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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Double Day Trip Travel Guide to BATH, U.K

Happy Sunday! Bath is by far one of my favourite places on the planet. So much so that I’ve been twice! It a truth universally acknowledged that… there are two very different ways to see bath (see what I did there, because Jane Austen lived in Bath?) and both are fabulous!

Most likely, if you are traveling the U.K you have flown in Heathrow (closest to London) or Gatwick (South of London). From Heathrow , Bath is about an hour and a quarter drive (we’re using Brit lingo here!) while from Gatwick is about 2 and a half hours. Fancy a road trip anyone? Its also important to note that both of these trips happened in May!

TRAVEL GUIDE #1:

The first trip I took to Bath was with my friends. We were all visiting my parents in London and decided we wanted to go to Stonehenge & Bath. After going to the Tower of London we ran into some quite charismatic bus tour sales people. We debated for. oh maybe two minutes and bought tickets for a day trip bus tour to Stonehenge, Bath & Windsor Castle (like I said, the guy we talked to was a great sales person). We went with Golden Tours at the time and if I remember correctly it was around 80 pounds. Today the price hasn’t changed too much at 89.00 pounds/ adult and you get a Subway lunch included!

Now, what I can say about the tours is that they are chaotic. While it takes the pressure off of driving everywhere yourself and you have an itinerary, you still have to make sure you find your right bus! We had a hard time because there were so many tours leaving all at once and there were people everywhere in the station! Once we had finally found our bus, we realized that since we bought our tickets on the street we were supposed to go to the office and have them verified before getting on the bus. Account for this in your timing!! Thankfully there was a bus switch and we made it on time and all was fine and dandy, however anxieties were high!

After that the trip was WONDERFUL. One of the things I loved most was that the guide explained histories as we drove, stuff we wouldn’t have gotten had we gone on our own. It was also planned down to the minute which can be a plus or a minus depending on your travel length! We hit Windsor castle first- If you love castles, flowers and beautiful cathedrals then you’ll love Windsor. We had a very limited time there but I enjoyed it all just the same.

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Windsor Castle

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Next stop was Stonehenge which was completely sublime. Its one of those places you have to keep reminding yourself “i’m really here”. Some will say its just some rocks, but it truly is an incredibly peaceful place.

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Now, ON TO BATH! Bath is well known for its placement over natural hot springs. This geographical placement allowed for an incredibly rich social history starting with the Roman baths around 70 CE. The baths are some of the most well preserved sites of Roman history in the world! The tour included entry into the baths, pump room & a spa water tasting(which we ran out of time to do). There is a big bath in the middle (which no, you wouldn’t want to take a bath in) with the ceiling open to the sky and side rooms where you can gaze at the fascinating aqua duct system. There is real sense of relativity in the baths, of the significance of time. Being amongst pillars and beams and art you can see the socialization of the people who visited hundred of years ago. You can feel the work and effort of those who designed the structure and the aqua ducts. It a sense of the permanent impermanence of life.

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The central Bath area.
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A Roman Bath Aqua Duct that carries water to and from the Bath site.

The tour was short as we had packed A LOT into the day. We also spent some time wandering the city a bit but had to hop back on the bus in what felt like no time. Exhausted we made our way back to London where we gushed to my parents about all the wonderful beautiful things we had just seen.

TRAVEL GUIDE #2: 

The second time I went to Bath was with my Mum and boyfriend. My father had a meeting somewhere close and therefore dropped us off in the city early in the morning (8 AM). If you can, I encourage you to arrive in Bath super early. Seeing it not bustling with tourists was really beautiful. Sun rising, people setting up their flower stands, theres a general peace about it all. Especially when you come upon Bath Abbey. It is by far, one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen, and the inside is even more spectacular. Its by donation to wander around inside which makes it both lovely and affordable to the wandering traveler.

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Peaceful Bath Abbey early in the morning. In a few hour this plaza would be buzzing with excited people.
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Inside the Abbey the stain glass is stunning when the sun shines in Andrew and I started wandering around just before Mass was starting.

After wandering around the Abbey and having a bite to eat. Th three of us wandered around the town. My Mum had done the Bath hop on, hop off bus tour and loved the flexibility of it. Its about 30 punds per person and is easy to catch to get around the city & country. There is also a historical commentary (in many languages) while you ride. We found it wonderful when we needed a walking break. Spending a full day wandering is hard on the feet and back, especially if you brought a back pack of snacks and sweaters and umbrellas! There are two separate rides- city & country. The city tour moves through the different parts of the beautiful limestone city (all of bath was built in limestone for uniformity and beauty). The country goes into the more natural parts of bath.

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There are beautiful arched bridges throughout the city that are lined with little bakeries and shops.
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Andrew and I love movies and I love all things ‘little’. Put them together and you have the cutest theatre ever!

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Now, if you are doing this kind of day trip I highly advise you go ‘off the map’. One of my favourite memories of this day is when we took the bus out to the country to maybe bask in the sun by the water and ended up lost in what I think might be St.James Cemetery ( but could be wrong.) It was the most beautiful place with overgrowing vines and flowers and old broken tomb stones. The eeriness of the cracked open tombs subsided quickly thanks to the sunshine and comforting sense of oneness. I couldn’t help but feel that everything was connected- myself, the people beneath me, the sky above me, and the plants intertwined between us all. Every stone was hundreds of years old and commemorated a deeply loved and cared for human. It will forever be cherished as one of my favourite travel memories.

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Blue water and Blue sky.
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The cemetery sat on top of a hill which over looked the city.
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Old graves grown over with grass.
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Opened tombs and plants growing inside and out
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Vines covered the entire place

If you are taking a day trip and simply wandering, I encourage you to find your travel memory- your place of amazement. Thats whats so wonderful about travel, some things don’t have to be shiny and incredible- sometimes they just have to nestle into a little place your heart.

Those are my two day trip travel guides to Bath! They are both fabulous AND affordable. The first is a bit more structured and you get to see LOTS. Its wonderful for your first time to the U.K and if you’re working with limited time and lots to see. The second is far more leisurely and geared towards the wanderers. If you don’t like having a plan and want to fall madly in love with your own version of Bath, I encourage you to go early and get the hop on, hop off bus tour.

If you have any beautiful Bath memories you wish to share, questions, concerns, opinions or epiphanies please do email me or comment in the section below.

Happy travels my lovelies! 

xxx 

K