Isn’t it funny that no matter how much you plan, you always seem to be an a panicked frenzy at the 11th hour? I guess the monsoon that bowled through Houston today didn’t help the cause. Everything was closed. The banks. The pharmacy. Even the Apple Store was completely closed today (I was hoping to have them address why my phone only lasts 6 hours on a full charge these days). Pair that with Walgreens wanting to charge me $65 to reproduce 12 passport photos, and I was on the brink of a completely unproductive day. (I have to also thank Walgreens for shorting me on one of my travel meds, which I just discovered as my regimen starts today.)

So what did I actually do today? Well… I got my online affairs in order. Set up auto-bill pay. Notified banks about my travel. Researched visas, which is terribly confusing. And I started making extremely important decisions like, which pairs of shoes should I bring? It seems trivial, but when you only have 40L to pack, one pair of sneakers and any other footwear is about 1/4 of your available space. So you are simply out of luck if you want to hike AND go to a decent food establishment.

Here’s what my pre-packing cube wardrobe looked like for 7 weeks of travel:

7 weeks of clothing

I was feeling really good about it, until I started to fit it in a 40L pocket that also has to share space with toiletries (and I’m not just talking toothpaste and deodorant), electronics and adapters, medication, a towel, a dry pack, and of all things, a clothes line. Needless to say, I felt like that Southwest commercial with the monkeys standing on the luggage. I was attempting to fit it all in a hybrid pack, but I think the wheel-about internal structure is robbing me of valuable liter-age. The zip-on front day pack is also no longer zip-onable since I’ve stuffed it to the brim with a single camera bag, hand wipes, sunglasses, and a water bottle. This all after I realized that I had initially packed too much, and took an entire day’s worth of clothing out.

On the bright side, I do have some incredibly light-weight “technical” garments to bring… Just about everything in tow–including undershirts, short sleeve button-ups, long sleeve shirts, hiking pants, and cargo shorts–will be hand washable and should dry over night. This quick-dry apparel is the only reason I stand a chance of fitting a weeks worth of clothing in, along with everything else. Why does this sound like it should be so effortless as I write this:

“Just pack a week’s worth of clothing in a carry on…” Simple.

12 hours left before liftoff… It feels hopeless, but that plane is leaving with me on it, give or take a week’s wardrobe. I’m still trying to book a few more things before I leave as well. I suppose if I don’t get around to it, Singapore will have the interwebs.