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is sign language really a language?

For the purpose of this post, I’ll be using the American Sign Language as the topic of discussion.

ASL, PSE, and SEE.

Do you know what these stand for? Most of us are acquainted with ASL, which stands for American Sign Language. If you’re from the UK, you have the British Sign Language (BSL); I’m from Peru, so I learned the Peruvian Sign Language. Sign language does not depend on the spoken language of the country (hence they’re completely different in USA and the UK), so signed and spoken languages are not the same. That’s the first misconception that many have when assuming things about sign language.

The second thing is that sign language has its own variations, thanks to us hearing people. PSE stands for Pidgin Signed English, and it’s basically ASL vocabulary, but using the English (spoken language) word order. In other words, if PSE were a language e.g. French, you would speak French words with the English structure. While this may sound ‘correct’ to English-speaking people trying to learn the new language, the French natives would obviously find it wrong. Hence, while many hearing people may find it easier to learn PSE instead of ASL, PSE is not a correct representation of the language that the Deaf community uses.

SEE stands for Signed Exact English, which uses ASL to give the exact representation of the English language. SEE is not as common as the other 2 sign languages, as it’s much more complicated and redundant to use SEE.

The Deaf community uses ASL – the proper and correct form of signed language. However, hearing people oftentimes end up learning PSE, as it’s easier to learn the signs without having to learn the proper syntax and language structure. What’s wrong with this? Let me tell you.

ASL, just like every sign language that has been founded by the Deaf community in every country, is an independent and unique language on its own. It is signed and expressed in a different way to English – thus, it is called ASL and not Signed English. ASL is a representation of the underrepresented culture of the Deaf community.

So what happens when we, the hearing people, change it so that it’s “easier” for us to learn the language? We insult the Deaf community, and we diminish the validity of their own language. It would be absolutely wrong if you do this in any other foreign language, so why do we do this with sign language?

The simple answer? Because it’s “easy”. I have done this myself, thinking that it wasn’t that big of a deal, but when I dug into this topic, I realized how wrong I was. If you have ever learned a foreign language, you would know that the syntax and grammar are what make a language its own. You don’t just learn the vocabulary and use the structure of your native language; that’s preposterous.

I don’t yet fully comprehend the moralities of learning ASL and PSE, as a lot of people and even in TV shows (like Switched at Birth) use PSE so hearing people can use simcom (simultaneous communication). This made me believe that the Deaf community is pretty flexible with our use of sign language – which is great. PSE is definitely a great stepping stone to those learning ASL, but whether we should favor it over ASL is something to consider.


All in all, if you want to learn a new language, please try to learn it well. Sign language can be daunting and different, but it’s also beautiful and (so) aesthetic in its own unique way, and it’s the first step to bridging the gap between the hearing and deaf worlds.

-Michelle

entertainment & everyday life

To me, entertainment is music, film, theater, social media, literature, and many other things. It can often be seen as a frivolous way to spend our time, but it’s what inspires our creative souls. It’s important, and it can be meaningful.

entertainment as a creative source

It can be a creative source when look for inspiration in the music that we listen to, the films that we watch, and the works that we read. It’s a huge medium, because it is through others and their works in which we can increase our artistic inspiration. I am inspired everyday by the art that people create and share with me, because it’s a sign of encouragement for me to follow my creative curiosity as well.

Personally, literature functions as my primary source of entertainment. It allows me to travel to a different world and dimension through the eyes of others, encourages me to self-learn a particular subject that I’m curious about, and prompts me to question my own values through the themes that the book poses. The same can be applied to theater and films. Entertainment can be more than just entertainment if we allow it to be.

entertainment as a creative outlet

Just like different forms of entertainment are becoming increasingly accessible to us, so is our way to enter the entertainment industry. People seeking to promote themselves no longer need to be talented musicians, actors, singers or dancers. They can kick-start their career by self-promoting themselves through social media, YouTube, and their own blogs.

