I’m a big believer in packing light, both in life and when travelling. I also believe in being prepared. As you might imagine, these two aspirations often conflict.

This week I’m pulling together the packing list for my upcoming trip to India. Here are some things I have to decide quickly whether to bring:

      Some gismo designed to help women pee outdoors standing up. Really! It was on the list sent by the trip organizers.

A luggage lock and room lock. I’ve never considered taking either of these on a trip before. Is this trying too hard to be safe and secure, or is it just common sense?

Medications for illnesses that I don’t actually have but might get. Diarrhea pills, definitely. Pills for coughs and colds? Motion sickness? Strong painkillers in case my rotator cuff goes out again?

An Ipod. Don’t own one, never used one, but I also haven’t spent 12 hours at a stretch on a crowded bus or train in a long time.

A third pair of shoes. Now this is a definite no, but still the temptation is there. Perfect travel shoes the Holy Grail of the female traveller. There is no one shoe that will cover all the bases: good in heat, rain, and cold; comfortable enough to avoid blisters; sturdy enough for extensive walking; but not so clunky that you can’t wear them into a nice restaurant.

You can see where I’m going with this. The desire to anticipate all needs and pack for them can start to drive you a little crazy, especially if the idea is to travel light. Once during a dharma discussion, someone raised the question, “Imagine if you had to travel around the world with nothing but the clothes on your back.” (Probably your passport and a credit card could be tucked in a pocket.) Imagine!

There’s a guy who actually does this. Check out The No Baggage Challenge here.