I travel a lot, and yet packing is still something that I struggle with. It isn’t procrastination that I suffer from more than I can never seem to pack lightly. In the last year, I have traveled thousands and thousands of miles across the country and once abroad, and every single time I found myself overpacking. Although I never came close to the airline weight limit, my heart always dropped a bit when I placed my suitcase on the scale at the check-in counter. As you may expect, every single time I had to lug around a heavy suitcase and backpack on planes, trains, and buses, I regretted my horrible habit. At the end of a trip, I always vow that next time I will not make such a rookie mistake, but this self-promise never comes to fruition.

This time is the time that is different! I am traveling the next two weeks with the Serbia Fellowship Experience to Serbia. With this being the second or third excursion to Serbia for many people on the executive board, it has been recommended to be prepared for temperatures ranging anywhere from 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the evening to 80 degrees during the day – not exactly the ideal situation for someone trying to pack lightly for the first time. Nonetheless, I kept my goal in focus.

As I normally do, I went to my closet and chest-of-drawers and laid out enough outfits of socks, pants/shorts, underwear, and shirts for a week. Then, keeping in mind the varying temperatures, I put one very light jacket in my backpack for the plane along with one of the three heavier jackets I took from my closet in my suitcase. With a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Serbia planned, I also packed one business professional outfit that included dress shoes, belt, tie, and blazer.  Once I had everything laid out, I rolled up every article of clothing, stuffed and packed my shoes, and compacted everything else as tightly as possible.

With my suitcase packed, I zipped it up and prepared for the all-telling weight test comprised of my seeing how difficult it is to lift it. I took a deep breath in preparation, tugged on the handle, and the suitcase rose from the ground with great ease. I’m not going to lie – I felt a sense of accomplishment with this personal feat. I rolled the suitcase to my front door to wait until the morning of departure as I always do, and I went about by day with the peace-of-mind that this adventure would much less unnecessarily difficult than the ones before.