How To Pack for 10 Months in the Desert


Staring into the abyss of clothes that now covered every inch of my bedroom floor, I looked to Rosie (the world’s cutest dog) for advice. Her answer – walking away to retrieve another one of her toys – told me that I was in this one alone.

The shock set in that I was fitting a life that had once filled up a one bedroom apartment into just two suitcases and a backpack. My goal was clear. Edit and edit again.

I decided to take the advice given by Emma, a close friend who sent me one of her many helpful texts in lieu of one of my many minor freak-outs.

“Take the stuff you KNOW you’ll wear. Don’t bring the ‘it would be great if I wear this’ stuff because you never do.”

So there went my first edit. I pulled out dresses and pants that I hadn’t worn for years, but thought I might find use for in the Middle Eastern country where I was moving.

I also decided to learn from my mistakes a few years back when I packed for a semester abroad in Belgium. I thought pairing some of my favorite, most comfortable outfits would help me focus on what I would wear most in the desert climate. And so the editing continued…


I thought of what I would be doing, where I would be traveling and the temperature. Of course, the dessert is hot, but it’s also got some pretty cold nights. Layers are essential. I paired some lightweight tan shorts with a another lightweight checkered button up. A hat and pair of sandals completed what I would call my idea of “market wear.”

Remembering that I will be in classrooms a large portion of my day, I paired comfortable crop jeans with a white linen shirt and pair of flat sandals.

I had to, of course, prepare for nights out with friends and locals. A white tank dress paired with a lace and jean vest seemed like a casual go-to. To dress it up I added a long gold chain but still kept in mind the cold desert nights and added boots to the equation.

I’m hoping to get some good feedback on my choices, so let me know if you think I am on the right track for a “best dressed” year abroad!