This is not to say that it’s easy to gain a successful platform online, but anyone can do it. I do it, even if no one reads my blog. But I will continue doing it because my blog is a place where I can creatively express myself. It’s a liberating way for me to find solace. Though some of these creative ‘outlets’ can be seen as more superficial, e.g. Instagram, Twitter, some YouTube ‘stars’ – the truth is, there’s no rule as to how we need to express ourselves creatively. There shouldn’t be.


I don’t see entertainment as something irrevocably separate from our reality. I see it as a way to inspire our everyday lives. What does entertainment mean to you?

-Michelle

 

on traveling more

A part of us should always be in constant travel, whether physically or mentally.

To me, traveling means leaving my comfort zone, the place where I call home. It means not knowing what to expect with the people I interact with and with the places I visit. It means throwing my expectations off the table and experiencing each step of the way with youthful and pure curiosity. To me, traveling means independence, freedom, learning, and adventure.

Beyond just checking off bucket list destinations, traveling allows me to immerse myself in a world completely different to my own. A world in which the values, priorities and languages may be radically different, making me question whether I’m living with the values and morals that I wish to implement in my life.

on physical travel…

Traveling to a different country is always such an adventurous and exciting experience. It literally pulls you away from the mundane life that you’re accustomed to, and thrusts you in an environment that leaves you in awe. The places that you’ll stay, the destinations that you’ll visit, the food that you’ll eat and the people that you’ll meet – the combination of these experiences is unlike any other. Even if you forget most of these events, you’ll leave the place with a renewed sense of understanding about the world that surrounds you. More importantly, it might even reveal a thing or two about the kind of person that you are.

Whenever I travel, I try to invest myself in the planning of the trip as much as possible. This means reading other travel bloggers’ reviews, researching about the most convenient flight schedules and prices, considering more than one place to stay at, familiarizing myself with the city before I’m even there – basically, be my own travel agent, along with whoever I’m going with. Taking these steps are crucial in my understanding of how the ‘traveling world’ works. I’ll learn from all the research, discoveries and mistakes that I make along the way, because that’s what matters to me. I don’t want to be just another blind tourist being guided to the most beautiful and popular places of a country; I want the real deal.

on mental travel…

Traveling through the eyes of others and the experiences of those that lived before us is… amazing, to say the least. The only way that we can observe life from a perspective different to our own is if we put ourselves in the shoes of someone else. The best and easiest way to do this? Read. Read lots. Fiction, business, non-fiction, biographies, fantasy. All genres, authors of all ages, dead or alive. Even the ‘badly written’ books will teach you a thing or two (for instance, how to not write a badly written book).

Physical traveling allows you to experience the novelty through your flesh and blood, while mental traveling allows you to detach from yourself and understand why others see things the way they do. I feel that they both complement each other wonderfully. They’re different kinds of travel, but each is very valuable on its own.

on traveling more

I am in constant travel. Either through the varied books that I’m currently reading, or through exciting trips that I’m lucky to go on every once in a while. But I don’t crave physical travel as much as I did before. I still value and dream about it as much as before, but I’ve realized that we shouldn’t feel like we need to travel to satisfy our adventurous self.

We can travel whenever we want to, wherever we are. We can travel in the hometown that we’ve lived in for more than a decade, within the home that saw us grow into young adults – anywhere. Because traveling is not necessarily about doing, having and going to the places that you haven’t yet been to; it’s about exploring the things that surround you in different ways.

-Michelle

on keeping a journal

I think what makes a journal so precious is that no one sees it besides yourself. Sure, you can show it to others, but most of the time only you see it. You can write as trashy or as beautifully as you like, as badly or as neatly as you want, and doodle as horridly or artistically as you feel like – no one cares. This kind of liberation encourages me to find the purpose of writing when absolutely no one knows that I’m doing it. No one cares, but me.

