I have spent the last few weeks starting to get ready for my next trip abroad. For the first time, I am going to be away from Papa Bear and the Tinies for two weeks! I have never been away from any of them that long. Even Papa Bear and I have never been apart that long since the day we met. I am a little nervous about spending that much time abroad – especially since I am traveling to multiple countries, some with little cellular service and wifi. That means that I don’t have a tremendous amount of time to connect and video conference. Generally by the end of the week, which is the amount of time I usually travel, I am seriously missing the tinies and Papa Bear. I don’t know how I am going to handle being away from them for two weeks.
To get ready to leave this time, I had to put some extra attention and effort into getting ready to go. Not only am I traveling to multiple countries, I am traveling to multiple climates! I have also never done that. My trip will start in Johannesburg, South Africa. My intent is to meet a group of Biology students at the Nkambeni Safari Camp in Kruger National Forrest. The complication on this leg is that while I am based in North America, where it is high summer, they are currently in SA, where it is high winter! Let me assure you it is awfully strange to grab your heavy winter coat on the way out the door and it is 95 degrees!
I used the same packing process that I always use (check that out here). I took over the dining table and began sorting my clothes into stacks by climate this time. I packed all of my cold weather clothes in one packing cube, my clothing for warm climates in another, and used my small packing cubes for personal garments (udies), night clothes and swim wear between the two. To save some room in my bag I am carrying my heavy coat on the plane – it is going to be of use immediately when I get to South Africa.
Get your packing cubes here – by far my most used travel accessory.
To pack for this trip, I first began with the clothes I would need in Kruger. According to the guides, the accommodations are going to be safari tents – what ever that means. The important thing I took from the communication was that we were in a fenced in section of the field station. Since I am a woman of a certain curvy stature, I have to wonder if they are keeping us in or the animals out. I have to look awfully plump and juicy to a hungry lion – let’s hope they are keeping the animals out!
I am going to be in Johannesburg for the first day, then transferred 5 hours into the forest for the remaining 5 days. I packed 2 pair of jeans that I picked up from a local box store for $13.00 each. I will be leaving these at the end of the trip so that I free up some space in my suitcase – and a little weight. I packed 3 long sleeve t shirts, one ¾ sleeve blouse, and 2 short sleeve t shirts that all coordinate so that I can mix and match in layers. I have one pair of comfy black slacks that I am traveling in and a pink blouse that will do well in a warmer climate as well as make sure I’m not too cold in the air. Finally, I have some Crocs flats and black socks that I will use while we are trekking around and viewing wildlife. I should probably pack sturdier shoes, but I am trying to conserve precious space for the rest of my trip. Luckily, I will have some time at the field station with the group and with individual students. I am tremendously excited to go on Safari – I have always wanted to do that – as well as conduct research with my students! This working Mom’s heart is amazingly full right now.
Check out this link to get your Crocs – seriously versatile shoes!
For the remainder of my trip, I will be making stops in Fez, Morocco and Paris, France. Each location has a group of students waiting on my for the same purpose. For Morocco, I have packed very conservative clothing, even thought I am not Muslim, so that I do not call any additional attention to myself and remain respectful to the local culture. I have packed 2 sheer but conservative long sleeve tops, one pair of black slacks, one pair of sheer floral pants, and a summer (paper thin) cardigan to cover my arms in public when I have on sheath tops.
For my time in Paris, I have included a couple of skirts and lacy dresses that I will be able to wear to dinners. I am taking a girlfriend to dinner one night as I have always wanted to have a fancy night out in Paris! I am so excited to have a little time to revisit some sights in Paris, and visit a few new sights as well! My hotel is situated directly across the river from Notre Dame, in a lovely little neighborhood that I fell in love with the last time I was there.
To round out my clothing for the two climates, I packed two pair of pj’s. One for cold weather and one for very warm – I also packed a pair of leggings to wear since I will be in high winter, living in a tent. That is what I get for putting camping on my summer bucket list! I never, never, never skimp on “foundation garments” (you can read that as undies) when I travel, but I did plan to skin was a few pair about half way through my trip. I have tide sink packs that are lovely, handy little travel gems when you just need to give a quick wash to a few items mid trip. I love that they come perfectly sized for a sink full of water without going overboard on the soap.
Find Tide Sink Packs here!
I did pack a few other items to make my trip a bit more comfortable. I have a few toiletries that I prefer in my bag, but I am only going to start with just enough to get me through my stay in Kruger. Anything else I can pick up on the road. I have always liked to try the local brands, flavors and varieties of different products, and where better to restock your supplies than Paris? Most of my shopping budget is dedicated to my few days in Paris. I cannot wait to get into the grocery stores, pharmacies, and shops and poke around a bit. I generally only purchase things abroad that I cannot get when I am in the states. Why would I purchase items I can get at home unless there was some serious incentive to purchase it abroad and bring it back.
You can check out what is in my carry on for short flights here, and stay tuned for what is in my carry on bag for long flights – the first leg is 15 hours in the air!!! I don’t know what in the world I am going to do to occupy myself for that length of time! You can also check out what I pack in my bag when I travel abroad for one week here. My favorite travel accessories are here!
I made it in at 53 pounds for my bag. It was a miracle that the gate attendant let it go with no extra charges! Thank you to that sweet man! I am entitled to 2 checked bags for this trip on most legs, but am trying to limit it to 1 bag to avoid feed on the Paris to Morocco round trip. I did pack a light weight duffel to use as a second bag on my flight home from Paris. I have to have something to pack all of my treasures in, don’t I? Now that packing is out of the way, we can enjoy the flight.