December 2, 2012


Our barrels are all packed! Woo!

It's a little weird to have them packed. That means Dominica is that much closer. I'm not near as nervous about Dominica as I was Freeport, and I think that's because I know what to expect a little more now. But it is still rather intimidating to be leaving for 16 months.

For some who don't know, I thought I would explain the barrel shipping process. Not that I'm nowhere near an expert, as I'm just learning this myself.

We didn't have to ship anything to the Bahamas, as we didn't have many luggage restrictions, and it was only four months. But going to Dominica, we can only take two suitcases, one that is 50 lbs. and one that is 20 lbs. Then we can have a carry-on and a personal item.

So that means we need to ship quite a few things. A barrel is the most recommended method. We got our barrels from a couple of different places, but they can be bought at shipping supply stores. We got one from my dad's work, and the other from a family friend. One barrel is 75 gallons and one is 30 gallons.

Once the barrels are packed, we take them to Conway Trucking, who then transports them to Tropical Shipping in Miami. From there, they are loaded onto an ocean freighter and transported to Dominica. It takes about two days to get to Miami, and then one week to get to Dominica. I've arranged for the taxi service in Dominica to pick up the barrels. They will pick them up and pay the customs fees for us. Then, once we arrive, the taxi service will have them delivered to our apartment, and we will need to reimburse them for the customs tax in order to get our belongings. There is also a $30 service fee per barrel. Totally worth it in my opinion!

Emmy was watching over and directing.
Getting it locked up. I was supervising.
So, what type of stuff did we bring? Here's a short list.

Quick Dry Towels
Mildew Resistant Shower Liner
Pots and Pans
Kitchen Utensils
Snap-tight Tupperware
Hand Sanitizer
Bug Sprays
Bug Spray for Linens
Bug Spray with Deet
Thermal/Blackout Curtain
Collapsible Mixing Bowls, Colander, Measuring Cups
Reusable Sandwich Bags
Taco Seasoning
Gatorade Mix
Wrinkle Releaser 
Lots of Clothing/Swimwear
Water Resistant Backpacks
Gustbuster Umbrellas
Rain Boots
Make Up
Laundry Detergent to do in the Sink
Clothes Line and Clothes Pins
Comfy Shoes and Hiking Shoes
Adhesive Hooks
Mosquito Net
Battery Operated Lantern
Flash Lights
Random School/Office Supplies
Random Supply of Medicines/Topical Creams
Mattress Pad
Lightweight Comforter
Bed Bug Encasement for the Pillows and Mattress
Insulated Grocery Bag
Mini Crock Pot
Mini George Foreman
Oversized Beach Towels
Various organizational supplies

Some of this stuff they will have in Dominica, but some not. Regardless, it's typically  cheaper to bring than to buy there. Plus, if you use a certain brand, they recommend bring that.

And yes, we fit nearly everything in the two barrels - with Dad as the tetris master. The rest we should be able to get into our suitcases. For our electronics, (computers, iPads, phones, etc.) they recommend putting that in our personal item bag to bring with us. Electronics can carry a huge customs tax. Plus, even if we put it on our suitcases, the suitcases don't always arrive on time as it is dependent on the weight for the plane if the suitcases make it on or not. With that being said, my sponsor also recommended packing a set of linens in the carry-on too. Great idea!

So, that's the science behind packing our barrels. A big thanks to the creator of space bags for making it much easier to get everything in them.

Now we just hope nothing breaks or explodes. I don't really want all of my belongings smelling like mouthwash and covered in baby powder.


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