Packing Update: Eric

We were happy to spend some time at home during the holidays in part because it gave us a chance to reevaluate what was in our packs and change some things up.

This post will focus on Eric’s pack. See our previous posts about packing to learn what he brought before. You can also see Della’s packing update here!

On the first half off the trip, Eric didn’t have any major issues with how his packing list worked out. There were a few things he decided that he hadn’t used much, so he took advantage of being home and dropped some items off. The main things he left out this time were a merino wool sweater (which had shrunk in a laundry and hadn’t really been used since Africa), a wide-brimmed hat that had only been used on safari and a belt which he never used.


Eric’s pack, a Go-Lite 65 Liter pack, has one big section and a small detachable top section.


In the main section:

  • A cotton sleeping sheet. This was hardly used in Europe, but Eric thinks it may come in more handy in potentially seedier Asian accommodations. The fabric was originally off-white, but after washing with other fabrics is no more of an off-blue.


  • Two swimsuits and two miniature microfiber towels, stored in a Ziploc bag
  • Two fleece tops (a thinner gray one and thicker brown one), two long underwear tops, one long underwear bottoms and a workout shirt. Stored in a soft-sided packing cube.


  • A large toiletry kit containing overflow items from the daily one that Della carries. Items include extra floss, extra soap and shampoo, extra razor heads, extra anti-malarial drugs, other extra drugs such as probiotics, and a pair of small scissors.
  • Utility items – rope for a clothesline, an over-the-door hook, duct tape, gorilla tape, wine/bottle opener (bought in Greece), super glue, tape measure (also bought in Greece), extra dirty clothes bags – stored in a Ziploc bag


  • Extra computer items, stored in one of the bags the travel underwear came in:
    • Flash drives
    • Camera charger
    • Old camera and its charger to be used as backup
    • SD card
    • Cord to connect camera to computer
  • Everyday tops and bottoms, stored in a packing cube:
    • two long-sleeved collared shirts -one Ex-Officio travel shirt as a gift, another a generic polyester shirt from the thrift store
    • three short-sleeve collared shirts – all found at the thirft store
    • one t-shirt – poly-cotton blend, a gift from our friends at The Real Dill
    • one pair zip-off pants from the thrift store
    • two pair of polyester slacks, one khaki and the other gray, both from the thrift store
  • Underwear and socks, stored in a small packing cube:
    • Five pair of travel underwear, all received as gifts
    • Two pair of SmartWool ultralight socks bought on Sierra Trading Post
    • Two pair of SmartWool medium socks received as gifts
    • One pair thick merino wool socks
    • Two pair polyester socks from the dollar store


  • Pajamas, stored in a random stuff sack that a promotional blanket came in:
    • Poly-cotton blend shirt from kickball league
    • Workout shorts
    • One pair thick merino wool socks
  • Extra books
  • Pair of strap sandals from the thrift store
  • Black flip-flops for the shower

In the top section:

  • Two bandanas
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Flashlight and headlamp, stored in an underwear bag


  • Cover for bag, which Della’s family created out of a gate check cover for strollers
  • Extra water bottles


In his day pack (a Go-Lite pack as well):

  • Raincoat borrowed from Eric’s dad, plus a dollar store poncho
  • Rice University hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen and bug spray


  • Primary reading material
  • Primary water bottles
  • Steripen (UV-based water purification tool)


  • Computer (ASUS Transformer Book T100TA)
  • Computer accessories – power cord, USB connection cord, small mouse, stylus – in a Ziploc bag
  • Cell phone charger plus car charger
  • Zipper bag with a deck of playing cards and a notepad and pen


  • Headphones
  • Tupperware (usually filled with granola bars)

In his pockets:

  • Unlocked GSM cellphone with T-Mobile Simple Choice International plan (the included texting and data in most countries is awesome)
  • Wallet
  • Camera (Canon Powershot ELPH 115 IS) in case

Eric’s large backpack weighs only 27 lbs! However, like Della, he also carries a day bag. His day bag is slightly heavier due to its bigger size and the computer. The weight of the day bag depends on how much water he is carrying!

Packing Update: Della

We were happy to spend some time at home during the holidays in part because it gave us a chance to reevaluate what was in our packs and change some things up.


This post will focus on Della’s pack. See our previous posts about packing to learn what she brought before.

Della’s bag was significantly heavier than Eric’s which always irked her. She realized that she was carrying more clothing than he was. She ultimately decided to drop several of her long sleeved items with the assumption that it would be warmer in Asia on the second part of the trip. She also dropped one of her underwear (turns out it is easy to wash in the sink as you go), but added a pair of socks (expecting sweaty feet with her new waterproof shoes), dropped one of her tank tops thinking that it was unnecessary even though it will be hot (many places in Asia require covered shoulders anyway). She also had to go on a quest for new shoes, which was not fun… But she ultimately decided on a pair of waterproof New Balance.

