What do you pack to get you through a year abroad when you’re limited to two suitcases?
I listened to the advice of several expats to limit the amount of clothes… so here were my essentials:
- Tampons –
Sorry dudes. When I set up the photo I didn’t realize this would be the first on the list. But actually I’m not really that sorry because this really was one of the most common suggestions I heard. I’ve been told that the tampons in Spain don’t have applicators. No thank you. Not sure if this is the truth (because so far it seems like they’re normal here), but I figured tampons are perfect because a. they are light weight and b. will free up a good chunk of space on the way back.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix –
In my semester abroad and trips to Spain since, I have yet to see a classic choco-chip cookie. Spain doesn’t know what it’s missing. I might have just found my first business venture in Madrid….
- Measuring Cups and Spoons –
I refuse to convert between weight and US units of measuring when it comes to baking. When #2 runs out, I’m gonna need to use my personal recipes. Not to mention the need for classic comfort foods such as tater-tot hotdish and snicker salad.
- Hot Sauce –
I love you, Spanish food, but you are bland. And I need my hot sauce. I went with RedHot over sriracha and cholula. Difficult decision no doubt, but I’m feeling pretty confident about my choice… thoughts?
- Aukey iPhone Lens –
I wasn’t planning on bringing any additional photo equipment until my friends (s/o Erin and Harrison) showed me this beauty! It’s a 2-in-1 wide angle + macro lens that clips onto your iPhone. Doesn’t take up much space and might actually make my pictures worth looking at.
- Vanilla –
This is the legit stuff, acquired on my recent trip to Mexico City. I read on some random blog once that vanilla extract is hard to find in Spain. I didn’t fact check this at all, but figured the real Mexican deal beats anything I can find anywhere else in the world.
- Journal –
Keeping a handwritten journal was one of the things I regretted not doing the last time I lived abroad. I have a pretty good memory imho, but I wish I would have kept a record of all the little things that I promised myself I would always cherish. I like looking back, remembering where I’ve been, and being reminded to be grateful for all that has shaped who I am.
- Pictures –
My favorite part of my last bedroom was the photo wall, filled with memories of people and places that are important to me. I selected about a dozen of them and have posted them up on my new bedroom wall so that they can continue to bring me happiness and comfort.
- Exploding Kittens –
One of the things I’m most nervous about is making friends. Those who know me well can tell you that I’ve got a social calendar that’s usually booked out 7-10 days in advance. Not because I’m popular, but because I force my friendship on people due to my need for social interaction. The best days are those that are fullest and I love telling stories to anyone with ears. I’m hoping this game can help break the awkward early stages of getting to know people until I can trick them into being my friend forever and ever, amen.
- Peanut butter –
After chocolate chip cookies, the lack of this deliciousness continues to blow my mind. Is it just too much goodness to handle, or what is going on here people? My only regret is not filling up the remaining 10 pounds of allowed luggage weight on 10 more pounds of Skippy.
- Hair product –
These curls have a mind of their own. I’ve completely changed my hair care routine in the past 10 months after going to a cosmetologist who specializes in curly hair. My life will never be the same and I can’t deal with the pain of finding Spanish products that will work on this mop.
There you have it! Thankfully I know I’ll have some visitors throughout the year that can replenish my stock or transport items I didn’t realize I would need. I’m already wishing I had a box or 20 of kraft mac-n-cheese….