Thoughts on Packing for Three Months in a Backpack

Today, I stared at a backpack.

It was given to me, and it was going to work. No matter that the packing list recommended an eighty-litre pack, and this one was fifty litres. No matter that I don’t have a compression sack, and my sleeping bag was taking up half the volume. No matter, no matter. Everything I needed would have to fit in this backpack.

If it didn’t fit, then I didn’t need it.

I had packing cubes, but they were already tearing apart at the seams, having been stuffed one too many times. Would the mesh last for three more months? Three more months, one backpack. Go for minimalism, I told myself. Just wear the same clothes over and over.

I stared at the pile of shirts.

I smell, you know. I am a sweaty, stinky human. I can rarely wear shirts more than one day in a row, especially in the company of Americans, who have a strange preoccupation with body odour, and in whose company I would be. I needed to pack more deodorant. I packed six shirts.

I needed pants. I don’t really own pants. I wear long skirts and dresses, so my mother gave me a pair of old hiking pants she doesn’t wear. They have become my only pants, and I folded them on top of my skirts. I wonder how often I’ll actually wear them, but regardless: I am the proud owner of a pair of pants.

Once packed, I strapped the backpack to my back, and stand there, just wearing it. I didn’t go anywhere, didn’t even bother to walk around the house. I’ve always liked the feeling of backpacks. I stood there for a few minutes, feeling it. You have to meet a new backpack, you know, get acquainted. 

“Nice to meet you,” I told the backpack.
“You too,” she replied.
“Three months…” I trailed off, unsure of myself. “Are you ready for this?”
“Don’t worry. I got you.”

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