Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What to bring? (backpacking to Europe)

As promised I am getting my last blog put together while still in the States..
As I sit in the Chicago, O’Hare Airport I am overcome with the most intense feeling of excitement and wonder about the things I am about to encounter on my journey.  One of the strangest things I’ve experienced as of yet is the fact that so many other people are interested in what I’m doing as well.  I find this to be dang awesome and kind of hard to believe.   I’ve had countless people approach me or tell  me in some form that they have read my blog and think what I am about to embark on is magnificent (in more words or less, ha)  Incredible feeling fo sho.  I hope everyone continues to follow and read!
I am anticipating several things for my trip.  First learning a little bit more about myself, discovering what truly excites me and where I want to head once this venture is over, seeing countless new and interesting things where I can’t help but stand in awe with my mouth stupidly hanging open, and of course meeting tons and TONS of new people.
At the Chicago O'Hare Airport waiting to board for London!
The main purpose of this post was to showcase exactly what I have decided to bring with me on my trip in case that interests anyone.  First off, I was able to secure a fantastic deal on Amazon.com for a great backpack.  It is an Osprey Farpoint 55 (thank you to Devon Mills at www.answeringoliver.com for your great blog about travel items, helped tremendously!).  They literally thought of everything, besides hip belt pockets, on this backpack, I love it.  It’s also perfect size for my height and frame.  As of now I’m almost positive I’m going to love her but there is always a chance I could be singing a different tune by the end of this trip, fingers crossed on that one!  The best part about the backpack is the fact that it unzips all down the front side like a suitcase, no more of that endless digging around from the top trying to reach the bottom.  Brilliant.
I snapped a couple pictures using my handy dandy fancy iPhone in order to give y’all a better view of my things however I was unable to get them uploaded before leaving but will still list what I brought. 
Below is a picture of all my electronics/practical items:

-Eno hammock (you never know when we’ll need to spend a few nights sleeping outside!)
-Fleece blanket (for those nights we do choose the great outdoors)
-Lock (to secure my backpack)
-European outlet converter
-Surge Protector (will you to plug into euro outlet convertor to house several electronics)
-Canon 40D SLR
-Packing cubes (so far these are my most favorite purchase for the trip, EagleCreek brand)
-Not pictured: Passport, drivers license, copies of those, printed off itineraries, phone charger, iPod, headphones,  and iPhone)
Second picture is a list of the toiletries:

-Face wipes
-Hair ties/bobby pins
-Diva cup (girls, just google it, brilliant!)
-Travel size toothbrush and paste
-Laundry sheets (the small orange square deal)
-Ear plugs
-Not pictured: Micro towel
-Makeup (tinted moisturizer, mascara, eyeliner, blush, bronzer)
(I later chose against bringing the razor as I figured security wouldn’t let me pass with it.  Decided to instead simply purchase one abroad)
Third picture is probably what people are most interested in, CLOTHES!
I was extremely proud of myself and how well I did limiting myself to “necessities” instead of “wants”, also helped that my brother who is an extreme minimalist (thanks AT!) helped narrow the choices down for me, ie. Literally threw things out of my bag…
-Shorts (3 pairs:  1 pair of Norts, and 2 pairs of Columbia brand hiking shorts with pockets)
-Black leggings (one pair)
-Tops (4 total: 2 tanks and 2 tshirts, these consist of both cotton or moisture wicking materials, ie. Exofficio)
-Pullover Patagonia Sweater
-Bathing suit (just one..)
-Black maxi dress
-Light cardigan
-Not pictured: baseball hat
-Bras (3 total: 2 sports bras, 1 regular bra)
-Underwear (4 pairs)
-Columbia Raincoat
-Shoes (3 total: Chacos, Ballet flats, and gladiator sandals)

And…that’s it!  I must admit it is a bit of a bummer to not be able to bring the more fashionable items left dejected and neglected hanging in my closet along with me, but alas this is not that kind of trip (not for everyone!).  I am going to have a marvelous time regardless and besides I can always pick up a cute piece or two in Milan ;)
As I mentioned above the packing cubes were absolutely wonderful when packing.  I used the largest of the three for all my clothes, the medium size one for all my undergarmets and toiletries, and the smallest for all my small electronics.  I tucked them away nice and neat in my backpack and now will be easily able to locate anything I may need quick and fast.
So there ya have it folks, nothing to extensive or detailed.  I tried to bring only what I felt I needed.  Hopefully I will only need to wash clothes once every 7-9 days.  This trip is somewhat similar to my brothers AT experience but not quite as extreme of course.  My Osprey backpack came with a smaller daypack and that is what I will be primarily carrying around with me.
We arrived in London around approximately 10:35pm hopped on a train and made it to our hostel around 11:15ish.  Our hostel is pretty cool, it is located in a pub called "The Green Man".  The pub is downstairs and the rooms are all on the upper floors.  We checked in and once we entered the room we met some of our fellow travelers.  4 of them were from Slovenia and the other from Guatemala, the hostel is by no means pretty but is certainly not by any means bad.  I love the idea of sharing a place with other people who are interested in the same things as you, very cool.
We are going to attempt to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, along with a few others tomorrow during the day.  We have then considered heading to Camden Town for the night where we have been told live music abounds and the beer flows like honey.  Sounds like our kind of place.  We have the entire day and night to spend in London before we head back to the airport and jet off to Greece!  Our new friends from Slovenia had just departed from there and exclaimed how much we would fall in love there upon arrival.  I am more than willing to fall deep, DEEP in love with Greece :)

Update!  Here are a few pics from London

Buckingham Palace
(I have lots and lots more pictures too on my Canon but will not be able to upload those until I return home.  So all blog pictures will be pics taken only with my iPhone.)

Something to note:  I will say it was EXTREMELY helpful as first time travelers to Europe to fly into a coutry that spoke English..considering we had no clue what we were doing it was great to be able to read the signs and ask people questions, keep that in mind if you plan on doing a similar trip..
Until next time!


  1. Since your closet has been abandoned, I'd be more than happy to keep every article of clothing company. But really.

    So glad to hear you've landed safe and sound! Praying for you and your safety. Pumped to hear...er, read all about your adventures!

    Love! AOT!

  2. four pairs of underwear! That is risky! haha jk. Love your writing ability!

    Love you and AOT