Life in Ireland with One Suitcase

Have you ever come home from a trip and unpacked stuff that you never used? That won’t happen to me on this trip. I will return from nearly 5 months in Ireland having used everything that I brought. With some careful planning, I was able to fit everything for the trip in a single suitcase and carry-on backpack.

What worked:

  • I planned on dressing in layers to stay warm, and this system worked out quite well. Even with the worst winter in 40 years, I stayed warm and comfortable. I might not have looked properly outfitted, but with thermals, “regular” clothes and the rain jacket on for wind protection was more than enough.
  • My packtowel has been used for the entire trip and has worked splendidly. I have received a number of compliments and jealous looks on weekend excursions; my large bath towel fits into my toiletries bag, while other travelers’ towels took up half of their backpack.
  • The bar shampoo experiment. My bar of J.R. Liggett’s shampoo has lasted the entire trip and will still be in use after I return home. I am looking forward to returning to the Co-op where I purchased it and trying one of the other scents.

What could use some work:

  • Next time I will pack less in the way of clothing. The one dress outfit has only been worn when I pushed the laundry day too far back. Likewise, I could easily get by with fewer socks and underwear.
  • Both my wife and I could have brought less in the way of hobbies. She finished knitting a beautiful scarf for me, but has not used her knitting needles much otherwise.
  • I could pretty safely get by with less in the way of school supplies. It seemed like a waste to buy more when I already had so much at home, so I brought it with me. During orientation the library gave out pads of paper, and I have typed the notes for all but one of my classes. As a compulsive list-maker, the binder full of paper still came in quite handy.

It is quite a feeling to realize that you can comfortably live out of a suitcase. It is nice to know that we can safely pack up and head out to different lands without looking like this guy.

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