A month at the Phaung Daw Oo School
I wanted to travel light, with all the issues in Alberta at the moment I’m looking hard at why I need to earn what I earn, to have all the stuff I have. Is it making my life easier? The simple answer is probably not.
There's no time like the present to start minimising; This is what I have;
For travelling here (to look smart on the plane to hopefully get up graded). One jacket, one thin sweater, one pair of long pants, a leather belt and a pair of socks in case my feet get cold
Being in Myanmar; I should preface I’m basically going to be in Mandalay in the summer, I’m not planning on big hikes in the hills or the like
Clothes - 3 short sleeved shirts, 3 tee-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of swimming trunks, 4 pairs of underwear, one sunhat, one longyi (local skirt that the men where). One pair of sandles and one pair of flip flops. 2 cotton handerchiefs (clothes).
Running kit; one vest, one pair of shorts, 2 pairs of running socks, one pair of running shoes, a running cap
Wash kit – toothbrush and paste, 3 lip salves, tea tree oil, antibiotic cream, a soap, shampoo, factor 45 sunscreen, bug spray, deodorant, foot scrubber, vitamins for a month, one big travel towel and one really small one, water purifying drops, small hand cream, one small first aid kit (mainly sticking plasters)
Electronics; Unlocked cell phone with charger/cable and ear buds, laptop with charger, camera and charger/cable and case, android cable, 2 memory sticks, multi-county socket adapter
Art Stuff; Sketching pencils, pastel pencils, small box of pastels, small water colors, 3 sketch books, pastel pad and loose sheets
Miscellaneous; Mosquito net, 2 pairs of sunglasses, 3 pairs of reading glasses, 8 rollerball pens, one head torch, lots of post-it notes, one note book, swiss army knife, 4 string bags to keep stuff together, one 40 litre back pack (from 25 years ago), a courier bag for carry on and one local Myanmar hand bag
Paperback books; Lonely Planet Myanmar Guide and Phase book, Ken Robinson “The Element”, Robert Macfarlane “Mountains of the Mind”, Colin Wright “Some thoughts about relationships”, and 3 by The Minimalists “Minimalism Living a meaningful life”, “Essential Essays by The Minimalists” and “Everything that remains”
And this is what I’ve used to date
For travelling here; Even though I looked exceedingly dapper in my jacket and slacks I didn’t up graded. Used the stuff again on the over night bus from Yangon to Mandalay, will use it on the way home. Would bring again jeans and the sweater, don’t anticipate getting upgraded. Haven’t used the socks
Being in Myanmar; Its hot and humid some days in low 40’s - Had a cool day with rain
Clothes - Shirts - I wear for two days at time then wash, tee shirts – no typically, it's just to hot, I find them too clammy. BUT we had one cool day (28C) where I wore a tee under my shirt and I had to wear something other than a shirt to wash them - discovered a washing machine. Lost a flip flop assume to a dog, they only took one and there aren’t any one-legged students with size 45 feet here, replaced with local pair for $3. Shorts occasionally but they need to be below the knee to visit temples so I generally where the longyi, in fact I bought a second out of lighter (cooler material). Underwear yes but thinking of going commando as most people do. Sandals useful if your feet get blistered from the flip flops otherwise a pain to take on and off, mine have a heel strap.
Running kit; Used it all, wash it when I shower after a run, its very sweaty here! It is becoming a little unpleasant but I have discovered the washing machine so I'm hoping that will solve the problem :)
Wash kit – Used the obvious, toothbrush etc, haven’t used much sun screen, deodorant. No lip salve (I have 3!!!), no hand cream, the antibiotic cream on my foot for cracked skin. Bug spray leaked on the way, what a mess, next time I’ll put it in a plastic bag. Good advice put all liquids in a plastic bag or two.
Electronics; Used it all, have two local SIM cards, there’s not much wi-fi so having to use data. I get though about 500mb a day, two things research for my work here and blogging. A volunteer has lent me a 150 mbps hotspot doogle otherwise I used my phone as a hotspot. Haven’t used the socket adapter much the wall sockets here are multipurpose you can plug anything in as long as it accepts 220v. Just come from Pyin Oo Lwin where I did use it they don’t have the multi-country sockets we have in Mandalay.
Art Stuff; Have done some, nothing like as much as I expected. I’ve been busy with work, especially now I teach in the evenings and blogging is time consuming. Also, drawing in the heat is tough. Did some in Bagan, but I haven’t done much plein air before – here probably wasn’t the place to start.
Miscellaneous; The school provided a mosquito net so haven’t used mine. Haven’t used the sunglasses much, just scratched them, glad they were cheap. The reading glasses 1 pair so far, again getting scratched will move on to the next pair. Head torch was broken, fixed it with an elastic band but should have checked before I left. The bug spray managed to melt the plastic of the swiss army knife when it leaked, not good its now has a very textured handle. The backpack has taken a beating again from the bug spray. Use the local bag all the time, it great although I have had to have it repaired a few times at the school by the tailoring team. Had to buy a waterproof phone bag, it was ThinGyan - Myanmar New Year and water festival time.
Paperback books; Ken Robinson “The Element” - read, Robert Macfarlane “Mountains of the Mind”, Colin Wright “Some thoughts about relationships” - read, and 3 by The Minimalists “Minimalism Living a meaningful life”- read, “Essential Essays by The Minimalists” – read and “Everything that remains”. I haven’t read as much as I expected, same as done as much art, sort of saving these books for the return flight, 18 hours of flying and I have a very long lay over in Beijing (although I think I can get a transit visa and visit Beijing, I have 9 hours there).
Still not convinced I need a kindle, I like paper.
So far there’s nothing that I could have easily brought that I have missed. It all fit nicely into my backpack and courier satchel (for carry on). From a work perspective more pens, paper, my scale rules, colour pencils etc would have been useful. Minimalism is OK!