I’ve spent quite a few years abroad in the last decade. I’ll take every chance I get. Going abroad, for whatever reason, is exciting and challenging. For different reasons you pack differently. When I left for an internship in Cape Town, I packed heaps of stuff, because I knew I didn’t have to carry it around with me. Backpacking in Australia for one year requires some more compact strategies. Slowly I developed a list of things I cannot live without.
Travelling in Australia I’ve added a snorkel set to my luggage. Because I’ve worked two ski seasons here, I have a bag full of ski gear and clothing. Luckily I’ve met people here who don’t mind storing it while I’m enjoying my trip. I’m planning on taking it over to New Zealand next winter, to land a job in a ski field there. How to get it all there? I’ll worry about that later.
Different people, different bags. Personally, I still favor my good old backpack. Yes, a suitcase is waaaaay easier to navigate. You won’t have to dig into the bottom to get to that sweater on a cold night. But my style of travelling contains lots of walking around. My backpack only gets as heavy as I can carry, although I admit I nearly kill myself carrying stuff at times. Furthermore a backpack can be used for overnight hikes. Store the superfluous stuff temporarily and climb that mountain or do that track.
Whatever way you do it, travel makes you think about what is important to you and what you want to take. If only I could pack my whole wardrobe. The only advise I can give: start packing and repacking well before your flight leaves.