My suitcases, backpack, rolly carry-on thingy and I have had quite the relationship over the past four years…coming along with me across the country from CA > NY, then back to CA, then over to the Philippines, then over to CA, then over to Portugal, then over to CA, then over to Swaziland, then over to CA, then over to PA, and now, back to CA. Perhaps this time, it may be a little longer till I roll deep with these filled-to-the-brim suitcases! But who knows?
Because my mind is going at warp speed right now, and after waking up from a 30-minute nap which reflects the fact that my emotional exhaustion is starting to take over, I thought I’d do something a little light-hearted, and show you how this missionary packs. I struggle with the whole “pack lightly” thing. Not gonna lie – I think that struggle comes with my Filipino-ness…I always end up looking like an unfortunate stowaway of some kind. I suppose, however, this is what happens when you live pretty mobiley. Owning no furniture means clothing, journals, toiletries, books, and pictures are my main concern.
Every time I pack, I end up thinking to myself: “Do I really need this? or this?” Eventually I come to the conclusion that even if I lost one or two of my suitcases which I check in (hope I don’t jinx myself this time…), I’ll still be ok! All of those things are replaceable. Now, the things that I have in my backpack are what are essential for me. Well, maybe not essential, but important enough to keep me entertained for the travel, and for the journey ahead.
I pretty much took out a few things from my backpack…and this is what I came up with:
I take along cards and other good-bye notes that friends gave me before I left. Because everything usually seems to happen so fast, I enjoy reading the cards on the plane and on my stopovers. My friends take time writing them, so I definitely take time reading them. And I love them!
So important and essential to keep my electronics charged. 🙂 My portable battery is in my backpack too. Along with my flipcam, back up Blackberry, and jail-broken iPhone (for emergency purposes only). All chargers included. I’m very certain Mother Cabrini would have had her electronic essentials as well!
Reading material for the journey. This is a book gifted to me by one of my inspiring mentors and I look forward to reading it (at least starting it on the plane)! It’s time to continue engaging with the world and getting involved locally. I’m excited!
It is equally important to be aware of what’s going on in the news, what’s going on in the world, and finding my role and my voice – all at my fingertips! An essential resource.
Doing something mindless. Coloring. Trying out different fonts. Butterfly stickers. That’s all I have to say about that.
And last but not least…SAFETY!! This, my friends, is Santo Niño. I got him when I was in Baclaran, Philippines, about 8 years ago. He comes along with me everywhere! He’s Baby Jesus. Yes, he’s pretty tall. My bff, Gina used to be so scared of him when we lived together in LA. BUT – he protects us. And he is essential to my carry-on. On the way home to CA from Swaziland, one of the girls I was sitting next to on the plane was so scared to fly (it was her first time), and then she was somehow consoled when she saw Baby Jesus with us! The guy next to her of course, asked me, ” Can I take a picture of him?” I said, “Sure!” And he then proceeded to post it on Facebook. Baby Jesus did not like that. So…I unscrew his feet from the wooden stand, and I place him in my backpack, like this:
He comes along with me everywhere on mission. People know this. And I have pictures to prove it! Mother Cabrini used to have a Baby Jesus with her on her travels too, and I learned that his feet got real dirty because of all the traveling they did. He’s my little companion.
Since I was little, I have always had stuffed animals with me. Simply put – they are my companions! Having traveled alone for the most part over the past few years, they continue to be a part of my travels as honorary members. The only issue is that they take up a lot of space in my suitcases. I remember when I was packing for the Philippines, my mom asked why my suitcase was so bulky! She unzipped it, and boom! Two stuffed bear bums staring right back at her! I mean, were they really essential? YES. My uncle proceeded to say, “It’s ok! That’s what makes her happy!” And so, this time, it’s not a new story – just different companions coming home with me on the journey.