One Month, One Bag, What Would You Pack?

If you were headed on a one month trip, with one bag, what would you pack?

Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss this very topic with my friend on her and my Facebook Live Pandemic Penpals.  It’s not just a hypothetical for me, either, since weekend trips where my husband and I packed our car to the brim recently inspired us to make the commitment to one large piece of luggage per person going forward. Travel is largely a fanciful thought during these times, but it made thinking about packing for a trip all the more enjoyable, and it’s a great exercise for discovering what actually is important to you.

The task seems simple, until you think about the vast array of amenities you enjoy at home that you potentially have to leave behind as you narrow down your packing list.

woman standing on porch with luggage

Does the thought stress you out?

Do you consider the idea of packing for even a short trip stressful? Well for me, it wasn’t until recently. Before, the task was relatively simple: figure out what I want and need. But now, as a new mother, I find myself packing on behalf of a family, considering not only myself, but also coordinating packing with my husband and determining what we need to pack for our son. Confronted with this new challenge, I’ve quickly come to understand the mothers I saw in my prior travels pushing luggage carts that looked more befitting of a StrongWoman challenge than travel as I briskly rolled by with my laptop bag and carry on.

stressed woman on porch with luggage

What to pack?

The process of elimination started to overcome my thought process. I began to try to circumvent the question than confront it: “one bag” really means one bag plus a laptop bag and purse, right!? But eventually, I reverted to the initial declaration of one bag, and confirmed that it’s one bag period for the sake of minimizing any additional questions, and I began to focus on the challenging task at hand.

Naturally, I started with my toiletries and similar accessories. Personally, I feel like if I have all of my toiletries, I could survive anywhere. Items like Vitamin E oil for my moisturizer, my satin pillowcase, and my headscarf made the cut. I figured pretty much anything else I could purchase once I arrived to my location.

The next order of business was fitness — if I don’t maintain some level of physical activity, there’s just no way I’ll feel my best. I would be sure to bring my jumprope and bands.

Next order of business is what clothes I would bring? When you’re packing just one bag, versatility is key. Starting with leggings aka tights. Why?? Because if you pack a nice pair of black tights, you have the option to dress them up or down, and they take so little space. These days you can find quality tights that are chic that would go great with a tank top or with a blazer. Lastly, I would pack black loafers. I like to wear them with everything!

What did I learn?

Through all of this I learned that what’s most important is that I do not need to stress about what to pack. Taking a more minimalist approach may be challenging, but it’s an opportunity to take a load off. Not worrying about packing your entire home and wardrobe may allow you the opportunity to focus more on the journey and experiencing your destination. My next trip, I will be sure to pack the bare necessities and focus on the journey. As long as I’m with my family and we are healthy, I’m sure that whatever we pack we will make do. I encourage everyone who has an upcoming trip to consider traveling lighter than you normally would.

little baby reading book

Understandably so, during these times travel may be the last thing you’re thinking about, however we can have hope that one day when things normalize that we can shed a couple of luggage pounds.

map of united states

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Nia Avery is a New Orleans based Fine Art Consultant for Heather James Fine Art. Prior to joining Heather James Fine Art in 2017, Nia was an art consultant in Beijing, China, where she oversaw the inaugural C!Talk initiative, a series of cross-cultural events sponsored by the World Culture Open organization. She also previously served as an art consultant in Houston where she co-led the Emancipation Economic Development Council workgroup for the art non-profit Project Row House. Nia received her Bachelor of Science from Clark Atlanta University. Before relocating to New Orleans, she served on the board of Loma Linda Hospital’s “Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild” in Indio, California, and was a member of Desert AIDS Project’s “Partners for Life” committee in Palm Springs, California. “New Orleans is my hometown, so I am thrilled to be back. As a gastronome and fine art consultant, I have found that this city is the perfect fit – and because New Orleans is a city focused on tourism, there are always opportunities to meet people from all over the world. Living here presents an exciting opportunity to contribute to the cultural landscape. My favorite place in the city has yet to be discovered. From 1000 Figs, to Original Thought, to the McKenna Museum, there is always something to discover and experience. I am excited to discover many new favorites for years to come.”

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