17 July 2009


How many pairs of trousers do you need for a six months trip? How much tooth paste? Do you really need to take paper clips? What about an extra USB cable? DVDs for entertainment? Spare sleeping bag?

Packing the right things and not any more has been hard, even though we have been camping for years. This trip has other challenges: we have camera gear, dive equipment and lots of recovery paraphernalia for different kinds of emergencies, we are packing for six months, not three weeks; we have no idea what the deal is with getting supplies en route. We have had so much different advice about buying replacements throughout Africa, that we can get everything along the way, that we should pack extra supplies as there is nothing between the mayor centres, it's hard to know how it's going to turn out. Plus there are three people on this trip, not two.

We are well fitted out, with built-in cupboards on both sides, metal lockable boxes on the roof, and sliding drawers accessible from the back, so there is a space for everything. But as it turns out we just packed too much of everything, and we were too optimistic about the space we have. Filling everything up right from the start made it annoying to get to stuff when we needed it, and it seems that what we need during the day is hard to get to, and what we need at night a completely different set of items - is buried under a lot of stuff, too.

So a few days ago we started thinking about shipping some of the things we don't really need to Germany, and as it turns out we are quite happy to lose some of our dive gear, which we can hire when we go diving. It's nice to have your own gear, but a little optimistic when there is so much else to carry. We have also dumped some clothes on the principle that we can always wash,. and that camping means it's acceptable to have stains on your shirt.

Finding the right way to ship to Germany has been a bit of a slog, though, as our first option, DHL, has given us so much grief in the past, and now wanted to charge us 400€ for 20kg. Luckily NamPost came to the rescue and a very efficient and unflappable woman behind the counter helped us find packing material and found the cheapest way to ship, costing us only 120€ for 30kg. It'll take four weeks, but since we are not there till January, we don't really care. Let's just hope everything arrives in one piece.

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