Packing for the Peace Corps

Like any self-described outdoors enthusiast worth his/her salt, one of the tenets of outdoorsmanship (is that a word? I don’t care) is that one must willingly forgo technology and consumption in general when one heads out into wild places. We sleep on the ground for fun! We put ourselves into risky situations unnecessarily for the thrill! We use maps instead of GPS because damn it, that’s just more real. We try to live simply and not contribute to the rampant consumer culture that inundates us when we’re back in our “normal” lives.

Lately though, I’ve been a grudging paragon of the American Consumer. I depart for staging in Philadelphia in just under a month, and in the process of busily throwing together a rough packing list I’ve acquired a tidy number of new toys just over the past couple of days:

-two 16GB SD cards

-two electrical travel adapters (compatible with the Type C, D, and G outlets found in Zambia)

-wall USB adapter

-Amazon Kindle 4

-Kindle case

-two 650-lumen headlamps running on rechargeable lithium batteries

-battery charger/rechargeable batteries

-concealable money belt

-duct tape

-gallon-sized Ziplock freezer bags


-combination lock

-ear plugs

-hanging toiletry kit (1/13 edit)

-two loofahs (1/13 edit)

-two tubes of toothpaste (1/13 edit)

-a 16GB micro SD card (1/13 edit)

-a voltage converter (1/13 edit)

-a portable speaker system (1/13 edit)

-spare earbuds (1/13 edit)

-silk sleep sack (1/14 edit)

-Joos Orange portable solar panel (1/14 edit)

-stuff sack for sleeping bag (1/14 edit)

Is this all (and still more things that I already have, or still need to buy) absolutely necessary when I’m going to be living in a mud hut in Africa for the next two years? Probably not.

Is it going to help me bridge the seemingly interminable divide between my comfortable existence here in America and a life I can only begin to imagine in said mud hut? I really hope so.