Packing for China

Like Girl Scouts and Scar from the Lion King, I like to “Be Prepared!”

I try to fit every imaginable thing I could possibly need in my handbag everyday, and my suitcase is usually a similar story. However, packing for China has required me to think differently. Air Canada has a 50lb max on luggage (unless you want a hefty fee) and I plan to get some career wear tailor made for me when I’m in China. So, I tried to pack as light as possible to make room for goodies on the way back.

Items in carry-on tote bag: books, magazines, towel, pillow, chargers, journal, pens, and toiletres


The flight to China is long and includes a stop-over in Vancouver. So, I wanted to make sure I was well stocked with books, writing materials, music, and movies. Thankfully, I can fit a few hours of film, television, music, and reading on my iPhone… in addition to packing my Kindle, two paperback books, and a magazine. I also brought a pen, my virgin travel journal, and stationary to write if the mood strikes me.

Contents of backpack: necessities, clothing, camera gear, shoes


I miraculously fit everything I needed into my Aria 40L bag from MEC. Along side the usual, I packed an emergency first aid kit, sewing kit, laundry soap, sleeping bag sheet, and my utility knife just in case (you never know when you might want to open a bottle of wine – Mount Danxia perhaps?). I think I’m pretty well prepared, although I did decide to leave my Tide stick at home. Although I’ve packed far less than I do for a weekend trip to Montreal, I am still concerned I maybe over the 50lb max for the plane. My backpack is so heavy already- and I plan to go shopping in Dongguan!

We will discover the true weight of my bag come Wednesday morning…

Book covers of Delete, Granta, and the Sexual Spectrum

Choosing Reading Material:

Choosing reading material to bring is proving a challenge. I remember on recent flights to Boston and Montreal you weren’t aloud Kindles or iPhones active, so paperbacks and magazines were a must. However, international flights maybe different as they are much, much longer. Last time I flew abroad, I went to England, and that was back in high school, before I had an e-reader, cellphone, or iPod.

Now, I always find magazines useful for transport, whether it be on the bus or in flight. They don’t require much focus if you’re feeling restless and there are lots of pretty pictures to look at. I decided to bring an old issue of Surface magazine that I hadn’t read read, and the latest Toastmaster magazine which came with my membership. Both, I’d be perfectly happy leaving on a bench for someone else to read or in the airport recycling bin. Books on the other hand, are a different story.

I love books. I love to read them, I love to write them, and I love to design them. One of my favourite coffee time excursions is just to wander the floors of a book shop studying book jacket design or scroll through Amazon reading synopsizes and reviews. Needless to say, I own a lot of books. However, ever since getting my Kindle, I am reluctant to drag a physical book around with me, and thus, many of my retail purchases have gone unread. This leaves me with an awful lot of books to choose from.

My dilemma is this: What if I love it and want to bring it home to keep? What if I want to keep it as a design reference? What if I hate it doesn’t hold my interest? What if it adds too much weight to my bag?

I have tried to select books that appear to be gripping, easy reads. I am thinking about bringing Granata 124: Travel which is a collection of short stories about travel. I am in love with the jacket design, but two stories in, find it rather depressing and uninspiring. I’m hoping deeper in, it may bring some inspiration for my own travel writing. However, even if the writing isn’t up my ally, I still want to bring it home as a design artifact.

People are always putting boxes of books out on the curb where I live. One book I picked up was called the Princes of Ireland. I have been brought up to love a good historical novel and this one looks intriguing, even if one were just to read he title. Similarly down the historical-inspired route, I brought a battered copy of the Courtesan, a fantasy novel I enjoyed many years ago. I have been attempting to write my own fantasy book this past year and thought it might be good to revisit some old favourites to bring about inspiration.

Then there is Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. Not only is the jacket design lovely, but the topic is one that has fascinated me for years. I have often wondered how the delete button on a keyboard could impact a society now so heavily dependent on technology for both work and leisure. I myself have many times wished there was a delete button for moments in life too- and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

I also have The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood is a history of communication and information. It combines my two loves of history and communication technology! Only problem is, it is a rather hefty book… and I think I’d want to bring this one home with me.

Then finally, there’s the gender and sexuality studies books I have collected so many of. Two I’ve been debating to bring are The Other Side of Desire and The Sexual Spectrum: Exploring Human Diversity. The first one is a short book with narrative while the other one is longer and a bit more on the usual side. So far, I’ve chosen the longer of the two as I figure I’ll need as much reading material as possible, but now I’m beginning to wonder if the shorter book maybe a wiser choice.

So many books to choose from!

Leave a Reply