“Hello? Hello Miss? Are you still there?” I shake my head vigorously and attempt to focus on the noise spilling out of the other end of my phone. Did I just hallucinate the last thirty seconds of this conversation? “Miss, did you understand what I explained?” Immediately, my heart begins to race and my palms become moist with worry. Oh God, from the unsympathetic tone in his voice, I can tell he’s about to repeat those dreaded words. This can’t be life.  My mind is quickly making another futile attempt to block out the words that are about to escape his mouth but it’s too late. I’m completely lucid and I’ve just processed everything.  “Miss, for safety regulations, you are allowed only one piece of luggage and all of your baggage must total no more than forty pounds.” My worst traveling nightmare is born.

Ok, so I’m aware that my reaction may be deemed a bit melodramatic. My best friend refers to such dilemmas as champagne problems. But you’ve got to hear my point of view before you cast stones, right? Well, when it comes to packing, I’m what you would probably label a maximista. And no, not in that chic sustainable TJ Maxx sense. I’m talking six pairs of jeans, fifteen pairs of shoes, ten pounds of hair products and a goat, all packed just to drive over a few states and visit friends for the weekend! While my packing skills are little less than stellar, I’ve recently shown much improvement.  My recent trip to South Africa was a true testament of this. The above story was my reality.  I had to pack for subzero temps, a safari, hiking, volunteering and endless days of exploring with these restrictions. Any guesses as to what the final weigh in was on my ONE piece of luggage? I’ll reveal that later but first let me share the packing tools I used to pull it off!

  • The Multitaskers. The white tee, the distressed denim, the moto boots and the military jacket. Better known as my repeat offenders.  These were the most versatile items in my wardrobe and they allowed me to create many different looks with so few pieces.
  • Modern Day Polaroids. “I don’t rely on mirrors, so I always take polaroids.” That Cher, so insightful.   Nowadays, a slightly more savvy Cher would tell you to just take a selfie!  Taking selfies prior to my departure, allowed me to pack complete looks without adding excess baggage with the ‘what ifs’.  You know, all the other miscellaneous accessories that could have made the outfit complete. And best of all, when you arrive to your destination, no precious time is wasted thinking about your threads for the day.  Quickly refer so your selfie, get dressed and head out for your next adventure!
  • Pack In Advance.  This one is kind of self-explanatory yet so key! I found that if I pack in advance, I manage to pack responsibly and efficiently.

With these guidelines set in place, I was ready for my South African journey. As for that one piece of luggage? The final weigh in came in at twenty-two pounds. Not too shabby!

Travel Noire

Modupe Sonuyi

When not delivering laughing gas to her patients, Modupe is a full-time dreamer, adventurer and abuser of exclamation points! Intrigued by the wonders and whimsies of the world, she is constantly plotting her next opportunity to grab a camera and explore the beauty, life and culture of unfamiliar lands. She loves sharing her travel experiences with others, in hopes of inspiring just one person to get up and get lost!

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