No matter how many times I pack and repack, and um and ahh my bag is never as light as I want it to be! And it makes it even harder when you’re relocating overseas for an extended period of time rather than backpacking. I’ve spent way to many hours in Canadian airports battling with the weight of my snowboard bag! Let me tell you of the tricks I’ve learnt about how to pack light.
Take a Small Backpack as your Carry on Luggage
If it doesn’t look like your bag is overflowing, and your bag is of a reasonable size then who is to think that it weighs 15kg?! My carry on baggage is ALWAYS overweight, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I was asked for it to be weighed. I travel with all my electronics, heavy, expensive and valuable items in my carry on (not to mention a spare change of clothes incase your checked in goes missing.) I also tactically pack my bag and place the things I will need on the flight (ipod, toothbrush etc) in side pockets or in their own little bag inside to prevent digging through luggage on the flight. (Remember that liquids under 100mls can be taken on board if they checked through security -Clear sandwich bags are really helpful to put these items in so you can pull them straight out. Also great for toothpaste and brush) And when the inevitable time comes where your checked in luggage is overweight – look for the heaviest items, I usually go for the shoes, and start squashing them in the carry on. You’ll be surprised at the desk attendant, they still won’t ask to weigh that bag- I’ve even tied shoes to the outside of the bag because there was no room and still nothing!
Where Would you Wear the Item?
It sounds silly but when you’re packing think of the entire outfit- don’t just throw in a nice shirt, later to find you have nothing to wear with it. Create outfits and then once you’ve done that- is there any that look quite similar? Get rid of it! Is there any that you would only wear once? Get rid of it! I know everyone wants to have that one nice set of clothes but where are you going? Realistically how many times will you wear it ? Is there another nice-ish item that you could dress up? Basic, plain items are great to dress up – I always travel with a large blanket sized scarf in my carry on- you be amazed how many uses you find for it! Not to mention it’s great to cover up when you’re entering temples and religious sights. Same goes for shoes – Aim for two, three at the most.
Layering is Key
Even if it’s your favorite coat, if it too heavy it can’t come. The only exception is if you wear it on EVERY flight. And trust me airports get hot! Invest in quality thermals that are light. Denim jackets; as much as they look great, they’re bulky, they don’t fold well and they’re really not that warm. Trust me, I took my denim jacket to Canada and wore it once in spring! Same goes with any pretty jacket that doesn’t offer much warmth –You’re going to have to put another jacket over top and then when you get inside you’re going to want to take it all off, so when do you even get to show off the pretty jacket?
Do you really need them? Think about what you would wear them with and how often to you wear them normally. Also do they suit the climate you are going to? Rule of thumb, no more than three. I usually have one for hiking and pair of sandals if I’m on a trekking trip. If I’m going to be wearing something nice I’ll take a pair of plain black boots- something versatile.
Pack ahead of time and make a checklist.
Don’t leave packing until the last minute, give yourself a few days to think about what you have packed. If you leave it until the last minute you’ll find yourself packing things ‘just in case’ rather than the necessities. If you make yourself a check list and realise you have 7 shirts and 2 pairs of pants, you may be able to remove a few shirts – especially if you know you have access to a laundry. By packing a few days in advance you may find yourself lying in bed when suddenly you realised you forgot to pack something important or you comes to terms with an item that you probably won’t need at all.
I wish I knew about these earlier! All those bulky items that don’t fold so well- cram them in the packing sells and zip those bags, keep it nice and compact! They also double as great places to keep your dirty washing so they don’t touch your clean clothes!
Roll Don’t Fold
It does crease the clothing a little more but you can definitely fit a lot more in! Be sure to distribute the weight evenly with the heavier items as it does make carry your bag easier. Items such as socks and underwear – stuff those into your shoes, take advantage of every bit of space in your bag.
Kelowna, B.C. is one of the most aesthetic pockets of the world, with such pictorial people. Yet I have not one photo, or social media proof of its elegance. Sometimes I don’t shoot what’s through the lens, just so the moment is mine; to fully understand the amity of that exact point in time.
However my time in Kelowna was still glowing and fervent.
It wasn’t love or lust or greed or want.
It was a consuming intensity that had no option but to exist.
I can only write what he made me feel, for there are no words that can breath illustration, of the frozen warmth that was.
“His kisses were Soft, yet Sound. Intense & Lingering. Electric.
Like floating bubbles collided.
His smile slid down my neck and flooded my cheeks, his lips brushed my chest.
His hands electric, leaving tremors with every caress.
He grabbed my hips, he pulled me closer. We locked legs, then lips.
Anticipation is so tasty.”
Sometimes you meet someone, and they make you forget that the sun and moon rise and set. Time is only described by the falling shadows on their face. The beautiful affliction is that you both understand the intensity exists for what it is. It’s the most alluring curse you’ll never have an answer to. You will forever have that infinity within your time. But that time may not be forever within your infinity. It is an infinite cycle of love for what it was, sadness for what is no longer, happiness for it’s existence and hate for what it was.
If you can understand this balance, I apologise for all the questions you’ll never have the answers to. You a cursed with such a beautiful mind, body and soul.
Catching the first glimpse of Myanmar from the plane window, I was overwhelmed which a sense of achievement! A country I has longed to travel to for years and it was finally in the palm of my hand. The golden sunset lit up the west and the rain filled clouds created silhouettes, which matched the horizon of the beautiful fields of Pagodas in Bagan.
