Planning and Packing

When I found out I was going to Morocco and Tunisia for six weeks in June and July, I immediately did two things- ordered my saved books on Amazon (more on that in the next post) and started making my packing list.  Yes, I started making a packing list back in March for a trip that was just about 3 months later.

I needed a new laptop for the trip. The only computer in our house was a 17″ Dell, something very impractical for traveling.  I’ve been wanting a Mac for awhile, so this was a perfect excuse to get one.  I finally decided on a 13″ Macbook Pro. Perfect size for traveling and it is relatively lightweight with lots of room for storage of photos.  I’m still in the transition phase from PC to Mac.  It can get a bit frustrating at times, and I still need to transfer files. But I am loving it otherwise.  I also needed (well, wanted, but it was a deep want) a DSLR camera so I can take awesome photos in Morocco and Tunisia to post for you in this blog. (I’m sure with just two posts, you’re wanting some photos already.  I assure you they will be coming.)  I decided on a Canon EOS T2i. It had gotten good reviews for the price point I wanted to spend.  Thank goodness for deferred billing on both items!

Clothes also topped the packing list, trying to figure out what clothes to bring. Or buy. Recently, I lost enough weight that I’ve given just about all of my clothes away because they are too large on me.   (Yay!)  Goodwill has been the lucky recipient of bags and bags of clothing.  My closest was bare, especially for summer clothes, so any new clothes shopping I did, I thought of what I could pack for my trip.  Obsessive? Yes, but normal for me. 

Morocco and Tunisia will be hot in June and July, with averages in Rabat and most cities in Tunisia similar to what they’ll be in Indiana. But Marrakech will be hotter than blazes when we’re there (average high is 97!)  Even though it’ll be summer weather, wearing tanks, shorts, and short skirts aren’t a good idea for the Muslim countries of Morocco and Tunisia. Choosing my clothing carefully, I want to buy fairly modest clothing that is light, packs well, and can be washed in a sink.  I want to pack enough clothing that I have a variety of clothes so I can have different outfits and that I don’t need to wash clothes every other day, but I also don’t want to pack too much (which I am on the verge of doing).  Four skirts, four pants/capris, seven short sleeved shirts, three tanks (worn at appropriate times or underneath other shirts), three long sleeved, and two dresses. Mostly cotton, some linen (yes, I know they’ll wrinkle), and some nylon that is supposed to wick away the moisture. And also five pairs of sandals and shoes (I like to change out shoes often to make my feet happy).  Is that enough or too much?  I will find out soon enough.

The clothes are taking up the least amount of room in my suitcases, though. Six weeks in North Africa. I know there will be stores where I can buy toiletries, but will it be convenient to do so? Will they have what I need?  I am figuring that the toiletries  (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sunscreen, etc) and other items I am using as consumables (washcloths and underwear) that are taking up room in the suitcases now will make room for souvenirs later.  More shoes, jewelry, and ceramics for everyone!

I’m also taking things such as Bandaids, bug spray, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, Handy Wipes, hangers, Woolite, and Pepto (hoping I really don’t need that).  It was also recommended to me to bring a bunch of Ziploc bags, which may come in handy when packing dirty shoes.  (Lots of product placement here.)

In total, I am taking smallish two suitcases- a 21″ and 22″- as well as a large Baggilinni bagg with my camera, laptop and normal sized purse that I’ll use as my “purse” on the plane.  Ideally, I would just take one suitcase to ease the burden of carrying luggage since we’ll be moving around so much. At least the suitcases can be hooked together, acting as one large and heavy bit of luggage.  I still need to put the clothes in the suitcases, but otherwise I am finished with packing.  A week early to boot! 

Now I need to read three books and compile research for my curriculum unit for trip preparation, besides getting other things in order before I leave (house cleaning, garden tending, AEAI membership items, letters of recommendation to write, etc).  Research will be the topic of my next post.


About Sue Uhlig

I am a doctoral student in art education at Penn State University. My research interests include collecting as pedagogy, public pedagogy, sensory ethnography, material culture, and arts-based research practices. Traveling excites me, and I like to visit places both near and far where I can explore the cultural complexities, layered histories, and geographic wonders of place. I enjoy behaving as a local in a faraway place or acting as a tourist in my hometown. I used to frequent state parks and tent camp, but lately my travels have moved me from natural settings to more urban ones where a nice hotel or the hospitality of friends is appreciated. I pick up things along the way, adding to my building collections of place-based objects that fill boxes, drawers, walls, and shelves. Prior to relocating to Pennsylvania for graduate work, I lived in the Midwest, first in suburban Chicago for my formative years then to Lafayette, Indiana. I received a MA in art education at Purdue and subsequently taught there as a continuing lecturer in art appreciation and art education.
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