I coerced my seventeen-year-old sister Molly to hang out with me as I sat down and organized all the things I was packing for the Peace Corps (again). We had an episode of The Carrie Diaries on in the background and I kept moving clothes from one pile to another. Placing my shoes in a line neatly next to my hiking backpack. Practicing using the compression sacks my mom bought for me by throwing clothes inside and seeing how small I could make the bag.
As my sister surveyed the scene and the dwindling amount of space I had left, she looked at me and said – “You’re going to learn other people’s priorities pretty fast.”
I looked around. What were my priorities? I get to bring up to 100 pounds of stuff with me to Morocco. Was another t-shirt or maxi skirt really going to make all the difference? She probably didn’t realize it, but my sister’s seemingly offhand remark shaped my final packing decisions.
What does a Peace Corps Volunteer pack for their 27 months of service? Here’s a sampling of the things I chose:
Packing by the numbers:
|Number of bags||3|
|Combined weight (in pounds)||95|
|Number of times I repacked||2|
|Pairs of pants||4|
|Pairs of socks||10|
|Pairs of underwear||20|
|Number of juggling balls||3|
|Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce||2|
|Old Bay Seasoning||3|
|Packs of markers||6|
|Number of journals||7|
|Number of watercolors||12|
|Pairs of shoes||10|
|Books downloaded to Kindle||12|
|Songs downloaded from friends||4000+|
|Pictures of friends/family||97|
And there’s a whole lot more where that came from! Now I just have to carry all of that by myself through the airports and Morocco!
After over 13 months in various stages of the Peace Corps application process I can finally say that I leave in the morning to begin my service. I’ve never been more excited!
Catch y’all on the flip side — next time in North Africa.