The hard thing for many of us is being consistent with this task. I have had myriads of journals ever since i was young, from store-bought pretty diaries to online secret blogs, and for many years I failed to keep it up. Last year, however, I decided to pick it up again, and I haven’t stopped ever since. I journal at least 5 days a week (unless I’m traveling), and… it’s part of my life now.

After exploring different kinds of journaling, I have stuck with 2 ‘types’ so far:

  • 5 minute journaling: I spend about 1-2 minutes each morning to do this, and I’ve freed myself from doing it at night as I find it redundant.
  •  morning pages: I basically write whatever comes to my mind on my Hobonichi Cousin daily spread. I don’t write 3 pages – just enough to get my thoughts flowing.

As you can see, I’ve taken 2 popular types of journaling and tweaked them to my best interest, enabling me to journal because I want to, and not for the sake of it. Here’s what I’ve learned so far from journaling:

1. On lasting habits and self-discipline.

Making journaling become part of my morning routine has forced me to look at it as part of my everyday life. I’ve reached the point in which, even if I stop journaling for a few weeks due to external factors, I can get right back to it in no time. I feel that establishing a habit goes hand-in-hand with self-discipline, as it’s something that only you can reinforce. The benefits of journaling can only be felt after a period of time – just like many other habits – and if you can muster the energy to do it every morning knowing why you do it, I believe that you have learned to form a habit through self-discipline.

2. On mindfulness and emotional support.

There’s a certain sense of… freedom when you write without a structure. When you just let your thoughts materialize in paper. It has helped me solidify my troubling thoughts, and spark ideas that may have been buried inside me. As an introvert, I often ponder about things on my own, and having an outlet in which no one can judge me for it is very refreshing.

Additionally, by writing about stressful events, issues or problems that I have, I give myself the opportunity to step away from the event and reflect upon it more externally. The relief of passing my burden to writing, and reflecting upon it more calmly is a emotional support (for me, at least) in itself.

3. On your handwriting.

Journaling has also made me more conscious of how I present my writing. I’ve started to pay more attention to the type of pens that suit me best (gel pens, with tips no more than 0.4mm). Mainly, though, it allows me to practice my handwriting daily. Print or cursive. Calligraphy. Decorating writing. Any kind that I want. And though this is a more superficial point, it’s a small detail that adds to the perks of journaling.

4. On creativity.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since last year, i that creativity harness growth and development. I hate doing things the mundane and rigid ways. I love routines, but I love making them my own. I love creating, tweaking and thinking about different ways to do things, because only then can I do them on my own volition.

It’s very important to do things, including journaling, because you genuinely want to do it. Not for any external factor other than the one that exists within you. I believe this is key to sustain any habit or activity that you wish to do in the long term, as only then can you pull through even if obstacles stand in your way. Only then can you use your creativity to make this activity yours, and yours only.

Good luck!

-Michelle

ways to destress [in your room]

some days, we just need to unwind from our chaotic lives, and spend time for and with ourselves. we all have those days, and the best thing you can do is distract yourself with other relaxing and enjoyable tasks.

here are 18 ways that you can destress in the comfort of your own room:

  • listen to soothing music.
  • meditate.
  • organize your space.
  • photograph the little things.
  • dump your thoughts on paper.
  • or bullet journal.
  • stretch to relax.
  • blog, or create one.
  • practice (faux) calligraphy.
  • hone your favorite skill(s).
  • color your stress away.
  • listen to a TED talk or podcast.
  • let fresh air in.
  • drink & snack.
  • watch a film.
  • lose yourself in an adventure.
  • or listen to one.
  • rest.

and, when you’re ready…

  • take a walk,
  • a bike ride,
  • a jog,
  • or roller skating.
  • be with nature.

-Michelle

what living with water scarcity feels like

Recently, several cities in the northern parts of Peru, the country where I live in, were hit by heavy rain that caused catastrophic floods for many people. Dozens have died, and tens of thousands of people have had to flee because their homes have been destroyed. This event has been denoted as “coastal El Niño”.

