts - gave away and bought some boardshorts on the road in Uganda
sleep sheet - buy a light, quality one that compacts to nothing
sleeping Bag - only for overlanding, then drop it like it's far too warm
sleeping Mat - again, just for overlanding, but you can buy foam on the road
small camera
small camera charger
smart wool socks + 2 pair socks - stick with the Smart Wools, brilliant and worth every penny
soap/shampoo - if you use conditioner at home, there's probably a reason why you shouldn't stop using it
sports bra (2)
stickers - for kids, but stupid. Give 'em time and energy, instead.
sunglass wipe
sunglasses - I've had RayBans for two years, and they refuse to quit.
swiss army knife
toilet paper - get en route obviously
towel or shammy (viscose) - no
trekking shoes - do not scrimp here - Merrell is awesome
t-shirts (3) - exchange on the go for a new wardrobe every couple months
tylenol PM
underwear (5) - clean after use in the shower
USD (crisp) in many denominations
zip off pants - never found these to be worth the ridicule

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