IMGP0214When we were first in Japan and met other expats I took to asking them what they had brought in their air shipment, at first as a conversation starter but I soon realised that the answers could be quite revealing. Whether an expat was an ICT (Inter-Company Transfer) with an air shipment (which is usually about 5 tea chests in volume, and arrives between 7-20 days, depending on the country), or whether they were self-funded and had just come with a suitcase and posted small a box of essentials – the contents of the suitcases and that air shipment are the items which the person in question feels they can’t do without, so it tells you a lot. Obviously, those with children mostly filled their shipment with stuff for the kids, so the trick with them was finding out what they had brought for themselves (the trick being holding their attention once I had said “No, we don’t have kids.”)

I was reminded of this, today, as I watched the movers pack up our air and sea shipments to go off to Thailand. Now, I’ve known for many years that I am more of a geek than I am a “girl”, I’ve worn the geek title proudly, but I have occasionally backed down when my geek-hood was questioned (online, of course.) Well, no more. Between my suitcase and the air shipment, the items that I have chosen not to live without include: 3 Computers of various size and power (but real ones, no iPad), an Android Tablet, a Kindle, all my camera gear, 46 fountain pens, 52 bottles of fountain pen ink … and 2 pairs of shoes. 

If you had to move overseas and you had the volume of 5 tea chests in which you had to put your most essential items, what would you put in your air shipment? What would it say about you?