With 75 days left before I head to Shanghai, I find myself desperately needing to purge what seems like piles of junk while packing what I hope is not piles of even more junk to take abroad.
While I am basically moving to what might be the NYC of China and will have access to just about anything I need, it all comes at price. Whether it is my time and patience to hunt it down or paying double to get it, it’s costly. I’m torn between the desire to pack light and the need to pack for future convenience. My school does provide a significant amount of money for shipping and luggage fees, but with the airlines now limiting international travelers to ONE bag at 50lbs instead of TWO bags at 70lbs I am now facing some huge fees for just the basics.
So what is going to Shanghai with me?
Laptop, small electronics (phone/ipad), clothes, shoes, toiletries, linens, small kitchen gadgets, some spices and hard to get food items, a couple of books, family pics, and no more than two “school” boxes. I have no hope of finding clothes or shoes off the wrack while living in Asia unless I suddenly lose 4 clothes sizes and my feet shrink by two inches this year. Since I will be walking or taking public transit I need to make sure I have some good, comfy shoes for the year. Apparently I will also experience significant rain for the first time in years, so I am hoping my snowboard jacket will suffice for the rainstorms. I’ve recycled quite a few bags of clothes and think I am down to what I need for work and travel. I couldn’t resist an LL Bean sale this week and picked up a couple more light dresses and tanks for humid days.
The heaviest and most costly items I am carrying over are toiletries and meds. Yes, yes I will have medical insurance while there and yes I will have access to western doctors and meds, but the catch is I may not get a western doctor for every appointment and not every prescription or typical med is available. Shanghai has both Walmart and Carrefour (supposedly on Target level), plus dozens of other pharmacy and general stores, and of course amazon, taobao, alibaba and an endless local delivery system for anything I can imagine. So why pack and take over anything? 1. I don’t speak Mandarin, 2. Familiar items are “imports” and expensive 3. I won’t have the “convenience” of a car to bounce around the city to find what I need 4. every blog/forum/packing list I have found recommends the same thing: “bring your own toiletries”.
So it’s coming with me; My own mini Target. I’m sort of embarrassed by what looks like the making of a paranoid packer, but I have a feeling I’ll get over it when I spend the next year not worrying about finding basic things for my daily life.
It’s sorted and bagged, condensed from large packaging into sealed into ziplock bags.
Here’s my packing goal:
Checked bags: 1 suitcase, 4 duffel bags, 2 boxes/rubber containers (school items)
Carry On: Backpacking pack & “overnight” bag
What’s next? Purging…and selling.