Well, after packing and repacking and RE-packing, ad nauseum, removing a few zip lock bags, combining packing cubes, removing one pair of socks, one neck cooler, cutting the edges off the container for my extra SD camera card, etc. etc., I’ve finally finished packing. And it ain’t pretty! Fortunately, about three pounds of what’s in the pack are meds and foot pads, as well as other disposable items. The good news is that they’ll be diminishing along the way. The bad news is that I’ll be carrying 63 days’ worth at the beginning.
I talked with my daughter tonight, who with her husband had backpacked around the world, southern hemisphere, for fifteen months recently. Asked her if I should dump my good camera and the MacBook Air I had packed just so I could write posts on this website. She said, “No, not if you want to bring them. You’ll figure it out.”
She added, “Sometimes, I could manage the weight quite well . . . and sometimes I wanted to set my backpack on fire.” So I’ll go with it initially. Maybe I’ll send my sleeping bag home if I find that most of the hostels actually have reasonable mattresses and I can just use my sleep sack and my neck-pillow-transformed-from-a-lightweight-vest. Maybe I’ll send my foot pads and some of the other small but weighty stuff on ahead of me . . . over and over again. Can’t send the meds ahead, in case they get lost.
Well, I’ll get nothing but stronger . . . unless I get “tireder”, and I suppose I’ll happily alternate between one and the other until I get used to it. Or until I set my pack on fire!
Reminds me of Cheryl Strayed’s love/hate relationship with her backpack she describes in her novel, Wild…she calls it Monster!
Almost exactly, but I picture her with a pack more than twice the weight of mine, since she had to put the pack on something high so she could step into it, rather than stand up after it was secured on her frame!
I’m going to try one more time to shed a pound or so . . .
Wishing you all the best, Joannah. It’s a very exciting time. Soon, you will KNOW how it’s going to work.
That is very true, Jeanne. Sorry we didn’t get another coffee or breakfast before I leave, but we’ll do it in November.
I am tired just reading! But you WILL get stronger, and the pack will lose some things along the way. So when you are REALLY at your strongest, your pack will also be the lightest…i.e., at the end when you won’t care anymore. Ain’t it just the way things are? xoxo jj and best travels!
So how much does your Monster weigh? It’s been a long time since I’ve done any backpacking. I’m hoping they’ve improved the packs since then. I never regretted the small luxuries I included, like a paperback (or half a paperback) and a bit of chocolate.
Ah yes, the challenge of balancing what you need versus what you want when carrying a backpack everywhere. For me, there is always something that just makes me happier to have and I carry it regardless of how much it weighs, and you’ll no doubt find out which things are which. Remember that you can always ship something back if you find it’s a pain to carry. And I can totally relate to the heavy medical kit. That’s how I’ve traveled, too, just because it’s necessary.
Once you hit your stride, all of this will seem less daunting because you will see how great you are doing. Onward!
We haven’t met but I have heard all about your adventures from Gloria – and you have been the inspiration for our many home exchanges. We are currently in Bordeaux, France. This past weekend we met a woman – 60ish- who was on the El Camino last year. She is currently hiking with a group through Southern France. She said the 20 pound pack she carried last year was “way too heavy” (and she looked to be a rugged, strong woman who had hiked 12 miles the day before we met her). She also said the first day was the worst. Very best wishes for a great adventure!!!! I will look forward to reading about a pilgrimage I would love to do.