Women travelling the world: Light packing and good advice from the Moomintroll


Packing small takes a lot of planning. The kids might have a tiny backpack for little toys, an ekstra shift and snack. You have to carry most of their lovely burden, so you need to pack light. Luckily women clothes take little space, too.

You can find plenty of tips on what to bring and how to pack. Look them up, for instance on Pinterest. I will leave you to do that. Just one important tip: roll all of your clothes tight before packing. It gives you more space and the clothes crease less.

But you do have some choices on what to bring. This time I will focus on you and not the kids: a curious female with small kids who will want to look close to marvellous on special occasions. Like on New Years Eve and your birthday. And the occasional party. One thing I learned is bring a nice dress that does not crease. A dress you love wearing and you look stunning in. Now there is a task for you – go find that dress! Maybe it’s already hanging in your closet. Anyway, it’s rolls up easily, takes close to no space and you will need it. And since it is the one dress you’re bringing – you also have to wear it on a hot summer day to the beach. I bet that made it easier for you.

Bring one dress for both New Years Eve and the beach

Now you may be thinking: easy peasy. But now: to the shoes! You only get to bring two pairs for yourself. One that closes up to avoid sand, looks ok and you can use them in warm and cold weather. Wow, that’s a tough one! This is what I chose: A cool pair of Dr.Martens leather boots that looked great with the dress. Not very elegant, but cool. Go for the backpacker look. That should be easy – since you are that now. A backpacker.

Pick two pair of shoes: Dr. Martens and type Birkenstock or flip flops are good choices

I wore my boots to the beach, to the party and I climbed mountains in them. I hiked in the jungle of New Zealand, on the dusty savannah of Tanzania and they never failed me. I used them without socks on my way to the Zanzibarian hammock and put my woolen socks in them when having a cold night. Wow, this is great PR for Dr. Martens. They deserve that. I swear, they have not paid me a single coin for this! Then you pick a lighter pair of shoes that are ok for hiking, too. In New York, for instance. I’d choose an open pair this time. Flip flops if you like? Birkenstock? Choose good quality products that will last.

Cotton in layers – leave your silk shirt at home

When it comes to clothes - choose layers. Short sleeve and long sleeve cottons. Always choose cottons, hemp or bamboo. I prefer superthin, loose woven cotton in the tropics. It protects you from the sun, is super comfortable, dries easily and leaves little smell. You will sweat.I optimistically brought a silk shirt thinking it had a cooling effect and it was hell. It didn’t breathe enough and got clammy and hot. For towel buy a thin cotton kanga. You can also use the kanga as a dress, a skirt, a shawl and I’m sure you can come up with more ideas. It will dry in minutes in the wind and sun.Pack a thin woolen sweater and a windbreaker. One pair of pants. Jeans are heavy and dries slowly. They are also hard to wash by hand. Underwear: also cotton.

For fun: Buy a cheap bracelet for each country and wear them all

You’ve now got a few tips on what to pack. A good idea on how much to bring is to lay everything out on the floor before you pack. Then pick half. Do not bring any jewelry or an expensive watch. Give time a break.

The chances are someone will want what you have. Keep a log - you will forget half in no time. And you will be able to rent a surfboard - I promise. Last but not least - advice from one of my favourite authors on packing:

“Moominmamma had got up very early to pack their rucksacks, and was bustling to and fro with wooly stockings and packets of sandwiches, while down by the bridge Moominpappa was getting their raft in order.
"Mamma," said Moomintroll, "we can't possibly take all that with us. Everyone will laugh." "It's cold in the Lonely Mountains," said Moominmamma, stuffing in an umbrella and a frying pan.
"Have you got a compass?"
"Yes," answered Moomintroll, "but couldn't you at least leave out the plates - we can easily eat off rhubarb leaves.”

Tove Jansson, Comet in Moominland