The most important 100 pounds

Well, I thought I wouldn’t be writing again until after I left because nothing would be going on, but the craziness has just begun and is getting more hectic by the minute. I’ve been working so much lately that I forgot that I would have to pack for this trip. I’ve stopped working at both jobs this past week and am now on my journey of saying my goodbyes farewells. After over 16 months of waiting for this, it is now all starting to become surreal. I am only 2 weeks away from departure and I haven’t even begun packing in the slightest. In preparation, I’ve bought a solar panel for the almost certainty that I will have no electricity, a new lime green rain jacket for rainy season, a huge bundle of assorted socks mainly so I won’t have to do laundry often, and an external hard drive to save memories and movies. I think I just throw these things in my backpack and I’m good to go, right? Maybe a few more pairs of underwear and an extra toothbrush wouldn’t hurt.

If you want to be happy, be. -Leo Tolstoy

It may just be that simple for a lot of people. Not for me, though. I’m that person that is always last to leave the house when leaving the house for a few days. I’m always walking out the door looking over my shoulders trying to see if there is anything that I have forgotten or could possibly need, because God knows that I don’t want to get in some strange once-in-a-lifetime situation and wish I would have just grabbed that one specific thing that I would only need in that exact situation. And that’s just me worrying about going camping for the weekend. It’s probably hard to imagine, but I think there’s a possibility that I may encounter some strange and unique situations while living and traveling in Africa for two years. So, the big question is: HOW DO I PACK FOR TWO YEARS? Lots of questions cross my mind: Will I be able to buy/replace things like deodorant, glasses, toothpaste, a razor, shampoo, a phone/ iPad charger, lotion, an iron, floss, Q-tips, soap, body wash, laundry detergent, buffalo wing sauce, or a Hershey’s chocolate and peanut butter fudge milkshake from Cookout, and other important and delicious necessities?

We must absolutely do what we love, or we run the risk of doing nothing at all. -Leigh Standley

The answer to some of these is Yes. My experiences in Zimbabwe and Uganda tells me that you can find anything we have in the US, you just have to look for it…and it may or may not actually work. Chauncy (my buddy from the Grand Canyon post and a few other previous blogs) makes his own deodorant so I hope to adopt this and other self-sustaining practices while abroad. For a lot of my questions, though, I honestly have no idea. I guess we will see what the future holds for me. Either way, I hope to go there and acclimate to whatever the culture is and get used to a new life. I get to pack two 50-pound bags to take with me. So, if you could pack 100 pounds, what would be the important things you would take if you were moving away for two years? Your laptop, some kitchen knives, your favorite jeans, books, or that jewelry you can’t live without? I’m hoping the next couple of weeks will be fun-filled and an exciting time with family and many friends. Hannah would almost meet this weight limit; I wish I could just take her.

This is how it all starts out:

June 3, 2014
7:30 AM: Fly from Nashville to Philadelphia
12:00 PM: Registration
2:00 – 4:25 PM: Who We Are, What You Expect, What’s Next
4:25 – 4:45 PM: Break
4:45 – 7:00 PM: What We Expect, Closing

June 4
2:00 AM: Check out of hotel
2:30 AM: Bus arrives for loading and departure to the airport
11:15 AM Fly out of JFK to Johannesburg (15 hour flight)

June 5
11:40 AM Arrive in Lesotho after a 1-hour flight from Johannesburg

I’m excited about the next few weeks and thrilled about what life has to offer in the near future. Thanks for stopping by and reading. Stay tuned.

-Jody

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