I live in the city, far from where these floods occurred. But water supplies in the whole country were cut unexpectedly more than a week ago. It came so suddenly that we all had to make do with what we had. My family and I have a cistern (water tank) in our home, so we were okay, but there are many other families with no such convenience in their homes. But the cut in water supply wasn’t what created the major angst within the country.

The angst revolved around the instability that had been created around a basic need. We were told by the largest water supply company (Sedapal), that water would be restored gradually. Day after day, we were told that advances were made, but the unpredictability of the weather and conditions prevented such advances to be put into effect immediately. We would wake up everyday without water, without knowing when it would come back. It was heartbreaking to see people asking about the water supply, sharing news about the disasters, and so on. For more than a week, my Facebook page was filled with saddening news about my country. Everywhere I went, everyone was talking about water. I couldn’t read or do anything without thinking about what was happening around me.

As of now, water supply has been restored in the city, and so has the panic (which I wrote about) surrounding it. But it breaks me to see that what I experienced in this one week is minimal compared to what thousands of other people in the northern sections experienced. So, here’s what I learned from this experience:

One cannot live if one cannot survive first.

I was a wreck during the week when water supply was cut. Not because I had to use as little water as possible, but because I knew that what I was going through was nothing compared to what others living in even the same city were going through. Most of the news I read online typically concern other countries far from me.

When you see natural disasters, shootings or any other heartbreaking news, it’s easy to show your empathy but hard to feel empathetic. And on the back of your mind, it’s hard not to feel relieved that the event didn’t happen close to you.

This is the first time that I have ever been really impacted by a natural disaster. It has made me reconsider the things that I do now, and for the future. It makes climate change so real, because you can actually feel it. I’m creative-oriented, and I live by the belief that teaching people how to live instead of just surviving is key to our progress.

But now, I wonder if the way we are living is harming the way we survive.

Water is precious.

Like other things that we have in abundance in this world, I treated water like whatever. I have always had more than enough water to drink, wash and use whenever I wanted to. I never understood what ‘water scarcity’ meant. But when you’re struck by an unexpected shortage, it’s hard not to realize how precious it is.

I have learned to take 5-minute cold showers without shrieking. I try to use no more than necessary when I’m cooking. I think about every drop I use, because there are people who can only dream of having clean water like I do. I don’t take water for granted no more.

There will always be someone with less than what you have.

In my world, I can easily feel like I have less than what my friends, acquaintances or social media people have. There’s always more that you can buy, travel, and be. And that can be socially and emotionally crippling, as we’ll never feel complete living that way. But when you look at things from the perspective that you have more than what you need, your world shifts. Instead of feeling like you’re not good enough or don’t have enough, your uneasy comes from knowing that you are privileged in some way or another.

I believe that it’s healthy to have a continuous feeling of dissatisfaction. As humans, without it we wouldn’t be able to make progress. But it matters a whole lot the way you look at it. If your fixation is on not having enough, you will strive endlessly to have more for yourself. If your focus is on what others don’t have enough, you will work towards making others’ ends meet. It stops been about you, and it starts being about others.

At the end, we are all in this together.

-Michelle

does your job matter? | daily thoughts

We’ll inevitably ask ourselves this question at various points in our lives.

What it means to have a job

I believe that… your our job matters, regardless of the scale of impact. Whether you’re a doctor, programmer, salesperson or cleaner, your job matters. You may see how your aid helps your customers directly, or you may only see the result vaguely. Whatever the outcome,I believe that your attitude towards your job oftentimes matters more than the job itself.

When you think about all the people risking their lives working in clearly-dangerous factories, children working in sweatshops, and countless millions of people working menial jobs because they don’t have many skills to pursue other careers, the world seems like a really cruel place.

