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Bag Lady

Because I didn’t know what to expect on my trip to New Zealand, I tried to pack enough for different scenarios. Versatile pieces that I could dress up or down, and layer. That way I’d be prepared in case I decided to stay in a major city like Auckland and would like to go out, or if I got an office job or if I was in a rural area of the country and it was more laid back; I like options.

The plan was to be in New Zealand for about a year so I also needed to pack for season changes. The Average high for the country is 77 ˚F (25 ˚C) and the low is 51 ˚F (12˚C). This can vary depending on which section of the country you are in. South Island is notoriously close to the arctic and tends to be the cooler of the two major islands. Being from Florida, anything below 83 ˚F (28˚C) requires a sweater; I packed several.

I had a huge suitcase, that I affectionately christened ‘Goliath’, that could fit a large body all of my things. It even had room to spare, but alas it was 13 lbs (6 kg). over the airlines’ 50 lb(35kg) weight restrictions. Both my carry-on items were at capacity and couldn’t even fit an additional pair of socks. My backpack (aka David) and the carry-on luggage (aka Samson) were full of as many heavy items that I had reallocated from Goliath. I was at an impasse. Either lose 13 lbs of cargo or check a second bag. Despite my attempt to ‘pack light’, I decided more is better.

One of the items packed away in Goliath was a duffel bag (Duffy) in case I needed a soft sided bag for my travels in NZ. Miraculously even after repacking the additional 13lbs of stuff into my original bodybag suitcase, Goliath It still was only about 70% full. The plan was once I landed in Auckland and was past customs, I would consolidate all of my luggage and pack the duffle-bag (aka Duffy) and backpack (Delilah) away so now I had one mammoth of a suitcase(Goliath), carry-on (Samson), and a computer bag (David).

You find out what is important to you when you must lug it across an airport (through the city and up several hills). My inner feminist was pissed that I was lugging all these men around. I looked to the legit backpackers with only a backpack or two and I felt like I was missing out on the backpacker experience, and in the back of my mind Erykah Badu is taunting “You can’t hurry up, cuz you’ve got too much stuff”.

Let me be Erykah! Can I live? Those scalawags are probably mountain climbing and cliff diving too, so buzz off.

I came to New Zealand sight unseen. I had accommodation for the first few weeks but after that I would have to reevaluate. In the 6 months that I lived in Auckland I had trudged my bags all over Auckland several times before heading to Wellington.

I don’t have anything against legit backpackers and adventurous types, I just can’t relate (at this point of my journey). I don’t know what their story is, why they are here or how long they plan on staying so I can’t compare my stuff to theirs. They are on their journey, and I am on my own.

Hopefully, their backpacks provide them with as much supplies and peace of mind as my four pieces of luggage have provided me. At that time, everything in them is what I felt I needed to make it literally ALLLL the way (not half way) across the world away from family and friends.

At the end of the day, we have to be cognizant to remember whether you only have a backpack or you have a 10-piece luggage set (see four bags isn’t that bad) ‘all you must hold on to is you, is you, oh yes it’s true’. With that thought in mind, I have prepared myself to let go of the things that no longer provide a function. I came with one notion of what I needed and once I’m here I must evaluate if it’s worth carrying with me or not. #Message.

‘til next time,



From my previous experience living abroad, I knew there are a few things that would be hard to come by or more expensive to procure outside the US. I had packed those in my spare duffel bag. I don’t recommend this to everyone. New Zealand is a Westernized country so they have their own version of most of the modern convinces to which we have become accustomed. They even have a lot of American brands (however, they are just a smaller quantity and more expensive). I say this to say: where I checked an additional duffel bag, some of you would benefit from just redistributing the excess weight or getting rid of the it all together. For me, I know that roaming for a full 12 months is not likely and I will establish a home-base in New Zealand. In my circumstance it was worth the cost USD$25 extra to load up on things that I probably could have found here or ordered online.


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