Living with Less

Published on February 8th, 2011 | by Paz


How to pack for a year abroad Part 3

We are now 8 days away from take off. We have been meeting with friends and family and saying our goodbyes. It is sad and exciting all at the same time. We love our friends and have such a great community of people around us. We are very blessed with the relationships that we have created here. We hope that we will create these same type of relationships in China. Find out how to pack for a year abroad. What are we bringing to make China feel like home? If you missed Part 1 and Part 2

In the picture above you see some of the pictures we are bringing with us. I have been taking and printing lots of pictures and bought some  picture frames to bring with us. For some this might not be necessary, however we have missed our pictures hanging on our walls the most. We really don’t miss a lot of what we have purged…but we do miss our kids baby pictures on the wall. For us it makes our house feel like a home. So we are bringing some with us. We are also bringing some picture books.  Another benefit of purging is that it makes you rate the things that matter most to you. We probably never would have realized that we are so comforted by the pictures of our lives.

Games!! I love game night! We used to have game night every few weeks with a group of friends. It is great. You get to eat, drink, and play  fun games. It is an activity that you can engage with people, you laugh, you might even cry because you laugh so hard.  So we couldn’t leave with out a few games. We hope to have people over or going over to people’s houses on a regular basis. (We are social people) So we thought we would bring a couple games.

How to pack for a year abroad

An old favorite Catch Phrase; his game follows Zeek and I back to the our dorm rooms in Chicago. It has stayed strong even now with two kids, we still can’t get enough of it. Some of our other college games, such as quarters have not. Our new favorite was introduced to us by my brother and sister in law, Thea and Andrew. They keep getting in these posts. Our new favorite game is Bananagrams. Many of you may have known about this game for years, but it is new to us. We are now addicted. Although it is still a little too advanced for Lupita, she loves helping with the letters and making words with us. It encourages her to learn new words. Both of these games are very compact and are going in the suitcase.

Movies….well I have to say that as much as I love socializing wtih people I love a good movie with my family cuddled up together just as much. I know that you can buy movies super cheap in China, (the black market for movies is still going strong) but we are bringing along some of our favorites.

How to pack for a year abroad

Abe and Lupita’s favorites are: Finding Nemo and Beauty and the Beast. Abe might not know it yet, but he loves Beauty and the Beast. Zeek loves Sergio Leone‘s Spaghetti Westerns. If you haven’t watched them don’t tell him. He might make you sit down and watch them. So of course The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is coming with us. My favorites are Under the Tuscan Sun and Legally Blonde for obvious reasons.

Toys/Educational material for the kids.Since we get one suitcase for the both of them it has made us extremely selective on what the kids get to bring/keep. Every item must have a purpose. It must have a function that is beneficial for our kids. So what does that mean? It might be different for every family. For our family it means that every item must fit into a category: Art, Music, or Problem Solving. So does that mean that our kids have all boring toys…well no. They still get one doll and one truck. The majority of their belongings need to provide an educational component. Now we are bringing tutus…you might say how does this fit in. Well because our daughter loves to dance so she must have a tutu. See we are not crazy, just more conscience of what our kids get to keep. Think of all the toys your kids have and if you could only bring 5 which would they be? How much could you get rid of? Probably a lot. Try it for a week. Put all of the other toys in bags in the garage…I bet your kids won’t even notice.

Steri Pen….yes we are bringing a Steri Pen. Even though we do have a home that we will be going back and forth from we still thought it would be very beneficial to have a Steri-Pen. Our kids make liquids a whole food group in their diet. We buy more juice and soy milk than anything else. So we need to make sure that we have drinkable water at all times. We weren’t sure if we would get a Steri-Pen or not and then we saw a great review by Married with Luggage. They have been on the road for over 100 days and found this to be invaluable. Done. Bought it. I love good reviews.

Electronics….well considering I use to work for an Microsoft IT consulting firm and Zeek is a web developer we have enough electronics to probably power most small countries. Okay maybe not, but it feels like it. We are bringing:

So there you have it in a nut shell what we are bringing. It has been a crazy process packing and repacking and did I mention that we have packed!

We have learned so much about possessions from this process.It has taught us that the things that we loved yesterday might not be good for us today. Letting go of things is hard, but the relief that it brings is well worth the struggle. Now we purchase in a much more utilitarian manner and look at articles for their use and being mobile. We also have realized that we should not skimp on things that we love. When you aren’t filling your life up with stuff it is amazing how much extra income is there for the things you love. i.e. sparkly jeans! I have two pairs of jeans now that I love! Yup…two! Before I had 6 that were okay… why fill my life up with okay…when we can fill it up with pure enjoyment.

What do you have that you could do with out? What would you like more of….I bet it isn’t more jeans that you really don’t like.

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About the Author

Paz is an avid adventurer in life and food. Traveling across the globe with her family they enjoy cultural immersion and checking out the local eateries.

15 Responses to How to pack for a year abroad Part 3

  1. Pingback: How to pack for a year abroad Part 1 | International Cravings

    • Nicole says:

      I didn’t get a chance to talk to you about it tonight, but I am hoping to start up some writing ideas I have been working on, one including some similar ideas about using what you already have, minimizing possessions, etc. I will be sure to get your input when I get that far! I am officially SUBSCRIBED, hoping we can actually keep in closer contact even when you are so far! LOVE to you guys….

