Going on your first origin trip and wondering what to pack? No worries, our seasoned Nordic Approach staff have you covered!
1) First of all, being able to fit everything into a hand-luggage sized bag is a big bonus. This means no lost luggage for starters. It’s handy to sort your packing into smaller bags by category, so it’s not just one big mess inside your luggage. And a bag is much better than a hardshell suitcase, sometimes at origin we have to fit a lot of people and and luggage into a small car, and bags take less space/can be more easily stowed away.
2) Clothes: Always check the weather before traveling, and bring what is required by country and season. Sometimes we’ll be travelling during the “rainy season”, so a raincoat always comes in handy. Check travel advice for the specific place you’re going, for instance in Addis, it may be warm during the day but can get very cold at night.
3) Origin trips involve a lot of walking, sometimes around muddy, hilly farms or washing stations. You need good (already worn in) boots that can handle mud. The classic ‘riding boot’ is a popular choice among green buyers. It’s also easy to clean off the mud from this style of boot, and they look fancy enough for wearing to a restaurant for dinner in the evening as well. And while we’re on footwear, bring some good hiking socks in a natural breathable material like wool. These will keep your feet warm or cool as required, and help prevent blisters.
4) Kaya suggests bringing something from home, like a family photo or in her case, a model version of her cat.
5) Noise cancelling headphones are a must! Not just for the long plane journey, but also to disconnect and get a breather during the trip.
6) Snacks: Driving between farms and washing stations can take a while, and we can’t always stop to grab something to eat on the way. We may be short on time, or there may not be anywhere to buy food, especially in more remote areas. The NA staff suggest bringing protein bars and nuts for these long journeys.
7) Travel pharmacy and toiletries: The most important things here are sunscreen (SPF 50), and Imodium (we never travel without it, don’t let some dodgy food ruin your whole trip!). Although most of the farms we buy from are above the mosquito line in altitude, some bug spray could come in handy, plus some hydrocortisone for those itchy bites if you do get a few bites. Remember to bring lip balm, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrush, dental floss — whatever you would normally bring, basically. Alex likes to carry charcoal and travel sickness pills for long car journeys. Joanne also recommends bringing earplugs, to sleep better in case your hotel is in a noisy area.
And of course, always check if you should get any vaccines before traveling!
8) Coffee!! Sure, you’ll probably be cupping a lot of coffee, but we also need coffee for breakfast and breaks right? Joanne likes to bring Kenyan coffee. No matter brewing facilities or water quality you’ll manage to get a tasty coffee. To brew your own, you’ll want to bring scales, a hand grinder, a brewing method (like aeropress or v60), and a way of boiling water.
If you’re visiting a farmer you’ve bought coffee from, definitely bring the finished product! Seeing their name on your packaged and roasted coffee is a big deal for a producer, and that package will take pride of place on their mantlepiece.
9) A camera! You’ll be seeing and experiencing a lot, so bring a camera to document it all. This is also a good opportunity to get some marketing pictures for your roastery, and some selfies with the farmers you buy coffee from.
10) Alcohol is optional. Morten used to travel with a bottle of Zacapa. Jamie likes bringing wine. Personally, I like bringing something Norwegian like aquavit or a local gin. It’s fun to share it with farmers, and usually they’ll want to share their local alcohol with you too! It is also handy for socialising with your fellow travellers.
11) Notepad: Bring a small notebook to write everything down at the end of each day. You’ll experience so much in such a small amount of time, recording it will help you remember.
12) A reusable bottle: Always carry water with you (we mentioned there’ll be a lot of walking, right?). The weather can be hot and humid.
13) Electronics: adapters, chargers, and USB power bank always comes in handy.
Want to join Nordic Approach on an origin trip? Take a look at this page, and don’t hesitate to get in touch.