Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Packing Up And Buggering Off (Again)

So I leave the country on Wednesday morning, yes, but I leave my house Tuesday afternoon, which means I need to have packed by then. Excellent. So far I've managed to put it off by doing as much as possible. I don't know why I hate packing so much (see my post from when I was packing last time around), I just do.

One thing I've been doing, and yeah I'm bragging a little bit here, is practising my photography with the snazzy little lens my boyfriend got me for my birthday. For example:

LOOK at that focus. That is sexy. I am a firm believer of my university's Photography Society's motto, 'it's not how big it is it's how you use it' (steady sailor, I'm actually talking about equipment - no, really, I mean lenses and all that jazz): in that if you can't use your camera, just getting a better lens or whatever won't magically make them better, but WOW my photos got a lot better with this lens!! Although I think it does also help that I've been improving a lot over the summer. Yay!

And reminiscent of my Italian summer, the day we went to the woods near me and got these photos happened to be the perfect time to spot all these fantastic fungi! I love this red one especially, my boyfriend (quite rightly) called them 'fairytale mushrooms' (haha). What even is there real name?

ANYWAY I'm supposed to be writing about packing. So here we go.

I'm mainly writing this as a guide to remind me how to pack for the next time I have to go through this bloody awful process, but maybe it'll help someone else with their packing at some point too.

You definitely want to begin at least a couple of days before your flight. For one, it gets it out of the way and for two, especially if you're like me and get distracted every five minutes, it leaves you plenty of time to get it done.

Okay, before you start, check out your chosen airline's baggage information - that's hand luggage and checked baggage allowances. Mine allows me 20kg of checked baggage (gulp) and 10kg of hand luggage (which I plan on using to the full). Bear this in mind whilst packing.

I'd also suggest getting some sort of idea of how many clothes you're going to take. I'm aiming for a two week rotation of clothes (including undies), since I know for a fact that I'll be going shopping while I'm there. That means taking fewer clothes that make up more outfits, yadda-yadda-ya. Boring, I know.

Optional: Make a list. Now, you don't need to list every single tshirt and detail every pair of pants you want to pack, but it may be as well to at least jot down things you do really need (or you're worried you'll forget) as you go along (for example - hair dryer (mini, guys), some breakfast tea, your grammar book from uni, the charger for your laptop). I've gone for somewhere in the middle, so my list details how many rolls of film, how many pairs of pants and which coat to take.

Step 1: Choose your weapons. That's your suitcase, hand luggage bag/suitcase, makeup and wash bags. I've got a big blue bugger for my checked baggage, a small suitcase for hand luggage, my favourite makeup bag and a cute wash bag with lots of pockets (a birthday present - thank you again if you're reading!!).

Step 2: Begin with the basics. Pants, bras, socks, tights, your pjs. Simple, easy, and takes up some space in your suitcase so it actually looks like you're getting somewhere - works with me anyway!

Step 3: Bulky or non-clothes items. I've added in my mini hairdryer, mini kettle (thank you Iona!), umbrella, camera and assorted accessories for now. Various chargers, my laptop, straighteners and shoes will come later.

Step 4: Clothes. As I'm trying to pack as lightly and carefully as possible, I'm picking what I can get the most outfits out of/what I really really want to take with me first, then adding in a couple of extras like a jumper or two.

Step 5: Toiletries and makeup. These will be packed into their bags but not actually packed into the suitcase until the last minute. I'll be cramming in as much of my makeup as humanly possible, but only taking essential toiletries and minis to tide me over when I'm there until I go out and buy some proper sized stuff. So for example on my 'essentials' list goes toothpaste, mini shampoo and conditioner, dry shampers, leave-in conditioner, moisturiser, the fancy-pants anti blemish solution, deodorant, makeup remover (to wipes or solution? That is the question) and my toothbrush.

Step 6: Home comforts. This is whatever you decide it to be: I am tea mad, so in goes the cute little tea caddy filled with all sorts of goodness that was a birthday present from my sister. I'll also pack a jar of Marmite, and probably some Hobnobs if there's room. But home comforts for me also includes a little decoration for my new room in Bologna, so I've sorted out a little envelope filled with photos and postcards to adorn the walls along with some bunting left over from my birthday party.

I was feeling pretty good as I tapped this 'guide' out on Sunday whilst throwing random items into my suitcase. I was feeling very grown up and adulty, here's Claud packing up and going off to a brand new uni ooh it's in a different country, so exciting!

And then I did something very....un-adulty. I cried my eyes out and wailed and buried my head under a pillow - and when that didn't seem to be helping, I went and found Mum downstairs, and had a cuddle and a cup of tea (watching Friends helped too). I was just feeling a bit pooey about going away, and she pointed out that I had felt exactly this way two years ago when I was getting ready to ship myself off to my first uni, which is in the tiny little city (if you can believe that's what it is) of Bangor. I did not want to go. But ya know what, turned out to be one of the best things I ever did do - and Freshers week 2012 has to be one of the best weeks of my life. Meeting people, a new place, a new room, new's all kind of the same but completely different, doesn't make much sense but it does (I am not being helpful am I). The bottom line is, I'm going to be fine, and freaking out and crying a little (alright, alright - a lot) doesn't mean all is not well and doom and gloom and etc.

It took me two days to pack, as here's the rest of this list:

Step 7: All the other stuff you've forgotten or haven't packed yet! This for me was my pocket dictionary, reading glasses, film for my camera (and the camera, unsurprisingly), and some other bits and bobs.
And finish! Yaaay! You should be all packed and ready now!'re not? Nah don't worry, me neither. So much for that! I hate packing.

I can imagine that this has been neither insightful nor helpful, so if you're going off on your own year abroad and are wanting for some extra tips, the website Third Year Abroad is all around fantastic help for us yearabroadians (technical term right there), but their section on packing did provide a little insight as to what exactly I need to take.


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