Packing and Priorities

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:

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Packing by the numbers:

Number of bags 3
Combined weight (in pounds) 95
Number of times I repacked 2
Pairs of pants 4
Maxi skirts 4
Running shorts 2
Pairs of socks 10
Pairs of underwear 20
Bras 6
Sports Bras 6
Number of juggling balls 3
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce 2
Old Bay Seasoning 3
Packs of markers 6
Number of journals 7
Duct tape 1
Number of watercolors 12
Large sketchbook 1
Scarves 5
Sweatshirts 3
Cardigans/Sweaters 4
Shirts 15
Baseball hats 2
Pairs of shoes 10
Bathing suits 2
Kitchen knives 2
Bananagrams 1
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.