What If You Could Take Just 1 Suitcase?

Faced with an imposed restriction of 1 checked bag per passenger, I desperately tried to ship my 2 additional bags air-freight to Guatemala. No such luck! Availability had been booked solid until October. Apparently, luggage restrictions are common during periods of high demand for cargo space to Central America — which just so happens to coincide with the start of my school year. It was time to reevaluate what to take with me to the other side of the world.

Paring down my belongings to 1 checked bag proved a far less formidable task than anticipated. Books & CDs were moved to my Kindle & laptop. Reams of lesson plans & student handouts were saved for download at my new location. A web search revealed that prescriptions, toiletries & clothing in my size/style were easily available in Central America. Had my destination been Thailand, getting clothes & shoes to fit would have been nearly impossible, but in Guatemala it looked like I could get anything I might need.

As my suitcase began to fill I got a ‘warm fuzzy feeling,’ realizing I was bringing possessions that would make my destination feel like my new home. A favorite fry pan, pot & kitchen knife,  my well-worn/comfy walking shoes, an alarm clock that greeted me each morning with its soothing chimes,  a tranquil night light that greeted me before even the coffee cup & my goose-neck reading lamp were all must-bring items. My favorite space-age, insulated jacket (just perfect for planned hikes up volcanoes), a Swiss army knife given to me by my dad & thick woolen socks were all packed. Still there was room for more! So in went a portable water-purifying bottle, light-weight rain gear, some favorite spices & of course, my 2 favorite books for studying Spanish & touring the country.

With my checked bag packed to the brim, Egyptian cotton sheets, a small down pillow & as much to-teach-in clothing as I could cram into my carry-on completed the packing project–after all, I would need a teaching wardrobe upon arrival. With my laptop around my neck & cap on my head, I was ready. Or was I?

ISR asks: If you could just take 1 checked suitcase to
your next overseas location, what would you pack?