- Shorts, shorts and more shorts, if you happen to be male. These should be thin, lightweight and a darker color if possible. No whites. Zip off pants are great too- but do not make the mistake I did, and bring a bunch of cargo pants and cargo shorts. Big pockets = very practical, however, the canvas material is a PAIN in the behind to wash by hand, and takes days (yes, days) to dry in some cases.
- LAPTOP!!!!- some of you may see a recommended list that says, you won’t need it, or the region is too humid. False and true, but you can work around the second reason. Yes, it is humid so bring a dry bag to store it in and many silica packets or other devices to reduce moisture. You will need a computer- for work, for fun, for days in town when there is wireless but no computers available. DO- bring a newer model- anything older than 2 years will probably break on you in the first 3 months.
- Hands free, USB rechargable Headlamp- in this case, we did bring them, one for each of us and they were the best thing we bought before we got here. Solar lights are Expensive and Rare here, batteries are impractical and USB is very handy. We got the Black Diamond model and they are awesome.
- Hot Sauce- you can find it here for sure, but if you like hot sauce, then you will NEED the type you like here. No gat Tapatio lo ples ia. For me, putting hot sauce on the many foods that are not high on flavor variability is one of the most important means for maintaining sanity.
- Special whatever- take the time to get to Know Thyself. Look deep within you and ask yourself, “Can I live without peanut butter? Can I live without chocolate?” (or cheese, or whatever, etc.) If you can do this before hand, kudos to you, you can bring some with you!!! If you do it after you get here, then you may have to do without, or at least until someone can send you some. For me, it has been peanut butter and coffee. For a friend of ours- it was protein bars.
- Don’t buy expensive footwear to get you through your service. Flip-flops are very capable of being enough for your feet, even if you are like me, and haven’t gone without socks for decades. You can buy decent flip-flops here for 2-4 dollars and they will last 3-6 months. More complicated foot technology will be a hassle to put on, take off and keep from molding. If you haven’t worn flip-flops since you were knee high to a grasshopper, start before you get here! You might get blisters, and better to get them over with, before you are walking and carrying everything you own.
- A good knife- you may be like many of us, and go out and buy a bigfala bus naef (machete) because it makes you feel local, and they are practical. But, having a small, sharp and easy to carry pocket knife is also very handy, and you can’t really get one here, at least not for cheap.
- An American English dictionary is useful. We bought an English dictionary here for about $30USD, and it’s Australian English for Fiji in Vanuatu. It’s a little unfamiliar. One from home would have been nice to have and keep. (In fact, more than one small one might be good. We did come with one, but gave it away within the first couple of months.)