I don’t consider myself a high maintenance girl. I have pretty simple needs really – I can get ready in 15 minutes flat, full face of make up and all. I’m happy to throw on a pair of jeans and a tee, and as long as I’m given a pair of shades I will happily set foot outside without my slap. All I ask is that you give me coffee first. Taking all of that into account I thought I was a fair candidate for this travelling malarkey. Sure I would have to forfeit a few hair washes and live out of a backpack but how hard could it be? So with what turned out to be a false sense of confidence I give you packing attempt one…

Luckily for me I decided that I would do a pack run a few weeks before my trip. One, because it would give me an idea of how much space, or lack there of, my new robust ‘serious backpacker’ looking bag would bestow, and two because it would give me a chance to run through my list.

When I said I wasn’t high maintenance I meant it wholeheartedly. But what I might have failed to mention is that I’m a control freak. A control freak whose love of planning results in copious lists by which I live my life. It’s not as bad as it sounds – I mean as the saying goes, ‘fail to plan and plan to fail’.

So with said list in hand, I stared aimlessly at my backpack which was to be my wardrobe for the next six months, weighing up the contents of my carefully curated list against what once seemed to be a roomy vessel of a bag and that’s when I realised something didn’t quite compute. How, I thought to myself, was I going to make everything fit? But undeterred and blindly unrealistic I continued to rummage through boxes, wardrobes and drawers emptying the contents listed onto my bed for inspection. See item a.


Item a

While taking in the sight of my bed, which was now strewn with practically every item I owned, it hit me. I’m an over packer (some may say the number one and often most common symptom of the high maintenance). But I’m sticking to my guns on this one. My over packing has more to do with fear than it does of maintenance. The absolute crippling fear that I will have not planned and packed for every possible incident, scenario and or event. So with the utter realisation that I couldn’t take it all left me with one simple solution – I couldn’t go.


My serious backpacker bag the Osprey Farpoint £108.00 with free delivery

Now of course by this point it’s booked, I’ve left a job I loved as an editor in London and I’ve got a grand total of 16 days until I leave. So after a few deep karmic breaths, some help from my mum (the master of lost causes) and some serious re-jigging (technical packing term) I pulled myself together, chucked my list in the bin and with it my fear.

What I’ve packed:

 Underwear and socks x7

PJ’s x3

Vests x3

T-shirts x3

Crop tops x3

Trousers x3

Shorts x4

Bikinis x4


Flip flops



Day bag


Towel x2

Toiletries and medication

Travel related garb such a my laptop, iPod, books and camera

 By Sophie Maguire

About the author

At 5ft 1 (and a half) Sophie may be small but she is certainly fierce. After finding out she was dyslexic at the age of seven she made it her life’s mission to wage a war against words and carve a career out of a craft she admired so much. Hard work, determination and a lot of journals later, Sophie graduated with a degree in journalism. Her obsession and love for the written word has seen her as Editor at Semple to now blogging her way around the world. She’s irrationally angry, partial to a LARGE glass of chardonnay and has an intolerance for most people.

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