I'll be on the plane heading for Barcelona tonight, and so begins my month long backpacking trip through Western Europe. My plan is to continue writing once a week, though I'm hoping that I'll get bit by the writing bug when I'm across the pond and at least jot down some thoughts about each city as I go.
For our first segment, however, I will go over one of the most important aspect of this trip today: packing and planning.
Packing list (left). From top left:
[top row] rain jacket, 4 t-shirts + dress shirt, 4 pairs of undies + socks, towel, sleep sheet;
[middle row] misc. toiletries & meds, belt, soft water bottle, more toiletries, bottled shampoo + soap + hand sanitizer, clif bars, shorts + long sleeve, pants + hoodie;
[bottom row] outlet adapter, tablet (bike light on top), keyboard, disposable camera, sunglasses, journal, eyemask, TideToGo, daily survival kit.
Packs (Right): daypack and 50L backpack, both from Mountain Equipment Coop
As you can see, nothing really spectacular is going into my bag here, except probably the tablet + keyboard because I want to write on the road (I might hate myself for this); the disposable camera is for reliving my journey at the end of it: some things are not meant for Instagram, at least not at the time. The daily survival pack has my contact lens case and solution, as well as phone charger, lotion, tooth brush, and earplugs. Not shown here: passport/money, phone, flipflops, running shoes, & digital camera.
I think I packed pretty light, although I did manage to fill up my 50L bag in a hurry (10kg flat). Most things are stored in ziploc bags and rolled up if possible to improve organization and decrease volume taken up by air. The amount of time I spent looking for these little items like empty shampoo bottles, perfectly sized ziploc bags, etc, was way too much. In hindsight, most of these things can be found in Walmart and/or the dollar store. And if you're feeling fancy/lazy, you can always grab them at MEC. At the end of the trip, I'll make a list and see how many of these things were actually useful.
Here is my route and schedule, tentative. Everything is tentative really, that's why I'm doing this. I don't even know which touristy places exist where yet, so it will be a learning process.
For now, just an overwhelming sense of fear and excitement. Also I'm writing this 5 minutes before the plane takes off, go figure.