Packing Guide: Minimal Backpacking

I recently went on my first trip where I brought no suitcase. It was absolutely life changing. Not carrying so much stuff with me was quite liberating and made travel so much easier. It was a 2 week trip and I brought this 22L Northface backpack. I have a bad back-scoliosis & spinal fusion- so I needed something with really great back support and weight distribution. I love. love. love. this backpack. Its one of my most favourite things I’ve ever bought. backpacking1

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In terms of clothes, for a two week trip, this is what I brought:

  • 3 tank tops
  • 1 t shirt
  • 3 long sleeve shirts
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of black yoga leggings
  • 1 plain dress
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 bralette & 1 underwire bra
  • underware

This was along with 1 pair of flexible running shoes & 1 pair of flip flops! It was MORE than enough and I ended up re-wearing much of it easily.

I found it most difficult to cut down my toiletries. Truth is, we don’t need as many toiletries as we tend to think. After working on this blog, I ended up taking a shower and FORGETTING many of the things I thought were essential in there!! I traveled for 2 weeks with no razor, conditioner or body wash. While I wasn’t exactly ‘clean shaven’, I survived, and you know what? I felt great.

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  • Dove original deodorant
  • Tarte blush & brush
  • Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara
  • Venus Razor
  • Neal’s Yard Remedies to Roll ‘Travel’
  • Rituals Travel Size Sakura Shampoo
  • Rituals Travl Size Spirit of Hammam body cream
  • Diva Cup (just in case!)

Also, quite hilariously, when my friend and I got to the Amsterdam Airport and went through security, I was stopped. What was suspicious in my bag? My Diva Cup !!! The agent, who was a woman, opened my toiletries bag and my little bag I keep the cup in and said ‘what is this?!’. When I told her it was a menstrual cup she quickly closed it and let me go. Hah!

I had initially packed my bras, underware & toiletries together. However, going through airport security multiple times, I quickly realized that my toiletry bag (the lips one!) would have to stay out and at the top of my pack- as it had all my liquids and I would have to remove it each time!

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Finally, came all my extras. I brought all these things EXCEPT for my big camera. I thought about it and thought about it and eventually decided that I didn’t want the anxiety of it getting broken or lost. Its also quite heavy and would have required much more ‘effort’ to lug around. In the end, I’m pretty pleased with my decision logistic wise- I didn’t have to worry about being careful with my bag or where it was going to fit- however, now I wish I had some of the pictures it could have taken!!! Backpacking, I found, is a real negotiation of comfort and luxury. Its prioritizing based on what matters to YOU and for this trip, ease of mobility was more important than bringing the camera. I ended up only taking pictures with my iphone- which works just fine!

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  • travel yoga mat by MANDUKA
  • Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho
  • Travel Journal
  • Super absorbant Microfibre Antibacterial Travel Towel (This was a life saver)

More on the trip in later posts- we traveled through the Netherlands & Greece and I have lots of pictures and stories to share!

xx

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Edinburgh Castle Travel Diary

About a month ago, my best friend and I took a trip to Edinburgh, which quickly became one of my favourite cities that I’ve seen yet. While there, we woke up extra early one morning in order to be the first into Edinburgh Castle that day. When we got into the city from our hotel we were met with this sight: ed1. Now, historically, I’m not too sure how people did these on the daily. All I can say is, they must have had great butts. After the enormous set of stairs was a nice walk down the Riyal Mile to the castle. It was a super cold day and we bundled up as best we could. By the time we got to the castle it was nearly 9:30am and the sun was just finally coming up over the city. The sky was bright blue against the skyline of old buildings mixed with new. The castle, which is on this beautiful green mossy cliff was golden in the sun and looked straight out of a fairy tale. I’ve been to the Tower of London & Windsor castle and Edinburgh castle beat them both by a long shot. ed10ed12img_4928ed11

Entering the castle, you walk through a massive arch way and enter the ticket area. What blew me away was that the castle continues to go upwards through the cliff. There is a rock wall as you enter that just seems to climb up forever.ed9ed7ed8

We bought our tickets and audio guides (I love audio guides in touristy places) and, though quite frozen, we headed in. On the other side of all the touristy gift shop and ticket book was a couple lookouts, which encompassed the entire city we had been walking the night before. Looking out over the city I convinced myself that in some past life I was a Scottish princess and lived in this gorgeous castle (can you tell I’m an english major?). ed6We spent I think 2 hours wandering the castle, listening to our audio guides. In the prisoners ward, I ended up taking my bra of inconspicuously because carrying a backpack while wearing a bra is uncomfortable. Historically, Alisa was laughing, that some prisoner had probably wished for just such a thing 200 years ago. My favourite part of the castle however, was where Queen Mary gave birth to her son James. It notes that its quite a mystery as to whether James was in fact her son, as there were baby bones found in the walls of the room. ed5

After the castle we went to a small pub on the Royal Mile where we had a baileys and coffee to warm up along with the best brie panini and carrot soup. It was a pretty near perfect morning/lunch and I would highly recommend anyone visiting Scotland go to the Edinburgh castle in the morning and watch the sunrise. It will make your trip.

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An Afternoon in Stowe, Vermont

stowe_vt11Recently, my 3 best friends and I took a road trip to Vermont for the weekend. We were looking for a trip that was ‘fall’ themed so we could indulge in apple cider, blanket scarves and beautiful leaves. On the way home we stopped in Stowe, a popular destination for skiers and golfers. It was truly beautiful and quaint- basically how I would picture a real Gilmore Girls stars hollow.

The drive from where we were staying into Stowe was about 30-40 minutes of beautiful fall colours, mountains & blue skies. Stowe_VT1.jpg

Once we got there, we grabbed some coffees (maple lattes to be exact!) at Black Cap Coffee and relaxed a bit. stowe_vt12

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Across the street from the coffee shop was a beautiful church with pumpkins sitting outside. I’m not sure if its the mass amount of horror type movies and shows i’ve been watching (because it’s halloween season!) but many of the churches we passed had this eerie yet beautiful feeling to them.stowe_vt5

After we were well caffeinated we took some time to walk around the main street and look in some shops. Most of them were old timey & extremely adorable. The quaintness of the town only enhanced the comfortable & cozy fall feeling within all of us. With fudge, candy counters, beautiful handy crafts, souvenirs & craft beers we couldn’t get enough of the town and spent 2 hours wandering up and down the street.

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All in all I can’t wait to return to Stowe, maybe for much longer of a time. It was so beautiful and relaxing before we hit the road to go home! stowe_vt3

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