13 September 2009 – Gute Reise!

September 13th, 2009 § 29 comments

13 September 2009 – Gute Reise!, originally uploaded by academichic.


All remixed except luggage:


Alas, the day has come that I depart on my long awaited research trip to Germany. This research year abroad has long been in the planning and now I can’t believe it’s actually here. Due to some last minute changes, I’m actually going from my arrival in Munich straight unto another flight and heading to Romania for three weeks to see my family there. But after that, I’ll be in Germany at last.

Click here for my travel and packing methodologies…

First, for my travel outfit: I’ve said before that I prefer dresses for flying because they don’t leave me with a jean waistband imprint for 24 hours on my belly. This casual and comfortable black dress comes with the added bonus of not showing stains or spills courtesy of its dark color. Next, my soft pashmina will double as my plane blanket. I chose the jacket over a cardi because it was one less bulkier item to pack, which was also what drove me to wear my boots. They are one of my largest items needing to be packed so I freed up much room in my suitcase by wearing them rather than packing them, and they’re easy enough to slip on and off that they’re actually a smart choice for zipping through airport security. A borrowed brown satchel keeps my wallet and passport on hand while keeping my hands free for other stuff. And ever the sentimental sob, I finished my outfit with a pair of earrings given to me by my sweet husband on our wedding day. I will miss you a ton, T.!

While it may not seem like it, as an academic you do a fair amount of traveling; be it to conferences, on sabbaticals, for research trips, or to accompany students during study abroad. For as much traveling as I’ve already done in my career (and personal life) thus far, I think that on this trip I’ve finally gotten the right combination of packing done that I actually feel good about living out of two suitcases and one carry-on bag for the next ten months.  Wardrobe_remix? You’ve seen nothing yet! Watch me remix this list of clothing ad infinitum over the next academic year as I live and breathe my dissertation. (In truth, I’m taking about 80% of that original list since I had to remove about two items from each category after adding my running and hiking clothes to the bunch).

So now on to deconstructing my packing methodology: I was surprisingly enlightened and planned my packing list earlier this summer so that I knew which winter items to place in storage and which to leave out for this trip. So this weekend, all I had to do was pull out that packing post and start tossing things unto my bed. I added running and hiking clothes, pajamas, clutches and purses, reading material and other items I had not worried about before, and then beheld the magnitude of my piles.


This excercise in packing had made me a definite convert to the bundle method. I compared the bundle “one bag” method to the rolling method for a previous trip here, and now I’m certain that this is the solution for getting the most items into one suitcase.


The above bundle holds all of my pants, skirts, dresses, and jackets that I am taking with me for the year. And one pair of shoes as the surprise center!


That above mentioned bundle sits nice and snug at the bottom of this suitcase, with a smaller bundle cradled on top. I did roll smaller items such as technical tees and camis and squished them in any available wiggle room around the two bundles, maximizing my use of any remaining space. I then packed my second suitcase in a similar way, creating bundles with goodie centers (shoes, hairdryers, etc.). I also used the space inside my shoes and filled that with socks, small toiletries, or even a tiny picture frame.


I made one last bundle with my pajamas, a couple of extra tees, and my valuables for storage in my carry-on. I nestled my jewelry, a removable hard drive, and medication inside this tinier bundle that went into my new and wonderful carry-on bag – thank you, E, husband N, A, and A2! I’ve been coveting the Tom Bihn Aeronaut bag ever since E presented it in her travel post a while back.


So now if you’ll allow me to gush just a bit… this bag is wonderful! It’s the largest size it can be while still conforming to carry-on size restrictions for most airlines. This means that you can bring the absolute most you can get away with on the plane with you. This may not seem that crucial but after a horrible bag-loss incident during a weekend conference trip a couple of years ago, I know the value of not having to check a bag! Let’s just say that I did not make the professional impression I had hoped for after my bags never arrived and I spent three days at a conference chairing a panel, listening to papers, and mingling with academics while wearing the same jeans and rumpled top I had flown in.


Ever since then, I’d been wanting a great carry-on that would make checking a bag for shorter trips unnecessary. The beauty of the Tom Bihn Aeronaut lies not only in its storage capacity, but also its versatility. It can be used as a duffle bag with an over the shoulder strap or as a backpack, which is how I’ll be wearing it on this trip, allowing for two free hands with which to pull my two suitcases.


Snacks, reading material, and my laptop were the last things to go in my Aeronaut. With fingers crossed that I truly did remember everything I needed to pack, I embark on this adventure and look forward to reporting next from Europe! Gute Reise! See you all again from the other side of the ocean! S.

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§ 29 Responses to 13 September 2009 – Gute Reise!"

  1. Kimberly says:

    Good luck and safe travels!! I can’t wait to see you remix and mix and mix some more over the next year. Also, your bag is truly awesome!!

  2. Lauren says:

    Wow! I’m impressed at the thought you put into this and look forward to hearing about your travels abroad. (Also, my heart aches for you, being away from T. for so long. I hope you get some romantic getaways during breaks!) Safe travels, and best wishes!

