in the process of packing to leave st thomas, i realized just how badly i packed before moving. i normally pride myself in my pro packing abilities (since i move and travel so much), but this packjob is not one i'm proud of...
i moved down with only two suitcases and a backpack, so i tried really hard to pack smart. buuut i way overpacked. i overestimated the island's fashion scene (ha!), and i knew i'd be living there for a while so i wanted to have options. but that was pretty dumb of me.
last week i opened the cabinets i've had closed for months and found all the clothing i figured i'd somehow maybe need on an island--button down shirts, fancy pants, and way too many dressy dresses to count. oh and a heap of jewelry that i never touched.
it turns out, people living on islands don't give a shit what you wear. st thomas, in particular, is a tiny island with a huge boating community, a few dive bars, and one not-so-cool night club. folks in the islands practically live in bathing suits anyways, but when they DO wear clothes, they more or less wear whatever is practical.
no button down shirts, no high waisted shorts, hardly ever any dresses, and certainly NO heels. i only saw a handful of women wear heels on st thomas and i immediately knew they were a trying-too-hard tourist dressed for pictures.
i didn't bring heels to the caribbean, but i did bring a plethora of useless clothing. i want to learn from that experience and make sure to pack MUCH smarter when i travel abroad.
so for those of you traveling to an island in the near future, here are the basics--all you'll need to have a good time and not stick out like a sore thumb ;)
--a baseball cap to shade your face
--backpacks are a huge must. everyone wears one on the island, because it's not insanely easy to get around, so you want to have anything you might need on your back. and backpacks are much easier to carry than purses.
--a tiny wallet to fit in your tiny backpack. nothing too bulky that'll add to the weight. also, to always have cash on hand for cabs or safaris or splitting checks.
--a bathing suit, whether you work on the water or not. because you never know when you'll feel like jumping in!
--a waterproof watch. i needed one to time my snorkel tours, but i think they're pretty useful all around. and nixon watches are the prettiest.
--short shorts, because pants are dumb. even when we first moved to the island and the mosquitos thirsted for our new blood, pants were always just way too hot. plus, your legs have never been so tan. show them off ;)
--a good read, for the beach or the boat or the bar. and because "island time" is a real thing. you never know when you'll need to pass some time.
*friends who have traveled abroad a lot or friends who live in europe!! what would you recommend packing or leaving behind? i'll be repacking soon for europe and could really use your advice! :)