The Packing Chronicles
In just a little over 24 hours (27 hours and 8 minutes to be exact, but who’s counting) I will be getting on a flight to London to start a semester abroad in Cardiff, Wales. I told myself I was going to study abroad in England over 4 years ago and it’s finally happening.
Most of the planning for this trip has taken place over the course of the last 4-5 months, but I’ve been through the depths of the internet learning anything and everything I might need to know for the better part of a year (it’s the organizer in me, thanks mom). Regardless of how long I’ve been working on this, I can’t believe it’s finally happening. I have friends already in England starting their own adventures and I couldn’t be more excited (and terrified, let’s be real) to get over there and start my own.
It’s hard to really say how I’m feeling about this trip at this moment. I’m caught at the intersection of excitement and panic and its full steam ahead. Hopefully once I get there and am surrounded by other students in the same situation, I’ll feel a little bit more at ease. It helps knowing that some of my closest friends will be in the same area so I’m really not in this alone, and the fam is only a phone call away (thanks to Viber, look into this app friends it looks very promising).
This brings me to today. I am sat in my bedroom surrounded by piles of clothes and other various items that I put on my packing list last December. As a self-proclaimed hoarder, trying to confine 6 months of life into 1.5 suitcases and a backpack has become something to dread. How many pairs of socks do I really need? Can I fit my blanket in there? I probably can’t bring all 200 pictures I have printed can I? Luckily there are countless other students facing the same conundrum who have shared their packing tips online, which is one of the reasons I’m keeping this blog. I know how much other student’s blogs have helped me, so I figure I might as well make an attempt to help future study abroad students.
Now for a brief introduction. My name is Lauren, I’m from the great (re: freezing) state of Minnesota and the only international travel I’ve ever done was to Canada and the Caribbean. I originally wanted to study in London, but further research into my options lead me to Cardiff, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The school and city look incredible, and with both Doctor Who AND Sherlock filming in the city while I’m there, were there really any other options?
This blog will mostly be a conglomeration of tips, stories, pictures (so many pictures), notes, and just general information about what I’m up to in Europe. I’m writing this for my friends, family, other study abroad students, and for future me, who will most likely read it curled up in bed feeling sad because I’m in America and not Wales anymore (probably with a pint of ice cream and sad music blaring, to really set the brooding mood. Hi future me! how’s that ice cream? don’t cry into the container, it’ll ruin the flavor.) Ideally, I will be posting at least once a week, hopefully I’ll be able to get up more than that but it all depends on what my schedule looks like.
Now to start off the tips section of our adventure here is a current note on my adventure in packing:
Unnecessary Necessities: What you don’t think you need but, hey you might.
- A power strip. With one of these bad boys you only need one plug adaptor for 4 American plugs. This is the one I’m bringing.
- An empty duffel bag (by empty I mean literally just pack a bag inside your suitcase). Not only can I use this to make weekend trips without lugging around one of my suitcases, in the (inevitable) event that I buy too much there to fit in my suitcase on the way home, I’ll have an additional bag I can use to pack stuff in. My bag of choice.
- A rain jacket. It’s England. It rains. A lot. I got mine from Target a while back.
- Measuring cups. I might be crazy but I’ve got a feeling this is a good idea. From what I understand, a lot of the baking measuring is done by weight there and I really don’t want to do that so I’m bringing my own measuring cups. (Collapsible so they pack easily)
- One of these memory card doodads. I plan on doing a lot of traveling over spring break and I don’t want to carry my laptop around so with this I can just bring my iPad and with this, I’ll be able to transfer pictures from my camera to look at on my iPad.
That’s obviously not everything I’m packing, but I figure I’ll make a better packing tips post after I get there and realize what came in most handily and what I wish I would have packed. For now, I need to go sit on a suitcase and try to make it zip. Hopefully the next time I post I will be in England!
(ps I’m pretty sure this thing has a comment feature? feel free to leave a comment or a question I will definitely be lurking often enough to see them!)