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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Hanalei for Everyone! : A Hanalei, Kauai Travel Guide

While in Kauai, one of my favourite places we visited was the town of Hanalei. This laid back old surf town felt like home, like it was a place I should have been born in. It is by far Image result for hanaleione of the number one places I would re-visit in my life. Situated amongst the mountains and not too far of a drive to the beach, the town is the perfect mix of all of the beauty of Hawaii. To get there, there are a lot of one way bridges which, to a local may seem completely reasonable and safe, but to a tourist can seem absolutely danger ridden. With no stop signs or lights, the bridges have ‘unspoken’ rules for drivers to follow and let me tell you, in the dark they’re damn near impossible. I’d recommend visiting the town in the day and staying over a night- not only because of the tourist driving difficulty but because of the fun bars! Here is a list of fun places to stop in on while you are traveling Hanalei. I loved them all and took away the best memories!

Hanalei For the Yogis:

Hanalei is a small town on the north shore with plenty of history, shopping, dining and old surf vibes that you can’t pass up  when traveling Hawaii. Its got a hippie- artsy feel to it which I absolutely LOVED. The first place I was enamored with seeing was Yoga Hanalei Studio & Boutique. It sits in this open air shopping complex in front of huge mountains Image result for yoga hanaleiwith waterfalls in the distance. The whole trip I was curious about teacher trainings on the islands. In the future, I’d love to complete my 300 hour teacher training and I’ve been scoping out places to do just that. For anyone visiting, this studio excited me more than most I’ve seen. They had a bunch of drop in classes at multiple levels and multiple teacher trainings that look really in depth & fabulous. I grabbed all the brochures I could and they now are living in my ‘dream box’.  Check it out if you’re in town!

 

Hanalei For the Nature Lovers:

We came to the town originally to meet up with Andrew’s family for some drinks. We ended up pulling over on the side of the muddy road just outside of town because a beautiful rainbow appeared over the mountains. It was something out of a movie. Just incredible. Below that rainbow are taro fields (we were clearly slightly trespassing). Taro is an important staple to (traditional) Hawaiian meals (it is used to make Poi) and the fields are revered and absolutely beautiful. When we were finished gawking at the beauty and surely trespassing on someones property to take pictures, we carried on into the town.

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Hanalei For the Fun-Lover

One of the first places we stopped into was Tahiti Nui-that famous George Clooney tiki bar. It looked like walking into a history of happy people drinking and celebrating together. Its a really cozy old tiki bar where many famous people have stopped by and where the movie The Descendents had scenes filmed (with George Clooney in them). Opened in 1963, the bar has kept its 60s/70s surf vibe feel and is a true original tiki bar.Hanalei1.jpg

By far one of the best favours you can do yourself is getting a Mai Tai at the Tahiti Nui. On their menu this is what it says:

“FOUNDER OF TAHITI NUI, AUNTY LOUISE MARSTON CREATED THIS SECRET ORIGINAL RECIPE. TAHITIAN FRIENDS WOULD SIP THIS COCKTAIL AND SAY “MAI TAI ROA AE” – TAHITIAN FOR “OUT OF THIS WORLD, THE BEST!”

Let me tell you, this is the best drink I’ve ever had. It was amazing. They also serve Hawaiian beer (which Andrew loved) and a bunch of great food. hanalei3hanalei2

Probably one of the best parts about Tahiti Nui is that they have live Hawaiian music every night. I love Hawaiian music- you can’t hear it without smiling and feeling at peace with everything.

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Hanalei For the Shopper

If you love Billabong, Roxy, Volcom and Quicksilver- go to Hawaii, now. I swear every shop I went to, I could’ve bought everything. Hanalei was no exception. Not only is the shopping fantastic- the stores look fantastic. Keeping with the old surf town vibe, the shops look sort of artsy, each with its own character. There are lights strung up between shops giving it a calm twinkly look. One of our favourites were Hanalei Strings which had a podium for live music and tons of ukeleles and small instruments. There was also a dog in there which is mainly what I was focused on.

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Hanalei For the Food/Ice Cream Lover

Now, I’m no expert, but Hawaiian ice cream is the best ice cream ever. Seriously, they do it right. I had a waffle cone with chocolate ice cream and it was AMAZINGLY fantastic. The only downfall is that you are in Hanalei on an island so you have to eat it quick otherwise you just have a mess. Shave ice in Hanalei is also incredible- my favourite is with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom and banana shave ice on top. YUM.Hanalei4.jpg

One of the coolest places which I didn’t have a chance to eat in was the Hanalei Bread Co & Coffee Shop. It was a cute little bakery with a seating area and porch. It smelled like fresh bread and pastries. Let me tell you, I will be returning there. It was perfect for anyone who loves sitting in coffee shops!

Hanalei was the coolest little surf town and I recommend everyone go, at least once!!

If you have any other suggestions for when I return please let me know!!

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