Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I'm Going To Korea And This Is What I Packed

A month ago, I booked a trip to South Korea, a trip I promised my Korean roommate I would do but could never muster up the courage — or funds — to take. 

Don't worry, I am aware that traveling to Korea at this particular juncture doesn't come without its risks. The political climate isn't the best it's ever been, but it isn't the worst, either. Sure, the looming threat of all-out war concerns me, but it's not enough to deter me from taking an expedition that is long overdue (to be honest, I found a cheap flight and didn't buy cancelation insurance because I'm also a cheapass. So I'm committed to this trip, nukes and all. Woohoo!) 

I know I probably sound like a confident, seasoned traveler, but the truth is, I'm not. I don't travel often, and when I do it's never very far.

The furthest I've been is New Orleans (I'm from Toronto, Canada). So, in addition to this being my first vacation in about a decade, Korea will mark the furthest from home I've ever traveled. There are several challenges that I've had to consider while preparing for this trip — foreign culture and language, long flight, finding my way around with little to no phone access — but the one that has given me the most pause is deciding what to pack. 

In previous travels, I had the luxury of packing light. 

I'm not a minimalist, I just hate lugging around a heavy bag. If I had the money to pay someone to carry my bag for me, I'd bring everything, including the kitchen sink — you never know when you might need to wash your hands in a foreign place. Judging by the fact that I could hardly afford the flight, employing a personal pack mule won't fit the budget this time around, meaning tough decisions have to be made. 

And, since lists are this company's specialty, I thought I'd play to my strengths by organizing my ideas and writing them in a list format. Here's what I came up with. 

Suggestions are encouraged. Share, like, and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

1. Four pairs of underwear

This probably sounds like it won't be enough, but hear me out. Each pair of underwear can be used twice when flipped inside out. That means four pairs, barring any fecal disasters, can last about eight days if necessary. The plan is to hit the laundromat twice, but if I only get the chance to go once, then my four pairs should be enough.

2. Eight shirts

You can never have too many shirts, because shirts help cast the illusion that you've changed your outfit entirely. No one looks at you and says "didn't you wear those jeans yesterday?" But everyone will notice when you've worn the same shirt two days in a row.

3. One pair of jeans

I know a perfect segue when I see one, and this isn't one of them, but it'll do. One pair of jeans is all you need. Jeans are the most durable and comprehensive pieces of clothing in the modern wardrobe. They rarely need to be washed, they don't stain easily, and you can wear them in practically any setting. I own one pair of jeans, and I'm bringing them. Easy, right?

4. My best party shirt

It's not a vacation unless you've worn a Hawaiian shirt at least once. I don't care if you're in Siberia, the party shirt is a must. 

5. Other pants (x3)

I'm bringing three other pairs of pants for a total of four pairs of pants. Each pair will have coinciding underwear. If all goes well, they'll be worn together on a strict four-day rotation. 

6. Shorts! Yes, shorts. How many? Who knows. Hopefully, every pair I own

It's thigh liberation season at last. I checked the weather and temperatures appear to be seasonably warm. I haven't decided how many I'm bringing, but I plan to fill every nook and cranny of my bag with pairs of shorts that I doubt I will even get a chance to wear. I know this is the complete opposite of packing light, but one can never have too many shorts. 

7. Twinkies

They say Twinkies can survive anything, even a nuclear attack. If World War III breaks out while I'm there and the nukes start flying, my Twinkies will surely survive me. If I make it to the end of my trip with without being incinerated, however, I will eat the Twinkies, thereby asserting my dominance over one of the world's most indestructible things. 

8. A basketball 

Kim Jong-un is a big basketball fan. He invited Dennis Rodman to North Korea a few years ago, where they watched a basketball game that featured members of the Harlem Globetrotters.

If war breaks out and I am captured by enemy forces, my basketball will be my only way out of a North Korean labor camp. I'll challenge Jong-un to a game of one-on-one for my freedom. 

For those who don't already know this, the game of one-on-one is based on an ancient honor code that prevents any self-respecting baller from declining the challenge. It's foolproof.

9. My limited edition Macho Man Randy Savage night-light

I never travel anywhere without it. Rest in peace, Big Geno.

10. DVDs

Die Hard, Disney's Hercules, The Big Lebowski, A Fish Called WandaCasino (it's a long flight), Clerks, The Two Towers (the extended version), and The Dead Poets Society.

11. Other crap

A nutcracker for cracking nuts, brass knuckles in case I fly United, a helmet because safety is important, a hat (baseball cap, not fedora), Montreal steak spice to mask the taste of strange food I'll be forced to eat, the standard cosmetics and electronics, a Canadian flag so that I can differentiate myself from all the boorish American travelers, and lastly, socks: I'm all for going sockless — nothing screams vacation like shoes and bare feet — but in a foreign country I foresee socks coming in handy.        

See you there!


Author: verified_user