  3. Sharon says:


    The way I look when traveling is always my least concern, to be honest. It’s pretty cool how much thought you put into your outfits to make them practical. And that’s great, because otherwise you’ll end up like me: bringing the wrong clothes and having to buy the right ones and then, months later, realize you have to sit on your suitcase to zip it close, praying you won’t go over the weight limit, as you go around giving out stuff.

  4. Best of luck, S! Fly safely, and have a lovely time with your family.
    You have probably been to Munich before (I think you’ve mentioned living in Austria — Salzburg, right?), but I was just there (Munich, that is), and so let me recommend a cafe that I really fell in love with and can’t remember the name of, ug.
    As you are in Marienplatz, with the Neues Rathaus immediately on your right, turn left onto a wide, quiet side street. Of course I have no idea what the name of the street is, silly me. Anyway, make this left and walk for about 20 seconds, and you should see a cafe on your right with blue Paulaner umbrellas (when facing Marienplatz, you will be able to see the Glockenspiel). Take a seat. Order a Russen and whatever Bavarian food strikes your fancy. Have a great time. :) Also, the lady’s room is spotless. Just sayin’.
    Can’t wait for some Euro-inspired outfits. Bon voyage!

  5. AJ says:

    It’s that time already?! Wishing you safe travels and a great year abroad. I look forward to your future posts on life in Munich and the fabulous remixing that you will be doing. Farewell!

  6. busylizzy says:

    Gute Reise und viel Spaß in München. Und wenn du nach Bonn oder Köln kommst, sag mir Bescheid, ich zeige dir die Stadt!

  7. Gute Reise und viel Glueck mit deinen Forschung!

  8. Alles Gute! Have a great time in Munich and if you ever travel to Hamburg let me know! :-)

  9. ShopKim says:

    Love the pink socks peaking out of the boots!

  10. Clare says:

    Ooh, have fun (oh, and work hard)! Can’t wait to see the remixes!

  11. Ileana (S'mama) says:

    S-thanks for comming with me to see and take a little care of our love ones in Transilvania! Then, you take good care of you and study hard suse!

  12. jentine says:

    All the best! Is that all you packed? I know airlines are super harsh on over-packing but you must have had to make some tough choices!!!

  13. Diana says:

    I’m amazed at your packing skills, and I’m looking forward to how you remix outfits over the next ten months. Bon voyage! (sorry, I don’t know the term in German :)

  14. Diana says:

    And now I feel kind of silly after realizing that the post title actually is the term in German.

  15. Kathleen says:

    Have a safe trip! I’m also looking forward to seeing you remix your wardrobe over the next few months. :)

  16. Julia says:

    Have a wonderful trip and a wonderful year S. I got a little teary I read your goodbye to T – hope he can come and visit often. You are so amazingly organized!! I can’t believe you were able to write this post in the midst of all the craziness that comes with leaving on a long trip. I shall aspire to that – some day…;-)

  17. I love the idea of your “surprise centers”! And love those JCrew Argyles. Have been coveting them for the past few winters. I guess that means I NEED a pair. :) Good luck and enjoy your adventures! Remind us again what you’ll be doing there? School/teaching I assume is involved?

  18. Kaylyn says:

    Have a fun safe trip! Cant wait to hear more from you :)

  19. Joni says:

    Best wishes! Your packing looks impeccable. My husband and I are also experiencing an international long distance marriage (although not separated by an ocean) The first six months of my post doc, he is in Canada finishing up his job there, while I’m in the American south. Its not easy, but it is absolutely doable.

  20. Luinae says:

    Good luck, safe travels and OMG I can’t wait to see what outfits you come up with!

  21. hanabi says:

    I just stumbled over your blog and I love it! Are you actually staying in munich? What a coincidence, that´s where I live! What are you doing here exactly? If you want to meet up for coffee or shopping, just let me know ;)

  22. Hello! I have been following your blog for several months now and am always interested in seeing how you three lovely ladies dress for academic situations.

    I am a junior in undergrad studying abroad at Loyola University Chicago’s John Felice Rome Center in Italy. I had similar issues when packing for four months in two suitcases. That coupled with a laundry fiasco (my Italian is not solid enough to know the word for “bleach”) has directed me to your site multiple times to be inspired me to remix my items of clothing. Thanks for the advice and safe travels!

  23. [...] own Aeronaut for a wedding present last summer, just in time for her travels to Germany.  After her packing post, I was yet a little more [...]

  24. [...] must-buy for academic and professional travels of all kinds – from the weekend conference to the year-long research trip, but it also makes for a great vacation bag whether your heading to visit in-laws for the weekend [...]

  25. [...] I can manage to take everything I’ve acquired back home with me because I’ve already sent my parents and my husband off with a load of clothes and books each (as they were just here visiting). I was determined not to mail anything and between their carrying help and my efforts to not acquire too many things this year, I will be returning with the same amount of luggage that I came with: two suitcases and one carry-on. [...]

  26. [...] be wearing it on this trip, allowing for two free hands with which to pull my two suitcases.” Read the full post @ academichic darcy | 17 September 2009 11:15 pm Share/Bookmark Talk about this post in the Forums. [...]

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