3 weeks out and I can finally edit the pack­ing pic­tures with­out the pan­icky feel­ing com­ing back. Every­thing fit and made it back. I would say with no prob­lems, but pack­ing day was stress­ful enough that it was a prob­lem at the time. I made it down to Mex­ico for Peace Corps ser­vice with 2 huge checked bags, 1 large carry-on suit­case, and 1 stuffed com­puter bag. How­ever, I then pro­ceeded to bring my climb­ing stuff down to Mex­ico and buy new clothes and plenty of sou­venirs. I took one suit­case of stuff back at Christmas-time to leave in tem­po­rary stor­age (a.k.a. the parent’s attic) for future retrieval. On the real trip back, I had 3 checked bags, 1 large carry-on suit­case, and 1 stuffed com­puter bag. Tech­ni­cally only 1 extra bag, for which I paid dearly, but mov­ing always costs money and 2 years of climb­ing and camp­ing in Mex­ico were not only worth it but some of the highlights.


If you have already been liv­ing out of suit­cases for a few weeks, then the first step is to unpack.

Just the clothes, and not even all of them

The pack­ing has begun. One suit­case is full, and so begins the real freak­ing out.

And Bam! It all some­how mag­i­cally con­tracts into a few very over­weight bags. I was too focused on freak­ing out and pack­ing to take more pic­tures of the process.

And it is nice to see your bags en route.

The “What to bring for Peace Corps?” is a lively and impor­tant topic for those at that stage. Over­all, I think I did pretty well. I prob­a­bly brought too many busi­ness clothes. I should have brought my stove-top espresso maker and my kitchen knives, but those were fairly eas­ily re-purchases and couri­ered down on the “fam­ily is com­ing to visit, who needs some­thing?” express. The busi­ness clothes are a some­what con­tro­ver­sial topic. For me, what I expe­ri­enced,  is that even in top-notch research cen­ters, peo­ple still wear jeans. Other Vol­un­teers in Mex­ico are in truer busi­ness envi­ron­ments, so I know they are get­ting more use out of slacks and button-downs. Or, that is just how they roll. I tran­si­tioned my navy and black pants to every­day use and tried to wear them out. I suc­ceeded in this plan with a lot of cloth­ing, even more shoes, but then I bought even more. Also, I say that you always have some per­sonal fash­ion choice. I feel strongly that it is impor­tant to main­tain a pro­fes­sional rela­tion­ship with work part­ners and this involves appear­ance, but there is still some lee­way con­cern­ing wardrobe. Take my advice at your own risk. I don’t always play well with author­ity and may have worn flip-flops a few times just to make a point.

I’m not try­ing to des­per­ately cling onto my Peace Corps expe­ri­ences, but it is hard to come up with posts when the days involve mostly going to the gym and sit­ting in front of a com­puter. Things are in motion, and that feels good. I will say that there was a bit more emo­tional stuff to the tran­si­tion back than I expected. Things seem more even now. Com­ing back from a large city in Mex­ico to Texas is also not the most extreme change to make. I really respect what other Vol­un­teers must have to go through on their tran­si­tions back.