The challenge was to travel with only a backpack. No, not the ‘big’ 45Liter backpack that I had around the world. The smaller one. How did I manage? Let’s see.
I bought this Under Armour backpack on a total whim. You might recall one of my earlier posts (if not, here it is :]) that it was a mere 3 hours before we were due to depart from JFK and we were still faffing about in my friend’s apartment. I needed a smaller daypack at least carry my brand-spanking-new laptop. Anything that wouldn’t crush it in the big backpack. Off to Modell’s. No luck. Absolute fail. Upstairs is a discount chain store (I can’t remember exactly which one it was) and I spot the Under Armour for a super bargain $40 price. Steal!
Anyway, I wanted to see if I could (should?) pack this bag for a 23-day trip through Morocco with a slight detour in Paris. Blasphemy! What I packed:
- Laptop (trusty Asus eee PC Flare netbook) + necessary power cable
- Kindle + necessary power cable
- Writing notebook (you know, the kind where you use an ink pen?)
- iPod nano + necessary cable, because.. you know… it’s not the same as my ancient 4s phone
- iPhone 4s + necessary cable
- Panasonic Linux Camera + 2 batteries + 2 memory cards + battery charger
- Power strip (yep)
- Portable charger - Lifesaver
- NB Vibram Sneakers
- Flip flops
- Medicine Cabinet/Makeshift First Aid Kit (+Neosporon + thermometer!)
- Travel Hair Dryer (it’s cold at night, wet hair = massive headache)
- 6 pairs of underwear
- 2 bras
- 2 skirts (I wore these exactly 0 times)
- 1 shorts (see above)
- 2 bathing suits (surfing, remember?)
- 1 sweater
- 1 cardigan
- 2 long sleeves
- Wool, super thin thermal base layers (1 bottom, 1 top, I love Icebreaker)
- Trekking pants
- 5 pairs of socks
- Rain jacket
- 1 dress
- 1 leggings from Under Armour (black=dual purpose, running pants & NYE pants)
- Running gloves
- Jewelry (earrings + necklace, I was going over the holidays...priorities)
- Pajama pants
- 2 Basic t-shirts
- X-body purse
- Ear muffs
- 26Euro in coins because that’s how I roll.
- 2 guidebooks on Morocco thanks to D (I would never, ever add that kind of volume/weight to my bag on my own) LP + Rough Guide
- Toiletries (brush, shampoo, conditioner, soaps, toothbrush, paste, floss, lotion, you know the drill..)
- Makeup (small bag: eye shadow, liner, mascara, blush, lipstick, mirror)
Yes. All this fit into that backpack. There were things that I certainly could have done without, such as the guidebooks (sorry D, but your anecdotes via email were significantly more useful).
Five Favorite Travel Items- Compression sacks that I discovered through Jodi’s blog Legal Nomads. This compresses your clothing into super tight cylinder and has the added bonus of keeping everything dry...you know, should you encounter monsoon season. How else did you think I can bring such a massive closet with me?
- Baby powder. Ladies, leave your Klorane at home. This 100g bottle is a great substitute for fancy dry shampoo between washes. If you’re hiking, dust into boots. If you’re camping or facilities are otherwise sub-par, dust on.. everything. If you're going to the Four Seasons, you are reading the wrong blog.
- Cards. Delays, sick of sight seeing, or just have extra time? Cards. Cards are your answer. If you want a really fun game that is addicting, email me & Ill lay out the rules. I was taught by a couple of crazy Canadians (hey guys!) and almost a year later, I am still spreading the game and hooking new followers.
- Portable charger. In addition to the power strip that lets me charge 5 electronics at once, this portable charger is so much of a help when you don't want to carry an adapter and/or you don't know when you're going to be at a power socket next. Plus it doubles as a flashlight. On this trip alone, this little nugget helped me out a number of times. For $16 purchase, I think it might deserve its own blog post.
- Smartphone. Luddites, stop reading here. I don’t read guide books. I’m not knocking them, I just don’t read them. I prefer to use Google to discover things around me. Walking around aimlessly is what I do best, that’s how I stumbled upon one of my favorite temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It wasn’t listed anywhere. But at the same time, if I come back home and find out that I had been thisclose in seeing something cool, I would kick myself.
Other than PocketEarth (thanks Chor!!), I don’t use any other app or website religiously. Normally, I seek out local bloggers, apps or travel blogs that have been to that particular region. For example, my go-to guide in Buenos Aires for food specifically was Pick Up The Fork. No way would I have discovered my favorite pasta place in Argentina had it not been for her blog.
There you have it. My minimalist Morocco packing. Not without its faults...but that would be another post.
How do you like to travel? What items are on your must pack list?