And yet, it’s unbelievable how many of these people are able to work in these jobs for so many consecutive years. Back when I was in high school, I befriended two cleaners that had been working at my school for more than a decade. They stay at work for much longer than our school days, and oftentimes have to stay a bit more due to school events. But the thing is, they always greeted me cheerfully.

The few times that I talked to them, they asked me about my circumstances and plans for the future. I would tell them, and when I asked them the same, they always told me about their families and the children that they had brought up. I believe that’s the main motivator for them. Knowing that they have a very important role to fulfill, not for themselves, but for someone else. And regardless of how monotonous, dissatisfying or tiring it can be to do intensive cleaning every day, they are willing to do it because they know that it will be worth it.

You may not have children or a family to work for, but I think it’s so important to be aware of how your job affects other people. And yes, there are always going to be jobs that help people the wrong way. You could be trafficking illegal imports to take care of your newborn, or deceiving your customers by selling overpriced products just because you want that extra cash. The world will always be a twisted place, but your world, the world you choose to surround yourself in, doesn’t need to be.

“Does your job matter?”

I ask myself this question all the time, because I believe that my job encompasses more than my future career. I believe my job is to be as knowledgeable, creative and helpful as I can be. It is not to be dictated by the income that I receive or the status that I gain in my profession, but by my thirst to become a better person than I was yesterday. Sure, I’ll probably have a job that others will define me by. But I don’t need to let that limit myself.

I believe that the way you spend your time is what defines you. Your job is a (big) part of it, but so is what you do outside of it. What you do in your free time – spending time with your family, delving into creative outlets, continuing to educate yourself – will be what shapes you within your workplace and everywhere else.

-Michelle

what no one tells you about applying to college

It’s that time of the year again. The long-awaited moment of truth when you feel that your dreams are either heard or crushed. Mine were crushed last year when I got rejected by all the US colleges I applied to. But it opened another door to me when I grabbed my gap year by the horns and spent this extra year getting to know myself.

But the time has come again, and it feels like deja vu. Rejected. Waitlisted. Accepted. Which will it be this year? Normally, US and European colleges release their admission decisions by the end of March. It’s not a nice wait. But here’s a few things of what applying to college can be like:

1. It’s f*cking expensive.

The application fee for one college can cost up to $90. Mine were between $60 to $90. But that’s not it. T

here’s another fee to send test scores too! As an international student, I had to pay $19 for each TOEFL test sent to an institution; $12 for each ACT sent to an institution (if I sent more than one test score, I had to pay double or triple that cost), $12 for all SAT scores sent to an institution, and $17 for my IB grades to be sent to an institution.

The costs don’t stack up too high when you apply to a handful of universities; but if you’re a millennial, you know that applying to competitive colleges is no joke, and you’ll probably apply to several more just to increase your changes. I applied to several this year and, needless to say, the costs made my heart hurt.

2. Applying for financial aid is hard.

When I applied last year, I was still working on financial aid papers up to the end of February. I had to fill in the CSS Profile (or the FAFSA for US citizens) – which asks in great detail about every past, present and future income, profit and expenditure in your household; my parents spent a great deal getting the needed papers; and I had to check the financial aid requirements for each university to ensure I had completed everything. The worst thing that it was a long, tedious process not just for me, but also for my parents.

Note: My perspective is that of an international student. I believe that there are many opportunities to get aid, not just from the university, if you’re applying for college aid in your home country. This means that you can be eligible for aid and grants that are not necessarily as complicated as the main one.

3. Your dream school will not always be your dream school.

Last year, I had the mindset that I would become an Ivy League girl. Asian, top grades, several top-notch extracurriculars, I was convinced I would make the cut. I didn’t, and with a crushed ego, I re-evaluated everything I had worked hard for.

I re-applied to college this year with a renewed sense of what I was looking for in college. Even though I had the extra time to think about how I fit into college before it actually happened, I believe this can apply to anyone: your dream school shouldn’t be fixed. Things change, people change, and you will change. More importantly, whether a college is your ‘dream’ or not shouldn’t define what kind of education you receive, because you will define it.

