Tales from Japan: Packing Backpacks


We are about to go on a new adventure. Bernard, my other Roaming Backpack, together with four more merry backpack(er)s who have gracefully agreed to forsake suitcases ­– their usual choice of comfort – are joining me on “roaming” and “backpacking”. We are going to Japan!

Now counting down the hours, what else to do but pack?

In the movie Eat, Pray, Love, Liz sighed as she was packing away before her epic trip to Italy, “My whole life fits in a 12-foot square box.”

Here, we six people are faced with a similar lament: My eight-day journey will fit in a wee little backpack.

So, let me use my backpack as a case in point. Here is my choice of belongings for the upcoming days on the road, if you don’t mind the somewhat intimate details.

Since I am traveling light, try not to expect me in glamorous frocks. More like black and grey as the default color to beat the cold. Spare the mentions of inner layers, I will be alternating between two trusty grey turtle-neck tees, wrapped in a scarf, a fleece zip-up jacket, a wind-and-water-proof coated down jacket, and I’ll look like a champ in my hiking pants and hiking boots.

Imagine a girl sporting this outfit walking into a Japanese style homestay about to be served a kaiseki meal…

The airport limits all my hand-carry toiletry items to a small, transparent Ziploc bag. So there it is, no fuss.

A folder keeps all travel documents safe. Plus a notebook, a pen, a phone and a wallet.

My heaviest gear should be my camera. But in all honesty, there might be times when I would rather keep my hands in my mittens, at the expense of missing quite a few lovely pictures of snowy landscape.

Voilà! This will be my life in the next eight days, all fitted in a backpack.

Pack light, leave room for many more possibilities!