They say that in order to pack for a trip, you have to be able to dismantle the front porch of a decrepit house and rebuild it from scratch using only wooden nails and thumb tacks. I'm kidding, front-porch design has nothing to do with packing for an extended trip abroad, although, while caught up in the heat of what to pack, what to box, and what to toss, it can sure seem just as daunting. Even if you've only been in your current location for a summer and haven't had the opportunity for true junkish accumulation to happen.
Maybe because I've done so much packing and shipping and unpacking and storing in the last two years of my life, the initial "packing" sequence holds something of a permanence to me, more so than if I hadn't have had to move my life around in and out of the country so often. And maybe after it cost me almost $400 to ship my things from Brooklyn to Salt Lake, I realized there is a certain beauty and clarity that comes from owning few possessions. This realization has not kept me from the Keihl's counter at Nordstrom, but it is nice to think about, especially when I find myself in one of my "vagabond-ish" moods.
Like now for instance. I am determined to find myself having arrived in Turkey with only the clothes on my back, a carry-on full of good literature, and enough of my favorite deodorant to last me a year. I am not a realistic packer by any means of the word. A more accurate fantastical arrival of mine would include a suitcase full of children's books, three pairs of black flats because they all happen to be my favorite, silly bands finding themselves exploded into every nook of the contents, and of course, enough of my favorite deodorant to last me a year. With other "necessary items," like t-shirts, if you really want to get down to it.