A walkabout is a rite of passage- a person will go out into the wilderness to discover his or her identity and purpose, and then return home.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What I Took: Costa Rica

The final, definitive list of what was in my backpack (and on my person, if we're being technical) when I boarded the plane to [Atlanta, GA, and then] Costa Rica.


  • Tennis shoes
  • Kickass rain boots
  • Flip-flops
  • Water shoes
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 4 pairs of shorts (2 athletic, 2 other)
  • 1 pair black yoga pants
  • 1 pair black athletic leggings
  • 2 black, long-sleeve shirts (for turtle work)
  • 1 lonnnggggg black skirt
  • 1 black dress  (hmmm, noticing a color pattern?)
  • 4 tank tops
  • 4 T-shirts
  • 1 light, long-sleeve shirt
  • 2 swimsuits (both a bikini and a one-piece)
  • 1 pair work gloves
  • Columbia rain jacket (new! and it's worth being small enough to fit a kid's size to save money- those things are expensive)
  • 1 bandana
  • 1 belt
  • 4 bras (2 sports, 2 regular)
  • 7 pairs underwear
  • 5 pairs socks
  • 1 pair of [nerd] glasses
  • Sunglasses


  • Bag to hold everything
  • 2 3oz containers of shampoo/conditioner combo
  • Mini bar soap
  • Feminine products
  • Contraceptives
  • Travel toothbrush (which is super awesome, by the way- it folds into itself!)
  • Toothpaste
  • Retainers/case
  • Mini brush
  • Contact case and 4 extra pairs
  • 2 4oz bottles of contact solution <-- can use the larger-than-3oz size since it's thankfully considered a "medical necessity"
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Bobby pins & hair binders
  • Face wash
  • Facial lotion
  • 2 3oz bottles of sunscreen
  • Sunscreen bar
  • 2 bug spray sticks (? we'll see how well these work...) 
  • Floss
  • Chapstick (a couple of tubes)
  • Makeup (waterproof mascara & eyeliner, signature sparkly eyeshadow, coverup)
  • Eyelash curler
  • Tweezers
  • Travel mirror
  • Sink plug
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissues

Medical/First Aid

  • Cough drops
  • Bandaids
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Stop the Sting! cream
  • Tums
  • Benadryl
  • Ibuprofen
  • Moleskin
  • Needle/thread
  • Peptobismal
  • Diarrhea meds <-- apparently one of the most common afflictions while traveling... great

General Supplies

  • Backpack (duh!)
  • 1 super lightweight, water-compatible flashlight
  • Headlamp with a red light <-- doesn't interfere with turtles' nesting habits
  • Extra batteries for said headlamp
  • Phone (with roaming and 3G turned off; I'm not trying to incur a ton of charges)
  • Phone chargers (both normal and solar- ooohhhh)
  • Money pouch
  • $100 worth of Costa Rican colones (so, like $50,000 in their currency) and $300 (American) for first-leg transportation
  • Debit and credit cards
  • Passport and other important travel documents (vaccination records, insurance card, and my permit)
  • Copies of the above documents 
  • Camera/extra batteries/connector cord
  • Waterproof cards
  • Hackey sack
  • Water bottle
  • 4 paperbacks: The Stand by Stephen King [thanks Sam!], The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Spanish phrasebook/dictionary
  • Mosquito netting
  • Silk sleeping sheet
  • Travel towel
  • Plastic bags/rubber bands/twist ties
  • Duct tape 
  • Journal/pens
  • Mini notepad (for addresses, phone numbers, budget balancing, etc.)
  • Sharpie
  • Small trash bag for dirty clothes
  • 1 [relatively waterproof] watch
  • Headphones
  • Headset (for Skype)
  • Small, flexible lock
  • Pillowcase (I'm going to stuff it instead of using an actual travel pillow, thus saving room)
  • [Rape] whistle
  • Small cloth bag (makeshift daypack)
  • Gifts for the kids at the orphanage
  • Gift for my host family: Minnesota wild rice
  • Family picture (since I guess I'll miss them... TONS)

Thanks to the annoying TSA regulations, not all of my "lotions, gels, and aerosols" could fit into one quart-sized plastic bag.  So frustrating.  Meaning right when I land I need to buy some hand sanitizer, body lotion (preferably with aloe to sooth the inevitable sunburn), and zit cream, yaaayyyyyy.

I can't believe 1) all those things fit in my 55L backpack, and 2) I'm carrying it all on my back.  

Damn I hope I get stronger.  

xoxo, Cleome

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