Both Brett and I are pretty much done putting our travel wardrobes together. Other than a couple of pair of shoes for Brett we’re done thinking about, looking at, and buying clothes and shoes to take on the Big Adventure.
During our travels we will be experiencing every season, from transitional winter-to-spring weather in both South America and Japan, to fall and winter temperatures in Europe, India, Japan, and the mainland, and hot, hot summer weather in Australia and probably New Zealand, with everything in between. In my case, while I have tried to stay within certain color palettes, I also have tried to keep some variety so that I don’t get bored with everything half-way through the journey, and want to go and spend more on something new. I’m proud that with the exception of two pairs of Skechers, every item of clothing I’m taking will either be things I already own, or were bought on deep discount/sale or with a coupon.
The week before last I rounded everything up and put it all into my suitcase to be weighed using the handy-dandy hanging scale Brett received for Christmas. It all surprisingly didn’t fill the suitcase, and the total weight for all my clothes was an even more surprising 35 pounds, nine pounds (give or take a few ounces) less than the 44-pound limit we’ve given ourselves. I was sure my suitcase was going to be massively overweight, so the weight was happy news. There’s still room for a pillow, and maybe a few toiletries and/or gifts (although those will most likely go into my backpack).
I started with 13 fall-winter-spring tops, but after I took this picture I removed two (the gray shirt at the top of the left column, and the blue shirt second from the top in the middle row) and set them aside – I’ve had them for a while and realized I’m just not very fond of them, and they probably wouldn’t get worn much, if at all. As you might guess, my color themes are blue and black. The denim shirt in the upper right is actually a tunic, to be worn with leggings. Because of their weight, I’m only taking along two sweaters – a light blue kimono-style cotton sweater, and the chunky cotton navy blue & cream striped rollneck.
These are all my lightweight spring and summer tops. The two pieces on the left (white cotton shirt and black linen top) are both tunics – and are a little dressier than the rest. All the other tops are cotton or linen, and are lightweight and easy to care for. The blue flowered shirt at the bottom of the middle row is the one I just bought on sale at Blue Ginger. I also have the two tops below coming from J. Jill – a white linen shirt, and a cream sleeveless knit tunic with a black vine print. I’m also taking a black sleeveless t-shirt, but I was wearing it when I took the picture.
My favorite travel pants are L.L. Bean’s Perfect Fit Pants (on the left) – I’m taking three pairs of black, one pair of charcoal gray, and one pair of navy blue. They are super comfortable and can be worn both casually or dressed up. For warm weather I’m taking four pairs of J. Jill’s easy linen cropped pants, in black, blue, natural and white (I wear them everyday here) and a pair of Gap light sage green cotton pants that I bought at a thrift store and can finally fit into again. The legs can be worn down or rolled up to make capris. I’m also taking a three-season knit maxi skirt and two pairs of black leggings.
Four pieces of cold-weather outerwear are going along on the Adventure: a plum quilted car coat; a lightweight (but very warm) black jacket; a denim jacket; and a lightweight (but very warm) spring green vest. Spring green is one of my favorite colors, and I always try to take along at least one thing in that color when I travel. The vest and black jacket weigh next to nothing, a good thing because the other two pieces are a bit heavier.
Brett has started calling me Imelda because I’m taking along five pairs of shoes (although I’ll always be wearing one pair): Two pairs of Skechers for walking (navy blue and black), a pair of comfy gray suede Skecher loafers, super comfortable Scandinavian black clogs, and a pair of sparkly silver Mephisto Helen sandals. All the shoes are lightweight – each pair of the Skechers weighs only 10 ounces.
I’m taking just a few accessories: three scarves, five pairs of earrings and four necklaces, including my 22″ string of pearls for when I feel like dressing up. I’ll also be wearing my Chinese jade bangle and my silver bracelet from Arizona – both were gifts from Brett and I never take them off. The light gray-blue scarf in back is made from bamboo, and is quite warm; the indigo and black checked ones are only for a little flair.
It all seems like so much, maybe too much, but then again we will be traveling for nearly a year and through many different types of weather and a variety of venues and experiences, from hikes to high tea. Forty years ago, when I was pregnant with our son, I had around seven or eight maternity outfits, and by the time our son arrived I was so completely sick of them all that all I wanted to do was set them on fire and roast marshmallows over their flames – and I only wore those clothes for around five months! I took that memory into consideration when deciding how much to pack for this trip.
All total though there are less than 40 pieces of clothing, and including the shoes it doesn’t weigh anywhere near what I thought it would. I rationalize that we will be staying in most places long enough to be able unpack and will appreciate having the variety. In my wildest dreams though I cannot imagine living out of a backpack for a year with somewhere between 15-20 pieces of clothing like I’ve read about online.
Brett and I will be dividing our clothes between our two suitcases, so if one gets lost or damaged someone won’t lose all their clothes. Plus, we will both be carrying at least one outfit in our backpacks in case our luggage is lost or delayed, and wearing one, so that will help keep the weight down as well.
In a couple of weeks I’ll post what Brett’s taking. I can guarantee it’s going to be a lot less than what you see here.