Della carries an Osprey Ariel 65 L pack with three sections.

Without further ado, this is what is now in Della’s pack!

In the bottom section:

  1. Our first aid kit which includes: a variety of pills for gas, diarrhea, allergy, stuffy noses, and pain. We also have special antibiotics for really bad food poisoning or diarrhea prescribed from a travel clinic before we left. We have Band-Aids, moleskin, and other bandages. We have a thermometer, and various creams and ointments: antifungal, antibacterial, etc. We also carry several pills for relief of the common cold. This all fits in a bag which we found at the thrift store!
  2. Della carries extra batteries and a charger for her camera. In addition, she has an extra memory card and a screen cleaner.
  3. Campsuds and a drain plug for doing laundry in sinks on the road.
  4. Medication for malaria

    Della's portion of Malaria pills - Doxycycline

    Della’s portion of Malaria pills – Doxycycline

  5. Extra spices for any cooking we do on the road. These were mostly purchased while abroad in Africa during the self-drive safari.
  6. Water sandals
  7. Some extra books for pleasure reading (much fewer than were carried on the first half of the trip!)

    Everything that goes in the bottom of the pack!

    Everything that goes in the bottom of the pack!

In the middle section:

  1. 6 pairs of socks (1 smartwool hiking, 2 lightweight, 3 ankle from the dollar store), 5 pairs of underwear (2 special Ex-Officio travel underwear, 1 cotton, 2 polyester blend), 4 bras (only 3 pictured) (1 normal, 1 sports bra that can double as a swim suit top, 2 stretchy comfortable bras that are relatively quick dry). All stored in a medium Eagle Creek packing cube.
  2. Sarong, towel, turbi-twist – stored in a zipper bag from Target
  3. Swimsuits – one bikini bottom, one athletic top, one swimsuit shorts – stored in a zip lock
  4. Sleeping sheet, extra laundry bags (from dollar store), extra straps/belts – stored in a zip lock
  5. Pajamas – one tank, one shorts, one pair of socks (all lightweight) – stored in a small Eagle Creek packing cube
  6. Cold Weather Gear – one Marmot rain jacket, one Mountain Hardwear jacket, leggings and long sleeve midlayer from target, a lightweight fleece from Sam’s Club. Hat, gloves, heavy socks (in a stuff sack) – stored in a large Eagle Creek packing cube
  7. General Clothing – 2 long pants, 1 zip off (Sierra Trading Post), both quick dry. Two shorts, one longer, one shorter (thrift store). 3 merino wool t-shirts (all from online). 3 tank tops, 2 with built in bras, one cotton, one Ex-Officio, one polyester. One Ex-Officio travel dress. All stored in a large Eagle Creek packing cube.
  8. Zip bag with important documents.
  9. Plugs: 1 all-purpose plug adaptor, 2 mini power strips (one with 2 USB connections), extra USB charging cable. All stored in a random old zipper bag that was packaging for a set of sheets.
  10. Toiletry kit for everyday use: Comb, foldable brush, 2 toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss (not pictured), soap bar, shampoo bar, extra conditioner, chapsticks, tweezers, nail clippers, small swiss army knife, nail polish, extra hair tie, deodorant (not pictured) – All stored in a toiletry kit from Sierra Trading Post
  11. On the outside of the bag – new purple shower shoes/slippers

    Everything for the middle part of the pack!

    Everything for the middle part of the pack!

In the top section:

  1. Bag covers: 1 for rain, 1 for checking on the airplane
  2. Extra wet wipes
  3. Extra tea
  4. Extra poncho
  5. Sun hat (until it gets into the day bag)
  6. Extra rubber bands and zip lock bags- always useful on the road!
  7. 1 of the 2 tupperware containers (until it moves to the day bag)

    Everything that goes in the top

    Everything that goes in the top

In the day bag:

  1. General Use: Poncho, sun hat, extra toilet paper, sunglasses, extra feminine products, headphones, extra water bottle bag, extra rags, tissues, eye cover, pain medicine, wet wipes, 1 of three bandanas.
  2. Electronic bag: Nexus 7 Tablet, Tablet keyboard, USB connector, extra mini hard drives, power plug, carrying bag for tablet, stylus, and travel sim card for phone – Stored in a wet bag from Target
  3. Notebook and pencil – Stored in a bag found at thrift store
  4. Water bottles – 1 Nalgene, 1 foldable (dollar store)
  5. Extra zip lock bags


  1. Wallet
  2. Camera/mini tripod
  3. Phone
  4. Chapstick
  5. Extra tissues, wet wipes, pain meds, feminine products
  6. Compass
  7. pen

There you have it! Everything that goes in Della’s pack! In all, the large pack weighs 29 lbs… So, not light, but lighter than it was before and much more manageable! She has the day bag in addition which adds a couple of pounds, though this varies depending on the books she is carrying as well as how many full water bottles she has!

