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How does one pack for a year abroad?

Yeah…good question.

So if you haven’t noticed, I move around a lot. I lived in 3 states in the past year. That’s right, 3. California, Pennsylvania and DC. So imagine having to move around that much in a year. Its fun, but exhausting when you like to order a lot of stuff online like me.

So how am I packing to live abroad you say?

Well I am moving to Taiwan and as a tropic Asian country, there are a few things I have to bring.

Deodorant

Asians that grew up living in the east typically don’t use deodorant for they don’t perspire as much as other ethnicities do. And its simply just isn’t a thing to use in Asia. You can buy them in big chain stores, but they probably don’t carry the brands you want. I normally use multiple brands at a time and rotate them just to give myself some variety. And to go through one stick, it will take me about 3-4 months, maybe longer just because I don’t use so much of it when I do apply. 3-4 is what I would bring for my stay. Here are a list of the few I like to use:

Degree Men’s MotionSense Antiperspirant Deodorant

Hint Hint, I prefer using men’s deodorant for its much stronger and lasts longer! But then again why put a pronoun before it? Deodorant is deodorant! I can break a sweat real quick so this is my go-to on days when I know I will be moving around a lot.

Degree Women’s Deodorant

The OG. My go to and the one I use the most often for I really do love the smell of their line of products. Along with that, it simply does get the job done. Motion Sense is gel and lasts longer while the one to the left is your orignal every day clean-smelling type deodorant.

Arm & Hammer Essentials Fresh Deodorant

Smells nice, but only for a little while. But this is the cleanest, organic and natural deodorant that actually works! Coconut Oil based, Aluminum Free, Vegan, All-Natural Organic Deodorant that keeps you smelling fresh.

Hair/Skin Products

As an African-American woman, I am very particular about the types of products I use on my body due to the fact that many everyday items aren’t catered to my type of hair/skin type. I’ll bring enough that should last me up to about the end of my stay. The types of products vary from shampoo/conditioner and moisturizer. The last time I went abroad, I bought a little too much so I am gonna push it down to just enough so I can save space in my suitcase for other items. Here are some of the products I like to use:

Dudu Osun Black Soap

Great organic black soap all the way from Africa. This soap will have you feeling refreshed and silky smooth without harsh chemicals. It also helps with people who have dark blemishes in lightening them and also people with sensitive skin (eczema here) in reducing the bumps. The only downside with this soap that it goes down really fast if water runs through it so keep it in a dry and safe area.

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

This is the only skin lotion/moisturizer that keeps my skin soft and ash-free all day. Many people don’t like using it due to its shininess, and its thickness, but once you overcome those minor things, you may never go back.

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo

I feel like any shampoo that has tea tree in it really cleans your scalp out super well. You can feel the minty, burning kind of freshness after you finish washing your head so you know its clean. Also, your scalp does dry out, which is why I also pair it with…

SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo

This is also paired along with the other shampoo just because I feel my scalp being moisturized. I don’t think this is the best shampoo ever, but its worth a try for I don’t feel it does any more than just clean my hair.

Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner

This stuff is probably isn’t the most green, the most organic and cruelty-free, but I have been using this on/off for the past 3 years and I love it. I feel like it really gets in and does it magic on my hair making it feel good and soft. Also, it smells absolutely amazing, super moisturizing, and great for deep conditioning.

SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Treatment Masque

This stuff, this masque right here is everything! It penetrates into each hair follicle and places moisture throughout your hair. I normally use it after I wash my hair, let it sit for an hour, or longer and wash it out. You will notice the changes immediately. I recommend this for all hair types! Its super thick and you can’t go wrong with it.

Custom Made Hair Moisturizer

I feel like the moisturizers out in the market don’t really do their job or are caked with a ton of toxic products not good for the body so I recently started making my own which has really helped me for my hair growth. Lots of money is spent buying the products up front, but I save quite a bit on the long-run for it lasts quite a bit. Its ingredients normally contain: shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, black Jamaican castor oil, and vitamin e oil all mixed together creating the perfect blend of hair moisturizer. I use this in conjunction with my oil mixture which seals in the moisture for weeks.

These are the main products I use all of my hair. I may buy more before I leave to try, but this is what I generally stick within my hair/wash routine.

Pants, pants, and more pants!

Pants? That is so random! Why do I say so? Because Asians have much smaller body types than other ethnicities. I am considered fat over there. If was to even find my size, it would probably be Size XLx4 and the booty area just wouldn’t be enough. The only way I could buy pants there if they were bought in a foreign store (aka 2x the amount) and the material has to be stretchy. And although since I will be in Taipei for the next year, their winters get pretty cool falling around an average of 50 degrees. It’s not cold, but cool enough to put on some pants.

Rubbing Alcohol

Ok..yes I know this will sound weird, but I need this. I use it to not just clean cuts, but mainly for other things. Like sanitizing my electronics, my glasses, and even random spots around the apartment. Yes, I am serious. I find this quite a necessity every-time I move somewhere for a long term. After a month being in China, I could not find rubbing alcohol anywhere! Luckily enough, I flew back to the US for a week while I was away and snatched some as soon as I got there. I am not leaving anywhere again till I have this stuff in my bag.

Light, thin, loose, and wrinkle-free clothing

I cannot stress this enough while living in a tropical area like Taiwan. Especially during the spring and summer times, it gets very hot and humid very fast. I think having thin clothing would help people in moving around freely and lesser chances of getting a heat stroke. Also, you can easily pack more of these type of clothes and wear them multiple times without having to bother in washing them so much due to their flexibility.

Other

I place this here for there are just some things you can’t find or things that you want to use that are too expensive to buy abroad. Say your favorite cereal? Hot Cheetos? or how about a can of Ginger Ale? Enjoy it all while you last. Or maybe you can just bring some with you (If you have some space). The last time I flew to China, I bought some spices with me to cook to end up not using the spices so I gave them to a friend. Hey! They certainly came to use. Some other days, I craved Ranch or like gummy worms. Just bring it all, just not too much for there’s so much that you can carry!

These are just some of the many items I can’t leave without! What items are essential to you while traveling?

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