4. Always be open-minded. 

Applying to competitive colleges is becoming more like a reality Hunger Games for many of us. The best thing that you should do is apply for a range of different colleges: reach, fit and safety colleges. And keep your eyes open for other ones that may not necessarily fit with that profile, e.g. a small college in another country. You never know what you may discover in the application research process.

Being open-minded is also key when admission decisions roll out. Whichever college you get into, it should be a celebration. And if all reject you and you find yourself in a gap year – embrace this year to invest in all the things that you set aside during school. There are no wrong or right choices, so there’s no reason why you should close yourself to a fixed path.

5. It’s a chance to get to know yourself.

Despite the amount of work required for college applications, something that has helped me get through this process is by looking at the opportunity of growth within the application. When it comes to writing essays for each of the colleges – spend all the time you need to work on it. Researching, brainstorming, thinking, drafting and writing. Repeat. I realized that writing these essays in itself have helped see who I am.

When I compare the essays I wrote the first time I applied, to the essays I wrote for this year, I have become such a different person. My writing style and interests have changed to suit the passions that make me glow the most. Additionally, researching about a university’s programs has helped me see what the colleges really have to offer, and what courses I would probably be interested in.

All in all, it’s easy to see the admission process as a stressful and tedious task. Sending your profile and writing essays for other people to judge on your ‘worth’ is not exactly a fun game. But you can turn it around and make it your time to learn more about yourself too.

-Michelle

when fear strikes near you | daily thoughts

Failure. Flying. Rejection. Heights. Public speaking.

We all have fears, some more than others, some worse than others. Currently, I fear the world that is changing before my eyes. It’s not as if it suddenly hit me, but under the current circumstances, these sudden feelings of unease and guilt have hit me particularly hard.

The abnormal climate changes have led to a massive flood in the northern sections of Peru, the country where I’m currently residing it, and it has affected the whole country on different levels. This phenomenon has been denoted as the “coastal el Niño” and the whole country is in a state of emergency. Personally, I’m only affected by the sudden water cut in my area, but my family and I can survive on the cistern (tank for storing water) at least for a few days, so we’re all ok.

However, this phenomenon has been going on for several days now, and it’s the first time that I’ve felt the disturbances so close to me. You read on the news, every once in a while, about some disaster that destroys a city or town completely, whether it be a flood or earthquake, and you try to help and/or donate as much as you can to the cause. But when the disaster hits so close to your own home, it’s such a different scenario.

You can actually feel the panic if you go outside, especially to the poorer districts. You read on the news online about the government doing everything it can to stabilize the situation, but no sense of stability comes to you. I am typing this post sitting on a comfortable chair at my desk, but I feel so unstable and guilt-ridden. I donated to the cause a few days ago, but was that enough? Should I be doing more? Or should I be making sure we have enough water to last us more days? What is going on?

I am scared, but the thing that I’m worried about is not what’s happening right now. I’m worried about whether the things that I do and the career(s) that I intend to pursue are aligned with the world’s current events. Should I change my lifestyle to become as environmentally-friendly as possible? Should I choose a career that concerns people, or should I focus on a career that concerns the very world we live in more?

I was at a friend’s birthday party yesterday, and on the way there, I could see people clustered around ‘supply points’ to collect water back to their homes. And there I was, heading to someone else’s house where my friends and I would binge on food and drinks. Should I have gone there to celebrate despite what was going on right outside the doors?

We can always do more, but what about situations like this? Am I a bad person for taking real notice of this when it just so happens to be so close to me? Things like this happen every year; the only difference was that this year’s events were more notorious and catastrophic. I am usually involved in other philanthropic activities, but they are usually unrelated to the environment. But suddenly now the tides have turned.

Am I a hypocrite for caring so much now, just when things are starting to hit near me?