One Week: To Do

So, we know the blog has been pretty quiet the last few weeks. When you take a look at our to-do list you’ll understand why! We have both been out of work since June 6th. We thought we would have a leisurely time packing up and knocking items off the checklist. Little did we know that we would be working all day every day to get everything done! If you look close at the list, you’ll notice a lot more things are marked DONE, but there are a lot more things on it too… things we didn’t know we had to do until now. ACK! But luckily, we are on schedule for our June 29th departure to NYC.


  • Contact and plan our safari – DONE
  • Make lodging arrangements for Johannesburg – DONE
  • Explore Travel Insurance Options & select/purchase policy – DONE
  • Add pages to both passports  – NOT NEEDED TILL ASIA
  • check visa/passport requirements for all countries – DONE
  • Get passport photos taken for visas (have several printed) – DONE
  • Scan all documents into digital format and save to both emails
  • Gather all CC contact numbers, embassy numbers, etc. – download app? – DONE
  • Get new international drivers licenses – DONE
  • Get family and friends setup with Skype/Viber – HALF DONE
  • set temporary change of address with post office
  • Finalize packing lists
  • Put together med kit – HALF DONE
  • figure out how to unlock Eric’s phone – DONE
  • Figure out what to do with Della’s phone – DONE
  • decide on final packs – DONE
  • decide on final plug options (give dad others to return) – DONE
  • purchase plane ticket to NYC – DONE
  • decide where to stay while in NYC – DONE
  • purchase plane ticket to South Africa – DONE
  • purchase plane ticket to Prague – DONE
  • purchase train ticket Johannesburg to Capetown – DONE
  • Collect travel planning documents (scanned/packed) – HALF DONE
  • Contact insurance company related to cars – DONE
  • fill out power of attorney documents (general and medical)
  • Copies of Safari Info to parents
  • Finalize Safari – DONE
  • Book Air BnB Prague


  • Rent our house – DONE
  • write a lease for our house rental – DONE
  • Donate stuff not worth selling – HALF DONE
  • Make arrangements for storage of the amount we plan to keep – DONE
  • Pack up the house
    • Study – DONE
    • Master Bedroom – HALF Done
    • Guest Bedroom 1 – HALF DONE
    • Guest Bedroom 2 – DONE
    • Kitchen – HALF DONE
    • Living Room – HALF Done
    • Basement big room – Mostly Done
    • Basement sound room – DONE
    • bathroom 1 – DONE
    • bathroom 2 – DONE
    • master bathroom – HALF DONE
    • garage
    • utility room – HALF DONE
  • Sell extra clothes on ebay – HALF DONE
  • discontinue utility services – DONE


  • Texi to vet – DONE
  • Texi to TX – DONE


  • Make a visit to our travel doc for meds/vaccines – DONE
  • Dentist appointments – DONE
  • Final doctors appointment – DONE
  • Eye exams – new glasses (della) – DONE
  • figure out when insurance ends – DONE July 1
  • Della – get new orthodics – DONE
  • Fill prescriptions – DONE


  • Finish up credit card minimum spends – DONE
  • Cancel unnecessary credit cards – HALF DONE
  • decide which cards to continue gaining miles on – DONE
  • notify all cards of international travel – HALF DONE
  • set up venmo – DONE
  • Get updated credit/debit cards – HALF DONE


  • External Hard drives – DONE
  • wire padlocks (TSA) – DONE
  • space on the cloud for storage (decide what spaces we will use: dropbox, google drive, other??) – DONE
  • rain covers/travel covers for packs – DONE
  • drain plugs – DONE
  • extra camera batteries (della) – DONE
  • buy more camera memory cards – DONE
  • Good walking/hiking/zumba shoes – DONE
  • good sandals – DONE
  • travel clothing – DONE
  • New phone for Della – DONE
  • VPN – DONE


  • Get website up and running – DONE
  • Photo website up and linked into our Blog – DONE
  • Della – figure out how to pack/transition classroom – DONE
  • Buy new washer – DONE
  • Buy new dryer – DONE
  • Install washer/dryer – DONE
  • Have going away party – DONE
  • Eric – learn/practice driving stick shift
  • Eric – transition to shaving with bladed razor – DONE
  • Eric- get LASIK – DONE
  • Della – new driver’s license – DONE?
  • Eric- New driver’s license – DONE?
  • Della – renew license plates – DONE?
  • Modify Netflix Subscription
  • Clean house
  • Clean cars