When packing for our trip to Cyprus, we knew that we would only take the bare necessities with us. We were allotted one bag per person at 50 lbs. maximum per bag. With four airline tickets, that gave us a total of four bags to take to Cyprus. Because the airlines lowered the weight limit to 50 pounds, we couldn’t accomplish our goal. It was a complete failure. We ended up with:
6 bags (checked-in)
1 roll on carry on
2 adult backpacks
1 kid backpack
1 booster car seat
(Photos Above: These photos were taken back in November 2012, when we were packing for our trip to Greece. It just goes to show you how even our younger one loves to help us pack with less.)
We packed and repacked up until the night before we left. After all, we wanted to squeeze in a pack-n-play, portable high chair, and booster car seat for the kids.
For our adult clothing, we packed about two week’s worth of clothes in summer wear and about a weeks’ worth of winter wear. We packed as much as possible in clothing for the kids, since they can easily go through clothing in a matter of weeks or months.
In hindsight, we might have needed to pack a few more summer and winter outfits. We were basically wearing the same clothes week in and week out wearing down our clothes as they baked in the sun and leaving any sense of fashion and style out the window.
Then there were other things that I know we didn’t need to pack:
– three tubes of toothpaste
– extra packs of floss
– extra toiletries
– coloring books
– a few kid art supplies
– scotch tape
I know, I know. It’s not like we wouldn’t be able to buy these things when we got to Cyprus, but I had a left over stash from my couponing days, and it would just be sitting in storage and unused at the house for over ten months. Additionally, our information packet said that children’s clothing, shoes, supplies were much more expensive than in the States. I’ve seen coloring books much like the ones seen at Target for five to ten times more than what you pay in the dollar section. We’re talking the equivalent of spending $10 for a $1 coloring book! Yikes!
Here’s something else we learned when packing for Cyprus, there is no Korean grocery store in Cyprus. (There is a Chinese grocery store in Nicosia, but it is not the same.) We thought we would mail a few packages of 김 (roasted seaweed), Spam, 간장 (soy sauce), 참기름 (sesame oil seasoning), 라면 (ramen noodles), and a few other things. I tried to mail six small packages from USPS, and it turned out to be one of the most expensive shipments I had ever seen! (Shipping to an island in the Mediterranean is not easy.) We squeezed those packets of dried goods into our luggage, and it made it through Customs.
In the end, it all worked out. We’ll be leaving with less stuff, giving away our baby gear to families who could use a pack-n-play, portable high chair, and booster car seat. (Baby gear/items in Cyprus are astronomically expensive because they are imported from overseas.) We learned that we are able to live on less and with less. It’s been a valuable lesson on changing the way we live and save financially, so we can spend more time seeing beautiful historic sites around the world.
The question will be if we can continue on this trajectory towards living with less and learning to live life more – seeing people, culture, and sites in a more open-minded way each and everyday. One other person did, as a friend of ours shared the NYTimes article on her Facebook page.
How about you? Whether you’re home or abroad, are there things you would like to lighten the load to free yourself of stuff and to live life more fully?