What in the world is Poorpacking?

This is a new kind of travelling – flying in the face of conventions, traversing all kinds of boundaries, making journeys to little-known places away from the tourist treadmill. The Sole Sisters went in search of other worlds that appear both familiar and different, building bridges across seemingly divided worlds.

They did not travel across countries, rather they travelled into them – into their societies. They did not have a fixed itinerary but respected the natural evolution of the journey, guided by events, curiosity, intuition. And as they travelled in their independent, resourceful, open way with the freedom to imagine – what they dub “poorpacking” – they created a wonderful collection of subjective impressions, through images and the written word.

So are you one of us?

You Know When You're a Poorpacker When...

- Most of your clothes are stained, torn and have more holes than cheese.

- You quit having haircuts. You'd rather spend that money for food...or beer.

- You swapped your vanilla-scented body wash for plain ol' soap.

- The last time you used hair conditioner was about 2 months ago. You use only shampoo now. Which probably explains why...

- Your hair is dead and lifeless. You've become like one of the 'before' models in those shampoo commercials.

- You once went out of your guesthouse forgetting to comb your hair. Your friend (Lois) had to point it out just as you were opening the door.

- You now have only one comb (without  handle) to share between you and your friend.

- Your feet look and feel like they've travelled from Laos to Cambodia to Thailand on foot. (Probably because you did.)

- You smell your clothes to check if it's wearable or not. If it doesn't smell like a rat died on it, then it's still ok.

- You wear your clothes twice (sometimes 3x if push comes to shove) to save on laundry fees (or detergent if you're addicted to washing your own clothes like Lois).

- You learned how to 'borrow' stuff. Like those flipflops that someone left on the beach bar in Koh Tao, Thailand or the Topshop straw hat in the luggage room in your guesthouse in Bangkok. (We totally didn't do these things. Honest!)

- The sight of a fresh roll of toilet paper in a public rest room sends you into shivers of happiness. You then discreetly stuff it in your backpack.

-You stuff buffet food into your pockets, plastic bags and carry-ons just to have food for the next boat ride.

- You don't buy 1 USD bottles of mineral water everyday. Instead, you look for those water refilling stations for 0.30 cents a pop. Or better still, refill for free from your guesthouse (which you chose for exactly that reason).

- The guesthouse you stay in complains that they run out of drinking water constantly. You and you friends try and hide the 2 bottles of 2-gallon containers which you just refilled.

- You can't remember when you last put make-up on.

- Your legs, which were flawlessly perfect before, are now full of gashes, bruises, mosquito bites and scars.

- You don't buy drinks at the bar; instead, you and your friends buy them from 7-11 and drink at Tha Pae Gate (Chiang Mai) or sit on the sand near a beach bar so you still have music (Koh Tao). Then, you go to the bars and dance.

- Everywhere you go, you pretend you're local just to avoid paying those hefty entrance fees and foreigner's charges. You can't even click here to pay for travel insurance!

- You can't remember the last time you ate at a fast-food restaurant.

- Actually, you haven't eaten at a place with decent chairs and table cloth in recent memory.

Are you a Glampacker or a Poorpacker? 

Can't decide? We'll talk more about our transformation "From Glampacker to Poorpacker: The Sole Sisters' Story" on September 10-18th at R.O.X. for the Sole Sisters' Travel Photo Exhibit and Travel Talk.  See you there!

About the illustrator: Susan was one of 2 Indonesians we'd met and traveled with on the trip. She is a voracious foodie, awesome photographer and uber talented illustrator. When she's not showing off her talents, she's dancing the Americano with us.

Categories: ,

17 Responses so far.

  1. If poorpacking means being able to extend my travel time and be able to go to more places than initially planned, I want to learn how you girls did it. Can't wait for Saturday! :)

  2. Sole Sisters says:

    Yeah, that's exactly why we had to turn into poorpackers! To extend the mileage on our depleting travel fund. It worked! See you on Saturday Angge!

  3. Definitely a poorpacker here! But then again, I always stash a make up kit in my backpack. Hihi.

  4. Sole Sisters says:

    You're probably a glampacker disguised as a poorpacker Gaye!

  5. Fliptravels says:

    ooh! so this is Susan's artworks! love it! CLAP CLAP CLAP to Susan!


  6.  Isn't she just amazing Ron? You should see the rest of her work. It will blow your mind ;)

  7. i'm a certified poor---packer... :)

  8. Welcomet to the club. Now let's recite the oath: I promise to be a poorpacker even if...

  9. DingFuellos says:

    very interesting!

  10. JODYxBUFFY says:

    Another characteristic of us Poorpackers is taking overnight buses to avoid paying a night's accomodations. 

  11. Sole Sisters says:

    No make-up? Even better Ding! While we were in Myanmar, we wore no make up, dressed in traditional clothes and loved every moment of it!

  12. Sole Sisters says:

    So true Jody! Can't believe we missed this one! But that was a big consideration, esp in India!

  13. Earfy says:

    oooh I was just about to ask you who your illustrator was... this is so kayooot! wish I were there to see your events, Lois... But not to worry... This December, hindi ka makakawala. Haha! :) 

  14. grasya says:

    hahahah! sapul. no wonder my hair is upto my waste already xD

  15. grasya says:

    at waste talaga!!! HAHAHAH!! waist lowlahs, waist.. geesh such waisted moments :D

  16. Natawa din ako. You're so waisted Grasya!!

  17. ronald decina says:

    - You smell your clothes to check if it's wearable or not. If it doesn't smell like a rat died on it, then it's still ok.

    this is so true!!! hahaha!

    I forgot to wash two of the underwear I bought with me to the beach. When I went back to the city in Cebu, I had to go to the gym at Ayala Center to burn all the calories from the alcohol and food I had while I was at the beach. After my workout, I realized that I did not have clean underwear with me. So I ended up smelling my underwear, which smelled like the sea, to see if it was still wearable. Since I had no choice, I reluctantly slipped it on... 

Leave a Reply

Follow the Sole Trail
If you want to contact the Sole Sisters for comments, suggestions, donations, advertising or any travel related inquiries - send them to: