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Packing List

Gitty Up, Trailblazers, Lightworkers, THINK LIGHT!

You will have to put whatever you bring into a taxi, or a group van, and you may have to carry your bag for some short to intermediate distances. We recommend that you bring what’s listed here, and not much more. The lighter you pack, the happier you (and the rest of the group) will be. Remember, do not bring more than you can comfortably carry. It is very important that you can fit all of your belongings into one backpack/suitcase (and one daypack/carry-on) that you are OK hauling for a short walk on your own.

Here’s a list of all that you will need to stay warm, dry, cool and comfy.  When packing, think layers and do your best to stay away from cotton because cotton takes a long time to dry.  We have limited access to laundry facilities, which include washers but not dryers, with line-drying on the roof of the hostel or in your room. I n general, layers are the key to keeping warm (and cooling off) when you need it.  Dressing in a way that is culturally appropriate goes a LONG way in gaining the respect of local people and opening doors for you.  Consider bringing clothing that won’t easily show dirt, is lightweight, and dries easily, but remember that whatever you bring will get a lot of use, so bring things you don’t mind beating up.

We are going to Kunming and Lijiang, and you can click here to view weather reports before we go to make sure you are properly covered.  We are expecting the average temp to be between 59-72°F.  It is cooling down as we near autumn. It may be rainy at times, the average humidity can be rather high.

