I’m so sick of combing all the knots out of my hair, that I just gave myself a haircut.  To be honest, I wish I had the nerve to cut if all off, but 12-year-old Leah still hasn’t forgotten how badly that can go!

I would kill for a bagel.  Who knew I liked bagels so much? What I’d give for a doughy, warm, lightly toasted poppy seed bagel with sliced cheddar and cucumbers (a fairly random filling, I know).

I wish I had another pair of technical trousers (yep, the ones that zip off into shorts!).  I’ve always been skeptical of “technical clothes,” as they seem like a marketing ploy for consumer-oriented yuppies, but the hiking trousers/shorts I reluctantly purchased before this trip are versatile, comfortable on hikes, resist dirt and stains, and wash and dry super quickly. I wear them pretty much every day; I could use another pair to wear on laundry days!

I don’t care how dirty the public showers are, as long as they have hot water and are bigger than the closet bathroom in our van.  It makes me laugh to remember the first campsite shower room I walked into when we started this trip – it looked so run down and depressing that I walked out immediately, sure that I would always opt for quick rinses in the van. I’m certain that same shower room would seem perfectly dreamy to me now. How times have changed.

I wish I’d gotten the expensive prescription sunglasses and not the cheap Warby Parkers.  I love the concept of Warby Parker and the amazing prices, so it makes me sad to say I wish I’d gone higher end – my squinting eyes do, too!

We could have packed less.  To be honest, I figured I’d say this at some point. I pretty much said it the day we left. But I’m a super minimalist packer, and Carl isn’t, so we compromised. However, we’re now both in agreement, and we’ll be reducing before the next leg of the trip. All the camping gear will go (we won’t need the tent or sleeping bags at our other destinations, and we could have gotten away without them at all). Depending on shipping costs back to the US, I may reduce on camera equipment. I’m considering using just my IPhone, but I think I’ll probably end up keeping my proper camera/lens and one wide angle lens. Carl will likely send his drone home; he loves flying it, but we’re a bit nervous about getting it in/out of China and it’s just such a big case (we have some overnight train trips ahead where we won’t have much storage room). I’m hoping to get us down to two main duffels and one small carry on each (which would be a reduction of one large duffel and one drone case). I’m looking forward to the challenge!

My husband is awesome because he always empties the poop bucket.  That’s what I call the toilet canister that needs emptying every couple of days – it’s small and stinky and Carl dumps it and cleans it every time; he’s totally my toilet hero!


  1. Mary Fox

    You are my superhero! I don’t know how you and Carl do it and I stand in absolute awe of you both! What a grand adventure and what you are teaching us all!

  2. Meryl

    I could use some of this minimalist training too. With great admiration for both you and Carl for getting down to the basics, I aim to do better. Another book possibility when you return….


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