Packing for World Travel... with a Baby.
Years ago, I discarded of all my belongings, sold my possessions except for a few guitars and moved to Germany. I had somehow managed to whittle my life down to one Osprey backpack. Since then I’ve enjoyed an existence of almost complete minimalism, living in the clear modern lines of German design and blaming any clutter on my husband’s semi-creepy collection of Yemeni jambaya swords on the bookshelf.
Now we have a baby daughter and are embarking on a 5-month Round the World trip, so the stakes have been raised. Toys, diapers, backup onesies for every day emergencies, blankets, thingamabobs, sippy cups, the list as you can imagine goes on. And on. And endless stream of things I’m determined to streamline, not only for peace of mind but because we can't fit it all into a bag!
So how have I streamlined it? I asKED 3 questions:
1. Is it muLtifunctional?
2. Is it thoughtfully-made?
3. Does it "spark Joy"?
Ok, so I nabbed that last one from my sister who introduced me to Marie Kondo, a woman after my own heart with her system of organizing & minimal living. By keeping only possessions that "spark joy" life is a lot more simple. My friends know I'm no fan of shopping. (If I could live in one functional outfit every day, I would). So if I'm buying anything, I want to acquire good quality, long-lasting products made with ta lot of love. Or ingenuity.
Here is my list. It's based on 5 months through various climates & toting an 8 month old baby along:
1. BAGS & ORGANIZERS Osprey Meridian Wheeled Backpack / Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW Camera Bag, Backpack, Weekender. Doubles as a daypack and overnight pack when we need to drop our larger bags for smaller plane flights. / Fjallraven Totepack No. 1 diaper bag and tote, straps convert into a backpack. / Eagle Creek packing cubes / Flight 001 Seat Pak for makeup, headphones & other in-flight tech gear / Case Logic hard drive & cable organization / Eagle Creek money belt / Skip Hop Pronto! Diaper Changing Station / REI RFID wallet to protect from identity theft.
2. TRANSPORT Mountain Buggy Nano 13 lb stroller that folds into one carry-on piece. We needed something small for the off-the-grid flights, and are opting instead to rent a car seat. Kindercarry structured carrier / Didymos woven wrap / Sakura Bloom ring sling / Mountain Buggy Pod High Chair.
3. WEAR A combination of Icebreaker merino wool tops & dresses, Athleta trekkie jogger pants, Patagonia underwear & sports bra, BOOB Design nursing bra, Imse Vimse organic washable nursing pads, Lululemon wrap, top & flying pants, Wallaroo UPF packable Panama hat, Madewell Chambray shirt, Nuroo Nursing Scarf also as blanket, sunshield & throw, Teva Terra Lites, Adidas shoes & Van Linens. For cold weather: Baubax Kickstarter 15- feature bomber jacket, Adidas windbreaker & jeans. SUN L Space bikini, rash guard, Headhunter & Neutrogena 110 SPF sunscreen.
4. FOR BABY Lotions & Potions: Coconut oil, Dr. Bronner's Unscented Castille Soap, Punkin Butt Teething Oil & Arnica, Booty Balm, Nose Frida, Baby Motrin & Cold Tablets, Nasal Spray, Neosporin, Babyganics Bugspray, Thermometer/ In Sun: Flap Happy SPF Hat, Coolibar SPF Sunsuit, swim diaper, Mustachifier sunglasses, Badger Sunscreen. / Clothes: An assortment of tops, bottoms & onesies that can be mixed and matched. Full coverage super light long-sleeved tops for the sun.
5. TECH & CAMERA GEAR: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 bridge camera- super light and don't need to swap out lenses while carrying a baby. I'll write another post on the camera later. / Macbook Air / Transcend Rugged external drive.
I also wanted to give a few shoutouts to the ladies who helped me on my way with finding the right gear::
Wild Was Mama: I may be privy because she’s my sister, but Adriane has translated a passion for childbirth, women and parenting into one of the most word-of-mouth resources in NYC. Her modus operandi is "less is more", or what would you do if you were stranded in the woods with your baby? She introduced me to woven wraps, carriers, quality nursing clothing and basic parenting techniques that are essential on the road and off. She challenged me to think about motherhood as an exercise in minimalism and the possibilities of using a few quality products for the long run.
The Adventures in Parenthood Project: I stumbled across Megan's site when googling “traveling to the South Pacific with a baby.” She had me at "carrier that doubles as a high chair.” (#multifunctionality win!) A Canadian and outdoor aficionado, Megan has a stellar list of essentials for babies on long term and adventure travel. She is thorough and is in line with thoughtful, natural products that fits with my ethos. She’s also a fantastic writer.
Her Packing List & Travel Fashion Girl: Ok, they aren’t my friends... yet, but they feel like it with their passion for functional travel for females. I won’t say I didn’t spend a few late nights scrolling through their sites with a Virgo's tenacity, satiating every packing desire. Travel Fashion Girl did the only great online discourse on travel pants for women and I found a handful of essential tips on Her Packing List with Nalgene tubes, small toothbrush holders and the many uses of duct tape on the road.
Almost Fearless: major travel inspiration, from writing to cooking to living abroad. Not only is Christine a friend of mine (I did a retreat with her last year), she’s a mom to soon-three, has a book coming out next month and has so many nuggets of wisdom from downsizing your camera to the Oaxacan school system. A force of nature.
Little Miss Bali: We are spending a month in Bali and Melissa divulged a wealth of information about Bali with kids- everything from baby gear rentals to babysitters on the island. I definitely plan on tracking her down when we get there.
I managed to fit my and my daughter's baggage into the same Osprey bag I brought over to Germany, so the circle is complete. Let's see how it fares...