How much girlie stuff will fit in a backpack?

Do you know what's hard?

Being a girl, travelling around South America for seven and a bit weeks, and then moving to the United Kingdom, with a single backpack that contains just 10kg of your gear.

Packing has never been my strong suit.

But as I learned during our trip to Southeast Asia, even 15kg feels like a tonne when you're dragging it about in the heat and trying to fit it on trains and stuff.

If I wasn't going to be forced to lug around my cuuute, bright green, waterproof 60L backpack myself through South America, I would have a field day.

First of all there's those impossibly high, impossibly beautiful Beau Coops for Karen Walker heels I nabbed earlier this year - a steal, despite my "holiday saving fund".

That's just the start of it. When you consider all of the different ensembles I want to wear, the hairdryer (hey, that humidity is going to wreak havoc on my locks - I need all the help I can get) and the rather large toilet bag filled with exfoliator and fake tan . . .

Can you tell I'm a little on the high maintenance side?

I may be exaggerating slightly (guffaw, you don't need FIVE pairs of sandals and FOUR of wedges . . . you can get by with three of each, ha!) but I will admit I often come home from holidays with unworn clothing still rolled up in the corner of my bag.

Even that a simple weekend jaunt to Wanaka often requires two duffle bags.

My bad.

I think in a former life I was Juliette Gordon Low - founder of the Girl Scout movement. Because, like hers, my motto in life is always be prepared.

(Or am I mixing up my scouts here? I don't actually know if that's the Girl Scout motto. I know it's some kind of outdoor-pursuits-rule-group's motto. It'll do.)

You never know when you might be asked to take high tea with the president of Uruguay. Who, coincidentally, has a fluffy moustache and greying hair that lends him the air of somebody who does, in fact, quite enjoy the odd high tea or two.

Anyway, as I'm sure you are having no difficulty picturing right now, I have found it quite an arduous task to pack for my Overseas Experience Extraordinaire (OEE).

It's been a delicate balancing act between fashion and practicality, but despite the trials and tribulations - and the seemingly endless impossible decisions - I have finally finished packing.

My backpack weighs as much as a small child. But that's an improvement on it weighing the same as a child who spends all of his time inside, playing Halo and eating lots of cheese.

So now that that's all done, it must be all uphill from here, right?


Next time you hear from me, I'll be in the land of tango, crazy football fans, and steaks as big as your plate.

The real fun is yet to begin - how awesome do you think it will be, to wash that small-child's-worth of stuff, by hand, in grungy hostel sinks. Can't wait.

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