Pacing through customs I noticed the many beautiful women dressed so formally in official uniforms, yet their faces still coasted in Thanaka! Other countries in South East Asia have lost or adapted a little of their culture from the overflow of tourists. But the Burmese culture was still so raw and strong.
To enter Myanmar you must obtain visas prior to arrival, I used https://www.myanmarvisaonline.org/ to apply online. Once submitted the visa will take between 1-3 business days to be processed, once issued, the visa is valid for 90 days, only allowing a 28 day stay. The visa is $80 USD and you must print and carry this on you for arrival. You must enter Myanmar either at Nap Pyi Taw International Airport, Yangon International Airport or Mandalay International airport.
Once we cleared customs, we looked for our complimentary driver that ‘Motherland Inn 2” had organized for us (one of the many reasons we choose this guest house.) There is always heavy traffic to and from the airport, this changes a 20min drive to more like an hour. One thing we noticed was the lack of bikes and scooters – It really does make a difference! The taxi fee is usually around $10USD from the airport to downtown Yangon. When looking for accommodation, I always ask if they offer complimentary airport pick up, as I’ve said before every cost counts!
Mother land Inn 2 was highly recommended to by me by a friend, and after reading many reviews, it seem like the crowd favorite for preferred Guest house in Yangon. This Guest house is $35USD a night for a private room with air-conditioning. Be sure to book in advance as it does book at all the time! It’s nothing very fancy, but the beds are really comfortable and the staff are extremely helpful! By far the friendliest place I’ve ever stayed, they were more than happy to go the extra mile to help you out whatever it may be. They even walked us out and waiting with us for the bus to make sure we got on the right one the following day!
We soon found out the next day that the traffic is just as bad everywhere in Yangon, it makes the trip anyway at least take double the time. The slow speed in travel does make it a little hard to travel around Myanmar. And with so many place that we wanted to see, we decided to only spend one day in Yangon before catching an overnight bus to Madalay. We used the bus company JJ Express for $28AUD- this is by far the best bus company to travel with in Myanmar. The journey took 8 hours and you will arrive at about 5am.
*TIP* -There will be many of drivers waiting to take you to your hotel -they will be asking double the price to what you should be paying. Walk a little down the street and you will find them at a more appropriate rate.
Something we haven’t been able to wrap our heads around is the price of taxis. Although we payed $10 in Yangon for a 90 min taxi ride, drivers were asking $15 -$20 for a 30min in Mandalay and apparently this is the standard asking price. The taxi drivers in Mandalay always seemed to tell you the trip is longer than what it really is.
Tactically planning our ticking clock in Yangon, we were up early and on a locals bus for 200kyat (20cents) to Shwedagon Pagoda. I felt like a child in a Candy store, or a dog on it’s first summer trip to the beach. I was hanging halfway out the window, eyes glued with camera in hand.
The city surprised me with so many built up, tall buildings that looked centuries old. In other bordering countries I had seen such ancient beauty but only ever one floor building. The buildings were colorful and not at all like the natural browns I imagined. The streets were flooded with so many monks that you stood out if you were not a monk! Shoes seemed barley an option for many and the hand made items of resembled nothing I had ever seen. the open affection between young couples also took me by surprise as it’s not something I’ve seen in any of the bordering countries. I had a little giggle when I saw our bus driver with hickies on his neck.
The pagoda towered above the cities skyline, a glimmering gold bell laced with diamonds; literally! Hundreds of large diamonds and the world’s most precious jewels and gems! This is they’re offering to Buddah!and at the very peak of the pagoda were hundreds of bells, sadly out of hears reach however.
As we paced the grounds in awe of such marvelous detail, we waved at small children and spoke with them and their parents. Each person seemed so eager to speak to us, although they couldn’t speak great English, they were happy to practice their English. From what I could understand a large majority had only started to learn English within the last 12 months.
Soon enough we became an attraction, with people giggling and pointing to us. Rowan had been Twirling his boisterous moustache each morning to raise awareness and support Movember – I think it was his charismatic moustache that has everyone giggling. I even Turned around to see him being asked to pose for photos with locals!
We wandered to the lake and around it’d bordering walk; which had definitely seen better days. This area seemed to be where couples would flock to in hope of a little privacy, however with so many of them having a similar idea, there wasn’t much space between them. ( especially with young boys gathering to very sneakily drink vodka out of plastic bags!) To wander around particular parts of the park you have to pay an entry fee, it was only about 1000kyat ($1).
We had lunch at the Floating Palace Restaurant (Karaweik Palace), it was good food, not great, but it was a very fun experience! Upon entry a lady blessed me by painting Thanaka on my face, and once seated we were greeted with a traditional puppet show and we were able to listen to some local instruments being played. Lunch time meals were around 6000 kyat ($6 AUD) not the cheapest meal but also very affordable- we didn’t mind because it had air-conditioning and cold beer, which is actually surprisingly difficult to find! There is a dinner buffet and show that would be great to see also! it is approxx. 35 000kyat ($35 AUD)
Shortly after we took a taxi back to our guest house which cost about $10 (Try and catch the local busses for 20cents if you can) the journey was about 20mins, we got lucky with the traffic! We had a few hours to kill and went to the local grocery store, which is actually a quite a grand plaza! And we purchased some snacks for the overnight bus, a few bottles of local beer and came across Myanmar whiskey! for a 750ml bottle is cost us 1200 kyat ($1.20AUD) Cheaper than beer! and I rather enjoyed the flavor! We then took a car ( which was organized by motherland inn 2) to the bus stop – which was 90minutes away! And it only cost $10. Another reason why I thought Motherland Inn was so great.