What should we bring with us?
Wow, wow, wow, this is almost top secret, but we'll tell you anyway although it won't be easy. I say it won't be easy because some of the things that we carry in the backpacks have changed quite a bit, we've even (think) we've achieved balance.
Before we set out on this trip, I read the book: "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" written by Marie Kondo, and it was a life changer on so many levels. It was one of those books that arrives at the right time and landed into the right hands. Obviously, I highly recommend the book, regardless of whether you're planning to go on a trip or not. In my case, reading it helped me not only to prepare me for this trip, and I think it's no small coincidence that Marie is Japanese, a culture I consider myself to be a fan of. I mention her book to you, because without it I'm sure I would've traveled with my whole house in tow. We found some packing essentials on Amazon, such as these packs that help us keep everything organized. Each of our children have one of their own, and Artur and I have two of of our own each, plus one we all share for those miscellaneous things we carry along. In these, we carry everything that we can fit inside, and whatever doesn't fit, has to go. We also carry two small toiletry bags and really important stuff (according to Cami) which can't be left behind such as almond oil, homeopathy related items, Just lotions, Balipura aromatherapy spray, and those things that take up some space which I have not been able to let go of yet.
As of today, and after several shifts in the mix, the following is what we carry in our two backpacks and our one carry-on suitcase. What do we each carry, you might ask? well, let me describe in detail what we each carry around to enable us to live this nomadic lifestyle.
Artur carries a pair of golf shoes, a pair of sneakers, and 'alpargatas' those natural fiber and canvas shoes- Tom's, three t-shirts, a pair of bermuda shorts, a pair of long pants, and a bathing suit. A light sweater and a light jacket. Two pairs of socks and underwear. A work out t-shirt and work out pants.
Cami carries a pair of flip-flops and sneakers. A pair of shorts, two dresses, a pair of jeans, two short sleeved t-shirts and a long sleeved t-shirt. A light sweater and a light jacket. Two pairs of socks and underwear. A work out t-shirt and work out shorts.
Beni and Blas each carry a pair of 'crocs', and a pair of sneakers. Three bermuda shorts and a long pair of pants, each. Four short sleeved t-shirts and a long sleeved t-shirt, each. A sweatshirt and a light jacket, each. Two pairs of socks each and a sports active wear for soccer outfit, each.
We carry some private items in our toiletry bags, those that we each need, so here's where the creative side kicks in because those are the items that take up the most space. There, we usually carry those things that we think we won't find in our following destination, although we do find those things almost all the time. Although I must confess that I can't do without my Dr. Selby lotion, almond oils, homeopathy products, my Just lotions, and the Hipoglos baby powder. I do recommend that you should try to take those items in the smallest possible size, because there's always the option of having someone who's traveling your way that could bring you whatever you're running out of. For instance, I've switched to a smaller hair brush and have ditched my large shampoo and conditioner bottles and replaced them with some by MUJI, which is our favorite spot to buy things that are smaller and easy to carry when we travel. Every item, as silly as it seems, adds up and takes up space, so it's important to downsize in all possible ways. Our yoga rope and mats are our exercise equipment.
The children carry everything they can fit into their backpacks and they are then packed inside one of the large backpacks. because there's nothing worse than traveling with too many pieces of baggage, you will forget one somewhere for sure, we've already been through that twice while in Japan, we forgot our carry-on suitcase which had everything inside: passports, cash, insulin. One of those times we lost left it behind at the train station, and the other time I can't even recall anymore, but luckily this happened in Japan, so when we went back to get the suitcase, there it was, untouched.
What the children can't do without are their Lego's, a kick ball, cars, a set of arts & crafts, and their books. They can play Lego's for hours on end, Benicio loves to draw, and Blas loves cars and motorcycles.
We can't do without these THERMOS that retain the cold and heat and which we love; these portable chargers that are life savers and have saved us each and every time, sun-hats and baseball caps, sunglasses and sunblock. We each carry our own notebook for note taking and we share the iPad and the laptop.
Artur keeps telling me that we're carrying too many things, when I go through the things we have I see too many things, but when I look back on all the things we let go of already, I think what we've downsized so much and we carry only a few things, so, as of today, this is what we have and carry with us, what tomorrow will look like, we'll have to wait and see.