Carry That Weight
June 11, 2010, 5:52 AM
Filed under: PRE-TRIP JITTERS (Kenya 2010)

Hey friends.

I’m testing out a new strategy in preparing for my trip. I call it the “increments method.” Meaning I do everything in small, miniature parts so it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything at all. It follows the “slow and steady wins the race” philosophy. Perfect for those of you out there who really despise packing, just like I do. Packing really stresses me out. Maybe this time around I’m stressed mainly because I have zero idea how to pack for a two month trip not having a clue what to expect. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch, considering I have been provided with a packing list and I have some idea of what’s going on, but still. I was never one to follow packing lists anyway; 10 years of summer camp have taught me that 3 t-shirts and 5 pairs of socks (as dictated by the list) will last like three days instead of the four weeks that the “man” assumes those quantities can handle. I may or may not just identified the source to my chronic overpacking problem. May.

My new method prevents me from stressing about how exactly I’m going to fit everything I need to take into a backpack, because I only look at my gear for a few minutes at a time each day. It’s wonderful, really. I’ve been instructed that a hiking/backpacking backpack is my best bet, especially because the communities where I am working are not cut out for rolling suitcases (duh). So, hiking backpack it is. This will prevent me from making any impulse buys to shlep home like I did during my Tanzania trip (I bought a big djembe for those of you interested, getting that home is another story for another time). It’ll be like a real-life game of Tetris come Sunday night when I need to cram everything in there, but every increment that I spend staring at my pile of stuff and not doing anything about it, I end up finding another secret backpack compartment. Which then makes me breathe a baby-sized sigh of relief. Travelers are crafty.

I started perfecting this methodology back in February when I was first notified that I was accepted to my internship. Since I was at school, there were only small amounts of time I could devote to preparing everything that I needed to. Fortunately, I already had many of the vaccinations that I needed because I traveled to Tanzania in 2007, so I was pretty much covered in that department. Except for rabies shots, which were a nice addition to my vaccine resume because of the rurality of Kayafungo and possibility of interaction with rabid animals. Hence the shots. And those shots hurt. The 3-shot series is given with a beastly large needle which was utterly terrifying. Not to mention that there is a strict waiting period of a precise number of days between each shot. My very last shot, the one I could not miss for anything or all the panicking over needles would have been pointless, had to be administered on, wait for it, Georgetown Day. I guess it got me out of bed super early (try 6am early) to travel downtown, but it also simultaneously made me a little more than loopy during the day. Mix that with Georgetown Day festivities and it made for one pretty epic day full of many, many feelings. Sorry I partied.

The tiny mountains of unpacked clothing and gear aside, I feel pretty prepared. I mean, at this point, what I bring is basically the one thing I can control. And that thought has me pretty excited. I’m practically dancing in my chair from anxiety (read: I want to get this show on the road asap). I can choose what I pack but the rest of it is completely out of my hands. At home and at school, I pride myself on having things pretty under control (i.e. I iCal like my life depended on it, but I digress). I think it’s about time for a change of sociocultural pace. I can’t wait to see what this trip throws at me, reveals to me about myself, and shows me about the world. Those are the things I can’t control. Nor would I want to.

Kwaheri for now,



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