13 July 2010


Since arriving at my parents' house in Ithaca, NY, I've been alternating between relaxing by enjoying the beautiful scenery and seeing to the last details that need to be taken care of before I leave for Costa Rica. I've already gotten all of the required vaccinations (there were nine, in case you wanted to know), found someone trustworthy to look after my fish Louie, and arranged to vote by absentee ballot while I'm gone. After all, I've gotta uphold my civic duties, even from abroad.

The last big thing that remains is to get everything packed. It's kind of like packing for summer camp, but a lot more intense. Initially, I planned to ship most of the belongings I would take with me. Then I went to the post office and discovered how expensive it is to ship parcels overseas. It seems the USPS recently eliminated the first class shipping option to overseas destinations, so everything must be sent priority rate or not at all. We're talking $100+ per medium-sized box. At that rate, it just wasn't worth it to me, so I decided to limit what I was taking to that which would fit into four suitcases, and then I moved the rest of my things into a storage unit. And by "I moved," I mean "I hired burly men to do the heavy lifting."

Luckily, I have some contacts in Costa Rica who are giving me the lowdown on some things that are essential to bring, either because they are impossible to obtain or ridiculously expensive in Costa Rica. Over the past few weeks, I've been basically holding auditions for what I will take with me. Ultimately, deciding what stuff will make it and what stuff will be cut has been really good for helping me focus on why I'm making this move and what is important to me. I've heard that a big reason people move abroad is to simplify their lives, and while that is not the main reason I'm making this transition, it's certainly a side effect, so to speak.

Some things that I'm definitely leaving space for include:
1. bug spray with DEET
2. sunscreen
3. waterproof hiking sandals
4. camera
5. books
6. photographs

I'd love to know...what would you make sure to bring if you were packing to move overseas?

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