By greenteapanda

August 24, 2008

Category: Travel

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Packing normally takes me very little time. Under time pressure, I can pack all my things in 5 minutes.

This time, as I leave Korea, there are two things that have slowed down my packing time considerably:

  1. I bought a very nice HDTV/monitor here that takes up most of the space in my largest suitcase.
  2. Korean Air mandates a second suitcase size that is smaller than my first one, so it isn’t even possible to pack the same way as when I came here.

The initial packing I first completed about three weeks ago (I knew this would take time!) indicated I had far too much stuff. Too many clothes, too many computer items, too many books. Depending on which way I packed, I was way beyond the allowable size or beyond the allowable weight limits.

If there is anything I hate more than excess fees to take stuff home, it is dragging those extra things to the airport in the first place. When I got to Korea last year, the directions to the hostel I stayed at were incorrect. I ended up carrying around two large suitcases around for hours on a hot, clear, sunny day.

I haven’t had good experiences with the airport bus, and I really don’t enjoy going back and forth to bring my suitcases up and down staircases several storeys high at various subway transfer stations. Though many stations have elevators for the handicapped, the design necessitates a lot more help for the disabled than they would need had their needs been taken into consideration when the stations were originally built. I am glad I am not disabled here. I know other cities that are far worse on this point, but still. The only decent transfer is the one at Gimpo Airport to the Airport Express line.

It didn’t take me long to think: Do I really need item X? If so, what is the replacement cost?

By that rule, the monitor/HDTV definitely had to stay. I scruitinised everything else very closely.

I went through all my papers to see which ones were no longer necessary to have, getting rid of more than half of those.

I went through all my books. I decided I did not want to send a separate box by post home. Paying the excess baggage fee would be cheaper. But motivation not to pay that fee would help me eliminate books I no longer needed or wanted very much. Some Chinese textbooks might have been good to look at again in the future, but if I have a question, I have Chinese friends I can ask. I also have some books scanned into the computer.

As an aside, I plan to build an automated book scanner so I can completely eliminate the weight of books from my luggage. Once scanned, I no longer physically need those books.

Instead of keeping clothes, I decided to take pictures of T-shirts with interesting designs. I already had too many before refreshing my T-shirt collection with 2008 Olympic shirts from China. Some clothes didn’t fit me that well anymore (from sagging, from the zipper not staying shut anymore, etc), so I threw those out. Hole? Goodbye. Underwear and socks? All replaceable at low cost. My suit that wastes space and weight? It is what I will wear. Time to look my Sunday best, even if it will no longer help me get bumped up to business class for free.

My computer parts helped me as well. Yesterday my large hard disk decided not to mount. I could throw it out, along with the associated case and power supply. I had multiple versions of Unbuntu boot CDs. I only needed one for maintenance. I had some DVDs and CDs associated with textbooks I no longer have. Those got thrown out too. Certain cables were associated with computer parts I no longer have, so those also got to get thrown out.

Household items will be left at school so that the next teacher can take advantage in her/his new apartment.

If possible, all those things I tossed out were recycled.

In any case, it is good to get rid of all these excess things. They just slowed me down and made apartment cleaning more difficult.


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