What's in a Backpack... part II
What I have learned I can’t live without (that I added to my pack), what I have learned I can live without (and removed from my pack) and what I am really glad I packed!
Added to my pack
Moisturizer - was going to make due with just moisturizing soap but realized I needed more to feel good about myself
Grocery bag - a little thing I know but I begrudged having to pay even €0.50 for a reusable plastic bag when I had so many better quality reusable bags at home. And since I am trying to stay in places where I can cook, I need to grocery shop and therefore need a bag at times
Battery power bank - I’ve had cell phone battery issues from time to time. Another thing I begrudged having to buy as I had at least one at home but having a power source to charge on the go has been very useful - have to be able to take lots of pictures!!
Smaller toiletries/cosmetic bags - when I was going through my pack with a friend the night before I left, he advised against having my toiletries in several separate bags, saying when he did a 6 month trip he found it easier to only have to pull out one bag. So I borrowed one from him and threw everything into one. But as I have packed up each time I have moved on, I have found it harder to work with one large bag. Although I admit it is easier to just pull out one bag if you are only stopping over somewhere for a night, or if you are in accommodations like a hostel, for me, since I tend to stay somewhere for longer and have my own space, I can unpack multiple bags. And having items in smaller bags means I can stuff them into corners or small spots in my back vs. having one large unyielding bag to fit in. Just takes a bit of organization the night before to have only the bare essentials handy if I know my next stop will be a quick one. I decided to treat myself and buy a set from Ted Baker
Great sounding music - whether I'm facing a long bus ride or just sitting by myself in my room/apt in the evenings, music can make the time pass so much quicker. It wasn’t until a friend joined me in November and he brought along a Bose speaker that I realized how much I missed that depth of sound that my phone or laptop speakers just don’t have. His was too big for long term travel or else I would have ‘stolen’ it, so when I met my parents in Scotland for Christmas I asked them to bring me a Logitech UE roll 2 speaker. Small, weighing only 330 grams (less than 1/2 pound) but great sound. For a music lover such as myself, well worth the CAD$109 and finding room for it in my bag
Hot water bottle/heating pad - my left knee has bothered me on and off during my journey and some days I need to add heat to it and my leg to loosen up the muscles. Something extra in my pack - and I try to live by the motto of add something only if I remove something - but I decided this was needed for the long haul
Hmm… that seems like a lot!!
Removed from my pack
Nothing significant… don’t know if that means that I packed exceptionally well or am still a bit delusional as to whether I really need everything I originally thought I did. Suspect it’s more of the latter :-)
I did find that some of my clothes just didn't work for me. My initial wardrobe of mainly plain t-shirts left me feeling like a slob at times. I accepted that I couldn't be as stylish as I once was, but I needed to look a bit better. So I went shopping over Christmas and replaced most of my plain with some with stripes and even a casual button shirt
Glad I packed
Lightweight cutlery set - buying food in the supermarkets when you are on the go is a great way of keeping costs down but they usually don’t come with cutlery. I packed a lightweight, travel knife, spoon and fork and have used them many times
Pashmina - lightweight and easy to pack, it has been very handy on chilly buses or trains to wrap around my legs, especially my troublesome knee. And it doubles as a scarf so saved me packing an additional item
And not something I packed but really glad I have, google drive that allows me to create or edit documents even when I’m not on wifi. I wrote most of this blog post offline while on buses and trains in the UK 🙂
A post about what I’ve added, removed or happy to have wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a couple of things I miss but decided to make due, largely due to the impracticality of adding them
Different weight blankets or duvets. Staying in hotels or Air BnBs I’ve found you usually get just a duvet with no top sheet (maybe it’s just a Europe thing). I’m often too hot with the duvet but then would be too cold without some bed covering. So many times I have taken the duvet out of the duvet cover and just slept under the cover, using it as a top sheet
Tupperware containers to store leftovers or keep packets of meat or cheese fresh in a room fridge