Packing

Packing for Paraguay presents an interesting puzzle. How little can I bring and still have everything I need?

Thinking about what I will need to live over two years in a country I’m still learning about is daunting. But, more than anything, I just don’t want to over pack. The whole process has become a bigger existential exploration of what is necessary for me to live.

The more I think about packing, the more I feel like my pile of to-be-packed things is too large and I’m approaching the whole thing the wrong way. I’m not going to outer space. I will be able to get most things.

I’ve pondered, I’ve asked questions, and I’ve researched.  I’ve gotten great ideas and support from current and returned Peace Corps volunteers, Peace Corps pre-departure materials, other soon-to-be volunteers preparing to leave, and friends and family.

I think it all boils down to five key points:

  1. It’s hot and rainy in Paraguay.
  2. Make sure I have nice clothes. Dress in Paraguay isn’t about individualism; it’s about respect for the people around you. How “nice clothes” is defined is up for debate.
  3. I’m not going to be camping, but I’ll want camping basics.
  4. I’ll want electronics for work and connectivity, but I shouldn’t overdo it.
  5. Paraguay = high context culture, so bring pictures and gifts to help share about myself and build relationships.

With departure from home 15 days away and departure from the United States 16 days away, I feel ready. I just need to repack my bags…packing most things a month early turned out to be too soon.