I arrived in Accra last night around 8:30 pm local time. For those of you following the maps, did you figure out what had me geeking out as I created them? Joni got half of it in her Facebook comment. They do all start with A. But, did you notice I just traveled in reverse alphabetical order? As Cale pointed out, the return trip is going to be AWESOME! IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER! You can just feel how cool I am through the interwebs can't you.
Since I don't have any interesting stories to share or pictures to post yet, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about how bad I am at packing.
Given enough time and assistance (i.e. Cale grabbing things I have packed and throwing them out of the suitcase), I can get down to a super tight pack for long trips. SE Asia for three months? One Osprey backpack and the camera bag. Kenya for 10 weeks? Same. The thing about long trips is that you know you will do laundry. So you can just bring a few things, knowing you will wash and rewear.
But a 10-day trip over three locations with professional site visits? I cannot handle it. What if it is hot and I need to be casual? What if it is hot and I need to be business professional? What if it is hot and I need to be business causal? But what if it is cold? Or rainy? Or what if one of the things I brought gets dirty? Or what if we go out to dinner? Or what if we go for a hike? I am totally going to exercise every morning, right? Sometimes I like this t-shirt and some times I don't, so maybe I will bring a back up just in case.
And as I speculate on every possible weather, event, dress code combination, the pile of clothes I am packing just grows. This is normal for me. Overtime, I typically whittle* the pile down to something reasonable. Not so much this time. About an hour before leaving for the airport, I unpacked my two bags and repacked them, leaving behind a pretty decent-sized pile of things I knew I was just being redundant on. I still had a ton of clothes (and shoes...because what if we hike near water? or tour a factory? or meet executives? or go to the beach?), but as I said to Cale, "I way over packed, but for the amount of overpacking I did, it still looks pretty small." Cale was having none of it.
*For some strange reason, I was totally convinced that whittle was spelled widdle and could not figure out why spell check had an issue with that.
So I get on a plane and head out across the ocean and start making mental inventories of all I have brought. And it occurs to me that at some point when trying to pair down my pack, I convinced myself that I could wear my light weight khaki capris on one of our company site visit days when I really should be wearing more professional wear. How is it, Sara, that you are going to Ghana for 10 days for company site visits and you managed to bring like six pairs of what are probably totally in appropriate shorts but only one pair of dress pants? Could you not pair down the pack by removing shorts, not dress clothes? What was the thought process there? And what is sad, is that there was a thought process. Days in advance I had made a list of what I should wear on each day and then turned that list into a packing list. And both those lists included a dress skirt for one company visit day. And then at some point, while actually packing, I was like, "Nah," and DIDN'T PACK IT. But I did bring a bunch of inappropriate tank tops, you know, just in case.
When I am traveling and don't need to be grown up Sara on arrival, I sort of look a slob. My travel wear this time was tennis shoes, jeans rolled up to my calves, a tank top, and Cale's grandpa's sweater. After a solid 24-hours of travel, but what was some how two days, I arrived at our hotel looking a little scruffy. And our hotel is clearly a business hotel, so there are all these men in slacks and dress shirts milling around. And there is Sara in a two-day old tank top trying to comb her greasy bangs out of her eyes.
Tomorrow our site visit is a cocoa farm, and I had planned to wear khaki knee-length shorts and a t-shirt. But while I was in route, one of the students message the GA (graduate assistant) to ask what "casual" attire meant for the cocoa farm, and he recommended long pants (like khakis). So now I am paranoid that my shorts are wrong.
I have come to the realization that I have bags full of clothes and will likely wear the same two pairs of REI capris almost the whole time. Way to go me.