Pick. Iron. Fold. Pack. And repeat.
The London Maymester: Community Life Documented, was my first opportunity to travel to Europe, but I was no stranger to packing. My childhood consisted of skyrocketing across the blue skies to various places in the US, snacking on dry plane pretzels, and being patted down by TSA because my hair was “suspicious.” However, this time, my flying experience was going to be different. When my professor announced to our Community Life Documented Class that we needed to pack “light,” meaning only one week’s worth of clothes, I giggled. She couldn’t be serious, right? I consider myself a “fashionista” of some sort, and why should my style streak stop when I travel to another country? If I was planning to utilize my time in Europe and travel to other countries, (which I highly suggest), I felt the need to dress for the occasion. With that being stated, I had to refocus my priorities to figure out the exact circumstance.
In my situation, I knew that I’d be making a documentary, which meant walking and traveling more than the average study abroad student. There was no need for me to pack cute flats or uncomfortable sandals because my main goal is to film promptly without the hassle of foot cramps and blisters. After packing a couple of days before takeoff, I finally realized the night before that perhaps I didn’t need as many clothing pieces as I thought. Was it about looking super cute, or was it about being reasonable? After all, I would have to carry this luggage across an airport I had never been to before, and I knew that I wanted to bring back plenty of souvenirs.
It was a sacrifice I was willing to take, and so far, I haven’t regretted packing light. You’re probably thinking, how did this girl who claims to be a “fashionista,” pack light? Well, with a little a patience and rational thinking, I combined multiple shirts with a few pairs of bottoms. I arranged the outfits on how they could be worn multiple times without looking the same. For example, with one red skirt, I was able to match three different, colored t-shirts. While the “studying” aspect is the most crucial goal of the trip, it’s okay to plan for fun times. I realized that I needed to pack a pair of heels and a few dresses; however, I didn’t need to pack too many “night-out” outfits. Why? Well, after weighing the odds, I realized I could potentially find something fancier in Europe than in my closet. Sure, I want to look nice, but I also want to embrace every aspect of Europe, including the parts I can physically take home (shopping).
In the end, packing light is packing right, and it has been one of the most efficient decisions I’ve made thus far on this journey. It’s a learning lesson that still comes with its ups and downs. Despite packing light, I regret not adding a heavier jacket or coat. Yes, this would’ve taken up more space in my suitcase; however, I am freezing in the brisk air of London, England. Well, at least I can now say I’ll be purchasing my first ever jacket from the UK….
This post was contributed by Faith Castle, a 2019 Global Ambassador majoring in journalism.
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