I doubt I will ever be one of those light packers - a traveler who journeys to Europe or Africa with just a carry on bag. Traveler's guidebooks assure me I should be able to get by with a few interchangeable tops and bottoms. The black camisole with the khaki skirt or jeans and a pair of flats, the white long-sleeve blouse with the khaki shorts and sandals, the black camisole layered under the white long-sleeve blouse worn with simple black pants and the flats, the black jersey dress that can go to the fanciest dinner and the cathedral with the thin cotton sweater that would also look great with the jeans, the khaki shorts or the simple black pants. Oh yes, I mustn't forget the one splash of color scarf or piece of fun jewelry that will pull everything together.
Here is my method of packing - pile everything I might possibly want to wear on my bed. I do practice some selectivity at this point only choosing clothes based on the season I will be traveling to. This is also the time when I dig in my closet searching for those treasures I purchased months or weeks ago specifically for the trip.
Then, I tackle the pile - my own personal Mt. Kilimanjaro, the dizziness without the altitude. I can be ruthless, limiting myself to two skirts instead of five, one dress instead of three, four sleeveless tops instead of ten, three swimsuits instead of six (yes...I do have that many swimsuits, I have a hard time getting rid of them but that's another subject).
When I am finally done, my suitcase is packed and THERE IS STILL ROOM, I pat myself on the back and tackle other pre-departure chores.
BUT, the packing sadly does not end there. The white sweater, or blue swimsuit, or adorable cover up is calling my name, insisting on NOT BEING LEFT BEHIND, and I lose all reason and add it to my suitcase.
We are allowed 35 pounds of stuff for our Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, including our sleeping bags, sleeping pads, clothes and favorite snacks. I don't believe I will have a problem staying within that limit as the clothing options for the climb are quite specific - four layers of non-cotton material.
Where I will get into trouble is packing for the safari and the village visits where the clothing guidelines are more general, and I already imagine that totally impractical jacket calling my name, begging to be allowed on the trip of a lifetime.