Packing list addendum

Since starting this Web site, I’ve had a number of people contact me, asking questions about joining the Peace Corps, living in Nepal, and about what to bring for the Peace Corps. Actually, mostly are about what to pack for the Peace Corps.

First, let me say that my earlier packing list was way, way, way too much stuff.

Here is my addendum.

Pack light.
I mean really, really light. You’ll be so glad you did.
Limit yourself to two bags.
Bring bags that you can actually use beyond initially arriving in country. I packed two bags inside a duffel, which worked great.
Don’t forget the fun.
Things like music, books, art supplies, a Frisbeen, stationary, journals, games, et cetera go a long, long way.

I am glad that I brought some nice clothes with me. I think many of the female PCVs wished they had nicer, conservative clothes, since women usually spend their days in the kurta surwal, common dress for women in the Terai.

Peace Corps has many good texts on Nepali language, including Teach Yourself Nepali and Nepali in Context. Peace Corps doesn’t seem to have the tapes around, but you can easily have them copied (shops that will dub tapes and CDs are plentiful). A PCVs in Nepal will have them. Hell, I had them.

One more note on music. If you’re a music lover, I suggest bringing something hardy and flexible. In Kathmandu, MiniDiscs are available and the most affordable option. MiniDiscs seem to do the job very well right now, since you can share (i.e., steal) music with your friends.

Most shops sell a wide variety of music, from Brian Eno to Britany Spears. They’ll convert music digitally to minidiscs. They’ll also burn MP3 CDs for you, but it’s pricier.

A MD player that can encode directly from a source is a wonderful way to copy your friends CDs while in the mountains on vacation. Some MP3 players can do this, too.

Here are some things that I wish I’d brought from the United States with me:

  • 110 to 220 voltage converter
  • Quality NiMH battery charger
  • Pinochle deck
  • Nylon zip-off pants (several pairs)
  • Lexan coffee press (glass will break)
  • Laptop

All of these items I have had sent to me here in Nepal and have arrived intact. Arranging to have a laptop sent from around the world was tricky, to say the least (the service cost me a fine meal in Kathmandu for a friend—thanks again, Colin).

I’m still thinking of things I should have and should not have brought, but nothing major. My main advice is pack light, pack light, and pack light.