14 April 2013

the crazy thing

Absolute Peace Corps

the things i carried

Before I get into it, know that I was not asked to write about packing suggestions for incoming Volunteers by any committees or staff members in Peace Corps Ethiopia. I know there is an entire sea of blogs to navigate, many of which will offer packing suggestions of some sort, as well as information sent to you directly by Peace Corps. However, I have been keeping a running list of “the things I’m most thankful for having brought” and have shared all or some of that information with a couple PCVs-to-be, so I figured I’d go ahead and make it accessible by all. I’m sure it’s also at least somewhat insightful for the many friends and family who would frequently ask, “So, how do you pack for two years” in the months before my departure (to which I would often respond, “Well, it’s actually 27 months, so…”)

Another factoid to have in mind before perusing my suggestions is that, out of a group of 70 people, I far and away hauled the heaviest packing load, coming in right around 200 pounds. There are few things in that mass that I regret bringing, so narrowing it down to “the most essential” items was a bit of a challenge. On that note, also know that it was no big deal for me to exceed the PC-recommended luggage weight limit. I had to pay for the extra weight, and it was a bit of a hassle moving it around a few times during training, but it was worth it. So if you think you might be an overpacker (quite the other end of the spectrum from the “one baggers” in our midst), be prepared to pony up the fees.  

Finally, to give credit where credit is due, I found Mike Waidmann’s packing list to be the most helpful during my preparations. Mike completed his service in the Fall of 2012, and is now back in the magical land known as America. You’ll notice plenty of similarities between his list and the one you’re about to ignore. Thanks Mike!