Are You A Packer Or A Mover?

Packer VS Mover

I had this packer VS mover conversation with a friend.

Delicious steam boat.
Example of non-authentic meal. This isn’t the meal. But it was delicious.

We were comparing notes on travel destinations, eating delicious-and-not-at-all-authentic Chinese food, while discussing the approaches we used to determine what we brought with us.

She told me that she likes long trips. But her luggage was a problem.

Why? Because of the what-ifs.

You know the what-ifs.

You find yourself thinking, just that little too much.

What if:

  • it rains?
  • we go hiking?
  • there’s a heat wave/cold snap?
  • I’m invited to a beach outing or pool party?
  • I meet someone incredibly hot and need to dress to impress?

You know the drill. You start thinking about all the stuff that could happen (and it could happen!) when travelling, and how you are going to respond.

And what you need to pack to respond. And before you know it, you’re wondering if you should just chuck it all in and stay home. But the itch won’t let you.

My friend found this process aggravating.

She fussed and fidgeted over what was likely to happen during her slow travel adventures. And after a week of head scrathing, she’d proceed to stuff everything she might need in her luggage.

All 65 kilograms of it (that’s 143 pounds for all you non-metrics out there).

My friend, as you can probably guess, is a packer.

The problem with being a packer is uncertainty.

She wants everything sorted before she goes.

But you can never really know how a trip will turn out. So while you can prepare for what you might do, the reality is that all that planning leads to taking luggage they just don’t use.

Batu Caves Temple Stais Kuala Lumpur
Imagine carrying 100kg up these stairs…

At the height of it, one of my friends had over 100kgs in three bags.

That’s like taking another person with you. And they didn’t use half of it.

Obviously there are benefits in having-and-not-needing over needing-and-not-having.It’s always a good idea to be prepared.

But there’s a difference between being prepared and being flexible. And for movers, being flexible wins out.

Besides, there are substantial pitfalls to being a packer as well:

  • airline luggage rates
  • storing all your stuff
  • cost of travel insurance
  • worrying about losing stuff
  • having to lug all the luggage from place to place

And then there are the events that you didn’t plan for.

What do you do? Get more stuff? OR stay in because you don’t have the right stuff?

With the packer way, it’s all too hard. And slow travel is challenging enough, what with giving up the familiar for the new for an extended period.

Me? I’m a mover.

As a mover, the luggage is just a resource.

I need just enough to get me on the ground.

Once I’m settled in, I can take stock of the opportunities around me.

Then, when there’s time, and when the need arises, I can buy/borrow/trade for the stuff I left behind.

I pack:

  • 3 t shirts
  • 3 shorts
  • 2 pants (one nice, one comfortable)
  • 1 collared shirt
  • one jumper/hoodie
  • one lightweight rain coat
  • 3 pairs of underwear and socks
  • one pair of shoes
  • one pair of thongs (that’s flip-flops/jandals to the rest of the world)
  • cheap sunglasses
  • two hats
  • laptop
  • phone
  • graphics tablet

Everything is quick-dry or light weight – except for the electronics. And they’re for my job. And it still all fits into one carry-on bag.

And every time I’ve been travelling, unexpected things have occurred.

Weddings, pool parties, boating trips, military operations, jungle trekking, office working, canyoning, MMA training, dating.

You name it, I’ve done it.

In none of the above cases did I have to say no because I didn’t have the right stuff with me. When travelling, you can buy, rent, beg, borrow or steal whatever you need (seriously don’t steal you’re too pretty for prison).

Instead, I saved:

  • time – by packing only what I knew I needed to get me started.
  • money – by making what I had on hand work for me.
  • stress – by reminding myself  that there’s little chance I’m going to miss out on anything because I “forgot” to pack something.

And you can do it too.

So if you’re a packer, and you want to go further with less stress?

Try just packing and going. Try being a mover.

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