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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guest Post by Frantzie: My Packing Challenge: One suitcase, a purse, and three countries

I've been obsessed with minimalism and how it enables you to live a more meaningful life for a while now, but I haven't quite mastered it, yet! I've coined myself a modern minimalist. Almost there, but not yet. Last year, I became one of the super organized. And, I've stuck to it since. I'd love to think that I'm flexible, whimsical, and easy-going. I even come off that way. But, it's just not true. I like my things organized and uncluttered. And, I love options. I'm new to traveling for more than 10 days and wanted to share my packing challenge. I'm determined to head to three countries (United Kingdom, France, and Germany) with one suitcase and my purse, while still maintaining my personal fashion sense. I want to be cute! I don't mind looking like a tourist (I love looking like a bag of Skittles.) I want to avoid being the amateur traveler at the luggage carousel struggling to get her bag in it's rightful position - under prepared and over packed. In theory, it seems like a great tool to meet men, but I don't want to take that risk. 

The weather in Paris in the fall is spazzy. I'm trying to embrace the colder months, considering I'm from South Florida. The fall gives me a great excuse to be cute. What's a girl to do when she's travelling for one month and three days and needs to stay light and nimble on her feet, but doesn't want to sacrifice fashion? Honestly, I don't know. Newly single, I realized what if I meet a Jean Dujardin look-alike in a cafe and he invites me to dinner? Four black shirts and two pairs of black jeans are not going to make the cut. I did a little research (with Google, of course) and I came up with a combination of packing tips. I just hope my luggage weight meets TSA standards. Yikes. 

Breaking my needs into categories (Basics, Extras, Dresses, and Shoes), here's what I came up with:

Basics - Your Must-Haves:
Flat, cute walking shoes - Not the flimsy ballerina kind. 
Light zip jacket- For those "it's fall, not quite winter, but still summer" type of days. Talk about confusing.
Pashmina scarf- I hear all the Parisians have them. Go figure. So does NYC.
Waterproof, black walking boots. Two-in-one. Great, I don't have to lug around bulky Hunter rain boots.
2 dark wash jeans- I can wear them more than once and you won't notice.
3 T-shirts- I'm still not sure about this, but I guess I can always layer it with a blazer or wear them underneath a sweater for extra warmth.
Flip flops- Another must have. I haven't decided on any hostels yet, but I'm not trying to come back to the states with foot fungus. 
Corduroy skirt- All my skirts are more than four inches above the knee. I like a little thigh action. These were the only appropriate length I had.
Leggings- It's cold. My knees are knobby. And, it'll make me look less like a tramp with my short skirt.
2 thin cardigans- One boyfriend style. I may even double them up one day.
Undergarments- I'm carrying enough underwear for seven days. The old adage "You never know how much underwear you may need," is just not true. Anything can be hand washed.
Yoga pants- Everyone does yoga, right? I hope.
Ex-boyfriend's t-shirt- And leggings you wouldn't be caught dead on the street with. Makes for great sleepwear.
Devacurl Products- My curls have to be fresh at all times.

Skinny dark print slacks- I can dress them up or down. I hate all black anything as Audrey Hepburn and fly as it can be. I need color in my life.
Footless leggings- Who travels without leggings?
Black tank- Goes under every shirt. Can wear it alone with a cardigan and chunky necklace.
One extra printed cardigan- It's so cute. I can wear it alone, too. I guess I'll be covered in the warmth department.
Black V-neck sweater
2 Black turtlenecks
One dark long sleeve shirt
One oxford shirt- I figure I can belt it. Layer it under a pull over.
One gray sweater- You always need neutral colors.
Skinny pink pants- Yup, I wasn't leaving without them. I was so hoping to wear neon at least once this fall.
A cape- For the superwoman in me? I really do own a cape. My imagination is wild.
Two skinny belts- Accessories make everything better.
Two big belts
Handmade Clutch- That my aunt made for me. It's gold, but I make it go with everything.

6 dresses. That's what the experts suggested. They all seem layer-able. Long sleeve. And, one includes a LBD.

Running shoes- I have to exercise after the damage I'm about to do to my body in Paris with unlimited wine and baguettes under my nose.
Basic black platform pump- (even though I can barely walk in them).
Wedge chukka booties- Because they're the cutest things I've ever seen and I don't have to sacrifice my comfort for fashion. 

More extras
My laptop and charger
Universal travel adapter
Vitamins and pain reliever
10 Gallon size Ziploc baggies- I read somewhere these were great for carrying your passport and currency from different countries.
Pen and notebook- For the writer in my soul. 
My iPhone charger
One book- Am I really going to be reading?
External Hardrive- Where am I going to save all of those pictures? Everyone needs a backup! 

I skipped toiletries and the like. Of course, they're a must and they all fit. Luckily, everything else fit in one suitcase. The controller in me feels like I may have missed the most basic of items. I'm naturally over prepared. What I'm looking  forward to most is realizing that I do need something I didn't pack while overseas and getting lost and trying to speak the language to get it. Maybe meet a new friend in the process! That's the whole point of the adventure! 

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