Over the last two and a half years, I have spent a lot of time packing, unpacking and repacking my belongings.
For purposes of open-ended travel, you need considerably more than you would on vacation, but considerably less than you would to live somewhere permanently. It’s a fine line, and one that I’m constantly trying to reevaluate in order to make the most of my limited space, possessions and money.
What to Bring
Since we do not have predetermined housing set up when we arrive on Bali, it’s important that we only bring enough luggage to easily carry around with us, at least until we pick a town to live in and find somewhere a little more permanent to call home. That means packing as little as possible, but still enough to live comfortably on for at least a month or two until we have the option of shipping additional items to ourselves.
It sounds simple, but gets considerably more complicated depending on what you like to do during your open-ended travels – as a writer, I really only need a laptop, iPhone, notepad and chargers. My boyfriend, however, always likes to bring at least one camera, underwater housing, lights, lenses, chargers, batteries, memory cards, carrying cases, tripod, laptop, hard drives, dry bags, fins, mask, wetsuit, and probably lots more items.
That’s a lot of fragile material that we’ll be forced to carry around on our backs, and that doesn’t even include any of our personal belongings we’ll need on a daily basis, like clothing, toiletries, shoes, backpacks, important documents, etc. When moving, we typically even bring other useful items like our projector, which we use as a TV, and small items like reusable water bottles, towels, and camping hammocks. For our move to Bali, we’ll either have to squeeze them in, leave them with friends or family members to send when we have a viable shipping address, or sell/store them and buy replacements when we get there.
The baggage limit for most international flights is one to two checked bags (50lbs max) and two carry-ons, and while it’s tempting to use every inch of that allotted space and weight, we’re going to do our best to keep it at a minimum.
What to Leave
In the meantime, we will begin selling a huge portion of our current belongings on Maui, including our car, scooter, furniture, beach gear, dishes, cookware, artwork, and tons of other items, and simply donate/give away the rest. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it, but that’s the life of a slow traveler, and it actually is a nice feeling to get rid of nearly everything you own.
Perks of Packing for Bali
Three things are in our financial advantage for this particular move.
- 1) Furnished housing seems common, meaning we probably won’t need to worry about buying (or bringing) a ton of basic household items
- 2) The cost of common, everyday items are typically much lower than on Maui, so if we really need to buy certain things after we arrive, it should be a fairly painless process
- 3) We will most likely need to rent a scooter, but won’t need a car for transportation, which is a giant expense I’ll be glad to get rid of, to be honest.
When all else fails, leave the gun, take the cannoli.