Blog: The Joy of Packing

fullsizeoutput_d2fSo it begins, I am packing for a semester studying abroad in Europe and I am a wreck. It’s terrible, I’m like a human natural disaster destroying everything I touch. Call me Hurricane Amy, the Great Tornado of ‘AC, or Cyclone Downing (also applicable to any of my three brothers). How is it possible that I have so many things to bring? Of course that is what everyone says, and now I know why.

I didn’t face such an issue when I was packing for a several month trip to India, but I guess I didn’t really care about rotating three outfits for a semester when constantly carrying all my belongings on my back. Seeing as I don’t have to do that in Europe, I’m going to have to up my game… up my game and pay out the ass in baggage fees. I’ve been to Europe a couple of times before, but never for so long. This changes things a little bit, because suddenly there are so many possessions I can’t bear to part from. I know I should bite the bullet and leave some less-than-necessary things behind, but knowing me I’ll probably regret not having:

  • Just add water pancake mix
  • Peanut butter
  • Cleats
  • That dress I haven’t ever worn but probably should bring anyway
  • The shoes that match that dress that I also have never worn but can’t not take if I’m taking the dress

Wow, I’m looking at this list and realizing how odd my priorities are. Anyway, packing sucks and none of the online “How to Pack for Studying Abroad” blogs really help that much. In reality everyone is different and are going to take what is important to them, even if it is pancake mix. Although I would say that pancake mix is a packing essential when going to live in Europe. Here are several reasons why:

  • There are no “American pancakes” in Europe, so you have to BYOP
  • It will be so nice to have a food that reminds you of home
  • There is no better cure for hangovers than pancakes
  • Just add water, JUST ADD WATER, it’s a domestic miracle
  • You can make pancakes for all your new European friends and they’ll think you’re so exotic and cool
  • Everyone who isn’t partaking in the pancakes will be jealous and they should be, because it’s their own damn fault for not bringing pancake mix

Okay, okay I recognize that this is ridiculous, but I still stand by all of my points. On a more serious note, when traveling it is so easy to pop into a grocery store and get simple things like toothpaste, shampoo, or deodorant. All of the blogs told me not to bring superfluous quantities of these items, which I agree with, unless you’re picky about your beauty products. You can’t go to Europe expecting their toothpaste is going to bleach your teeth to an absurd white, or that their hair products will make you look like Farrah Fawcett. If these things are important to you, then you must bring or own.

But as I’m packing I am reminding myself that it doesn’t really matter thaaat much. At the end of the day I’ll always pay a mint for my bags and end up buying totally new stuff anyway. These socks are better because I’m getting them in Europe! – Me about everything I buy in Europe, because really they have the exact same stuff as we do in the states. Except pancake mix. I rest my case.

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