  1.  BACKPACK or ROLLER SUITCASE: Bring all your items in just one bag or suitcase, and bring a day pack for those urban hikes to the Zoo for training. For this Journey to China we will not be backpacking, per se. When we overnight to Lijiang, we will have the option to check our luggage at the hostel, so you won’t have to haul everything you pack for this “field trip”. Consider getting a backpack with a detachable daypack, or a small case with wheels that you can easily roll through the train station but quickly pick up and put on your shoulder for times when we have to hustle. SMALL LUGGAGE PADLOCK: It is not a bad idea to have some way to lock-secure your bags.
  2. DAY PACK: Small, light, nylon bag with straps – a school book-bag is about right. This is what you’ll take with you on day excursions. It should be big enough to hold a water bottle, headlamp or flashlight, some food, a raincoat, and a book or journal. This is what we will carry in town to training each day.
  3. SNEAKERS or HIKING BOOTS: Trail runners (beefy running shoes) are perfect as they can double up as light hiking shoes. You will wear these a lot so they need to be broken in and comfortable. If you can get waterproof then all the better.
  4. SANDALS or SHOWER SHOES: (not flip flops) Tevas and Chacos are light and quick drying.  Chacos are slightly more expensive but fit more snug on the foot and have more support with no Velcro.  No leather sandals please, as they are more difficult to clean and do not dry as fast. You may want to have these handy for the trip to the Hot Spring, but they are not 100% necessary for this trip.
  5. PRACTICE SHOES: The Gazebo floor where we will be training is made of smooth cement. You will want something with a little traction that is light weight with good support or padding to protect your joints from the hard surface. Think ninja cat. Of course, your sneakers can double up here if you feel comfy in them for deep grounding and high kicks.
  6. RAINCOAT: Best if lightweight and breathable. A rain parka that you can roll up tight is a great thing to stick in your daypack just in case it rains. PACK COVER for your gear is nice to have, too, if your bags are not waterproof. RAINPANTS: Coated nylon, waterproof pants, or Gore-tex ones, you can bring them if you want but not 100% necessary.
  7. FLEECE JACKET or WOOL SWEATER: Pile, often called Polartech or fleece, is great because it is light, doesn’t hold odors, dries fast and keeps you warm even if it’s wet. This coat is an essential element of the layering system, or a wool sweater will serve the same purpose. We recommend that students DO NOT BRING COTTON sweaters and sweatshirts, as they are heavy, take a long time to dry and will only make you colder if they get wet.
  8. WOOL or SYNTHETIC SOCKS: Some wool socks are blended with nylon to make them more comfy and to help them last longer. Smart Wool socks will dry quickly and do not retain odors if you hang them out to dry each night. COTTON SOCKS: These are for home-stays, the plane ride, walking around town. Lighter weight and cooler than wool, but need more frequent washing. Grey will appear clean, even when they’re not. Remember, laundry facilities are limited. However, you can buy new underwear and socks very readily in Kunming in case you run out.
  9. UNDERWEAR: We recommend synthetic quick-drying underwear as it cleans easily and dries fast! We are traveling for 2 weeks, you decide how many pairs of socks and underwear you will need. LONG UNDERWEAR: Indispensable in Winter, these may not be necessary for September trip because we are expecting temperatures to stay above 55°F. YOUR CALL! top & bottom – light to mid-weight capilene, polypropylene: basically some type of synthetic or wool. No cotton.
  10. HAT: Bring your favorite hat, something to keep you dry and shield your eyes from the sun.
  11. SCARF: Something to keep the wind off your neck or to cover your face from the sun. Also, comes in handy to dab with some essential oils and place over your face to dampen the smell of cigarette smoke which you WILL encounter on the overnight train. Also, it’s fun to pretend like you are holding up the train by covering your face with this bandana and scaring the bejezus out of Teshelle.
  12. T-SHIRTS: (3-5) Should be dark-colored and in fair shape. MEN AND WOMEN: Please DO NOT BRING THIN-STRAPPED TANK TOPS or other shirts that reveal a lot skin, and are often culturally inappropriate (in other words cover your armpits).
  13. SHORTS: (2 pairs) You’ll be happiest if these are lightweight, dry easily, and don’t show dirt. For females, shorts that come down to the knee or cropped pants are more culturally appropriate.
  14. LONG PANTS: (3 pairs) No jeans please, as they are heavy, take up pack space and take a long time to dry. Your pants should be durable and light-weight, and, if possible, dark in color. Many like to travel in light-weight trekking pants with zippers on the legs that make them convertible into shorts. Make sure your pants are comfortable and good for Meridian Stretching (Taoist yoga) and Qigong.
  15. SOMETHING NICE TO WEAR: for evening celebration times or going out on the town. Ladies, dresses or long skirts are encouraged! Men, clean yourself up a bit and put on something that says Respect.
  16. DUFFLE BAG/ STUFF SACKS/ZIP-LOCK BAGS: Your clothes should be packed in stuff sacks (more expensive) or ziplock bags (cheaper). Bring a few extra to organize your accessories, for dirty clothes and things that you want to organize and keep clean and dry. It’s a good idea to bring an extra bag to keep items that are left behind during hikes and short trips, and so you have something to bring souvenirs back in. This bag doesn’t have to be too fancy – something nylon, and lightweight. If you can’t find something that works, don’t worry – you can get a great simple bag in China for a fraction of what you would pay here.
  17. POWER ADAPTERS and SIM CARDS: if you want to use your devices in China come prepared with adapters for the electrical outlets and an international sim card for your phone. You will also need to download a VPN service for your devices so you can get around the Chinese firewall for google and other sites.
  18. HOT WATER BOTTLE: You will want to bring a thermos or tea carafe to have on hand. Hot water stations are readily available at the hostels and in the train station and airport, and you will want to stay hydrated. You can buy bottled water, but it is nice to have something to keep hot tea hot.
  19. EYE GLASSES: Bring extra glasses if you wear glasses or contacts. Bring your prescription too as they are readily made in China. SUNGLASSES Bring one pair that offers good protection.
  20. SECURITY WALLET/BELT: You’ll want to keep your passport, traveler’s checks, RMB and other valuables in a secure flat pouch that’s well attached to your body: around your waist or your neck. Kai recommends Eagle Creek for money pouches that would be appropriate for our needs.
  21. JOURNAL/NOTEBOOK/PEN: You must bring something that you can write in. Should be compact, but have room enough to record your daily thoughts and take notes on the classes we have.
  22. TIME PIECE: a cheap Timex with an alarm function would suffice. Make sure the alarm is loud enough for you! You will be responsible for waking up and getting to the Zoo on time, and be punctual for meeting times please.
  23. CAMERA: Bring an extra battery if you can afford it, and extra memory cards. Have a system to keep them waterproof!
  24. PERSONAL CARE ITEMS: you know by now what you need to take care of yourself (we hope!) But try to keep beauty items down to a minimum for faster packing and lighter hauling. Think ESSENTIALS: tooth brush and paste, soap (which can double as a shampoo), some essential oils which are small and versatile for self care such as tea tree, peppermint and frankincense. Coconut oil is great for many purposes. CHARCOAL is a good essential item to have with you. And of course any herbs or teas you normally use for your health care routine. Remember, there will be many opportunities to explore herbs and other health care products from the region! You can buy most items in China, so you can buy more along the way. LIP BALM SPF 15 or higher. (Lip balm w/o SPF actually intensifies the effect of the sun’s rays!) TOILET PAPER is in low quantities and high demand. Bring several travel pack TISSUES for easy carrying in your pocket. BIODEGRADABLE WET WIPES are are also extremely nice to have for when you need a quick clean up and no access to sink or shower, or PURELL (hand-sanitizing gel) a small bottle. And don’t forget to bring a TOWEL! (a small quick dry travel chamois or yoga towel is most badass.) Women, if you use tampons, bring enough for the entire course. (Ask Carri and Teshelle about feminine hygiene products in China for a exhilarating surprise.) PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Any personal prescription medications that you regularly take (and printed information on side effects and contraindications.) Consult with a travel doctor for recommendations and a prescription.
* WIDE-LEGGED PANTS THAT DRAG ON THE GROUND These are a disaster on Chinese streets and in public toilets.
* MAKEUP AND OTHER FANCY TOILETRIES. You are perfect just the way you are.

SAVE ROOM FOR MORE: Remember to leave extra room in your luggage when you are flying in to China (or purchase an affordable stylish carry-on luggage piece on your journey) so that you can fill it with gifts and goodies on your return home. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to purchase custom hand-made Taoist style practice clothing. A traditional gi in any color with beautiful detailing runs about $40 American. This is a steal. You WILL want to buy EVERYTHING you see in the market because the cost is so low.

CUSTOMS will ask you to claim anything above a dollar amount of $800. Usually customs claims can be avoided if you do not buy any one item in bulk or buy antiques which have special claim forms. (Everything is made in China these days. 😉 ) It is good to wrap your gifts in socks and underwear (CLEAN!) so that you don’t take up too much room with packaging.

One final thing, and this is essential: A HEALTHY BODY!! Your experience will be so much more enjoyable if you come with a body that is fully prepared for the journey to head out into mountains, go for walks in green lake park, or hike a trail to the temple. Come well rested and open minded.