      • Paz says:

        So great to have you come and see us! Thank you! We are so greatful to have you in our lives. That is great to hear. I love writing my blog and honestly have been sad that with all of our craziness in moving that I haven’t had a chance to write more. Minimizing possessions is so key in everything that we have done and will continue to do. Even as we only pack one bag….we still feel like we have too much stuff. Thanks for subscribing….love you!

  2. Naxhelli says:

    Excelentes elecciones, que valiente familia, será un año maravilloso para ustedes. Mucho éxito en todo lo que emprendan y a su regreso visítenos por México para platicarnos sus experiencias.

    Les mando un abrazo fuerte y sigo con alegría y muucha curiosidad su travesía.

    • Paz says:

      Gracias por visitar nuestra página. ¡Nos da tanto gusto! Si estamos muy emocionados para ir. Ojala que los niños se divierten mucho también. Esperamos ir a México en 2012. Un abrazo para ti y tu mama. Espero platicar mucho con las dos cuando llegamos a México. Gracias por comentar. Un beso para todos.

  3. Love seeing what you guys are bring for the big move. The pictures are a wonderful idea as each captures a memory which you can look at each day. We sorely miss our friends and often go back through the pictures on the computer to remember times we had together. I love the idea that you will be hanging some up around your new home.

    Enjoy the last 8 days and we look forward to continuing to follow along on your amazing journey to China.

    • Paz says:

      Thanks for checking out our site. We thought we might be leaving in November so we packed up most of our ‘wall’ items back in October of 2010. We miss the pictures on the wall the most out of anything. It made our home feel bare. So we decided that 1. We need to invest more into pictures 2. We had to bring some with us. We are trying to enjoy every moment. I am sure you can relate, but each day feels as if it flys by and is in slow motion all at the same time. I didn’t know that was possible.
      Take Care,

  4. Betsy Talbot says:

    Paz, pictures are great! One suggestion if your bags are overflowing is to just print the pics when you get to China and buy frames there (are they cheaper in China if they are made in China?) 🙂

    Good call on the games. We use our deck of cards all the time, and it is also a fun way to get to know new people.

    Sounds like you are ready!

    • Paz says:

      Love that you used the word ready. Even though everything is almost checked off of our to do lists…ready is about the last word we feel at the moment. I am sure that is very normal, just funny how it creeps up on you. Great idea about the frames. We are only bringing a few frames and hoping to find lots of cool ones in China. I am glad to hear that you guys use your cards a lot. Some people thought we were crazy for packing games. We figure if nothing else Zeek and I could play them together. A good game of catch phrase and a blottle of wine cures just about anything in our book. Can’t wait for your trip to Antarctica. Thanks for checking out our site.
      Take Care,

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I have a few tips for your last-minute packing. In case 1 (or 2) of your checked bags get lost for a few days, spread your clothes around the bags so that everyone has 1-2 outfits in each suitcase. Also bring at least one outfit per person in carry-on luggage. You never know when you’ll need it. My checked luggage was lost (and never found) on a month-long trip to New Zealand in the winter. Ever since then, I have only traveled with carry-ons. I love the selection of pictures. I also cannot live without pictures. Right now, I have about 50 framed photos hanging in my home. I know you’ll love living overseas. I lived in Korea for 2 years and I hope to do it again when my kids are a little older. Good luck in your new adventure.

    • Paz says:

      Elizabeth- I am finishing packing our carry-on and yes we are packing clothing. What a great suggestion. Thank you! I can’t imagine what we would do if all of our luggage got lost…but I can guess that it would include a lot of Hong Kong shopping. 🙂

      Maybe our next trip could be carry-on only. that would be great. I can only hope. Thanks for checking us out. I love that you have so many pictures hanging in your home. I think it tells a story of your life and reminds you of those wonderful memories everyday.
      Take care,


  6. Erin says:

    Hey Paz, pictures can be printed here at great prices but they also do not take up that much room so print away… Frames are also very inexpensive here but they are not as pretty as the ones you have pictured. When I find nice frames like that they are either as much or more than American prices so it is your call, pay now or later. Def bring the games!!! Great call! Games in English are hard to find. Steripen is a good emergency plan, but drinkable water is readily available for purchase. Electronics can also be purchased here so like the binoculars, mice could be purchased here pretty inexpensively. You guys are doing a great job bringing what you will truly need! Skype me when you get here, or if you need anything!

    • Paz says:

      Erin- good to know aboout the pictures. I was hoping to have printed many more pictures by now. But as you know…things never exactly go as planned. So we are a little behing schedule. No big deal. So looks like we will have fun printing them in China. Glad you liked my frames! 🙂 Thanks so much for all of the information. We sooo need it….truly. I will Skype you when we arrive. Hopefully we could meet up some time. I would love to hang out. Thanks again for all of your help.
      Take care,

  7. Pingback: How to pack for a year abroad Part 2 – International Cravings

  8. Pingback: How to pack for a year abroad – 6 month update – International Cravings

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    We are a family of four: dad, mom, sister, brother, who decided to leave our job, home, and community to live life in China. After a year abroad we decided to become permanent nomads. We road school our children and try to enjoy every minute.

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