-Michelle

tips for minimalist packing

Traveling can be the most eye-opening and captivating experience. Not the vacation-type of traveling, but the let’s-explore-this-place kind of traveling. The one where you don’t just lie on the beach mat to get a bronze tan, but the one in which you have to find your way through specific attractions and end up discovering others along the way.

Whenever I travel (usually with my parents) to some foreign country, it’s always very exciting. But because we plan our trips from top to bottom, a lot of research is done beforehand. What places are we going, and how should we buy the plane tickets to get the best price? What hotels or Airbnb should we stay at during that time? What transport system are we going to use, and how does it work? Where should we eat for each meal, what places are we planning to visit, and should we buy tickets to certain places beforehand?

So many questions, and oftentimes many of these are not answered until you get there. I learned a lot about my naive travelling skills when I last visited Tokyo. The subway system there got my mom and I going nuts, and let alone the frustration of not being able to communicate in Japanese (I could barely understand their English because of their heavy accent! Shame on me). As much research as I tried to do prior to going to Tokyo, I didn’t truly learn until I made the mistakes myself.

After all, we don’t learn from others’ mistakes; we learn by making the mistakes ourselves.

An important part that you can prepare for is the stage of packing. The following are 4 steps that I currently follow in order to pack lightly and wisely:

1. Research the weather, your accommodation, and specific places

You can’t pack without knowing what weather to expect in your travel destination. If you’re going to more than one place (e.g. different cities within the same country), the weather may vary drastically, so you’ll need to pack different kinds of clothing accordingly.

Looking up and knowing what your accommodation place offers – whether it’s a hotel, Airbnb or friend’s place – can help you decide what type of clothing and how much to take. If it’s a hotel, chances are that you’ll be able to wash your undies and hang up your clothing. If it’s a cheaper hostel, you’ll probably need to pack light as there won’t be so much space for your luggage/things. If you’re staying longer, it’ll be very important to know beforehand whether you’ll be able to do some laundry or not.

Noting down specific places and attractions before your trip is a given. For instance, if you plan to go hiking, you must pack appropriate clothing and shoes. If you’re anticipating a formal dinner, make sure you have at least one formal attire.

2. Make a packing list a week prior to the trip to see if you’re missing anything

My current packing list consists of:

  • Essentials (e.g. documents, phone, chargers)
  • Toiletries (from toothbrush to face cream to shampoo)
  • Accessories (bag, sunglasses, etc.)
  • Clothes (self-explanatory)

Your list may consist of more sub-lists, depending on what you need. There are lots of sample lists online that you can use as reference, too. A helpful thing to do is to keep your old packing lists saved in a Word file (or somewhere safe), as you can pull them out for your next trip and make the necessary adjustments. This will save you the burden of creating a full list all over again.

3. Pack bearing in mind that you could buy more clothes if wanted

As a girl, I tend to want to dress nicely when I’m traveling, as I’ll most likely take a lot of pictures to keep as memories. If you’re that kind of person, then packing may be a challenging task at first.

What I do is I plan an outfit for each day, combining outfits so I wear each piece of clothing more than once. I’ll usually take an extra pair of socks and underwear and a few extra essentials that don’t take much stpace, but I’ll try not to pack more outfits than necessary. Whenever I have the urge to do so, I remind myself that I’ll be able to buy more once I’m there (though I don’t think this has happened – yet).

4. Pack the KonMari way.

just picked up the KonMari book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up yesterday, and when I got to the chapter of folding clothes today, I tried it out on my closet and the results are amazing. Folding clothes and packing is such a seemingly monotonous and tedious task, but it doesn’t have to be. I would recommend reading or listening to the book, but I also recommend this article (or just google the KonMari method) to get you started.

The KonMari method will allow you to organize your clothes neatly (both at home and when traveling), as well as encourage you to use your space as efficiently as possible. I urge you to give the book and this method a go.


Good luck!

-Michelle