Better Get Packing

The thought of packing for potentially a year abroad is a bit daunting at first, but in some ways it might actually be easier than packing for a normal vacation. My aim has been: 1) pack for about a week and plan to do laundry often, 2) layers, 3) only pack for Europe… clothes in Asia are cheap.

The process of packing always raises my awareness over how much crap we can accumulate over even short periods of time. Only 2 years ago I did a major bedroom purge before heading to New York for 6 months, purged again on my way back, and a third time moving back to my parents ahead of this trip. I’m amazed and somewhat disappointed that I still have anything left to purge (or anything left to wear, for that matter). I’ve found that certain items, especially clothing, I’ll hold on to through purge after purge, swearing that I’ll start wearing it, only to find it at the back of my closet a year later. Why is it so hard for us to part with things?

While we’re on the topic, here are a handful of American consumerism facts that are pretty mind-blowing:

  1. There are 300,000 items in an average American home (LA Times).
  2. 25% of people with 2-car garages don’t have room to park their cars inside (US Dept. of Energy).
  3. The average American women owns 30 outfits, up from nine in 1930 (Forbes).
  4. In the US, there are more shopping malls than high schools (Affluenza).
  5. Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessentials (the Wall Street Journal).

The impact consumerism has had on the world, and America specifically, has its pros and cons, and I won’t even begin to pretend I understand all of the arguments. However, I will say that I am excited to spend some time away from all the “stuff” I’ve accumulated, and live off what I consider to be pretty close to the essentials (I mean, for a modern-day American backpacking tourist). Oh, and thanks mom and dad for storing all my “stuff” while I’m gone! ❤

Here is a list of everything I’m bringing. It should be interesting to compare with what I bring home…


  • 7 t-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 pullover jacket
  • 1 zip up fleece
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 dress (shoutout to Jules and Smalls wedding in Amsterdam!)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair ankle jeans
  • 2 pairs jeans
  • 2 pairs leggings (long & Capri)
  • 1 pair sweats
  • 2 bras
  • 3 sports bras
  • 14 pairs of underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • Pajamas (2 cotton t-shirts, including a Warriors NBA champs shirt 🙂 , and 2 pairs of shorts)
  • Running shoes
  • Toms
  • Sandals
  • Shower sandals


  • 1 purse
  • 1 Osprey daylite backpack
  • 2 TSA locks
  • 1 hostel locker lock
  • Various medications, including but not limited to, Advil, Malaria pills, traveler’s diarrhea medication, lots of allergy meds, and a number of other things I won’t get into here…
  • Snacks! Jerky, fruit snacks, granola bars
  • A very minimal make-up bag
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Couple of bandaids
  • Deck of cards
  • Some duct tape wrapped around the deck of cards (great tip from a blog!)
  • Pocket tissues
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes
  • Travel towel
  • Sunglasses
  • A couple of dryer sheets
  • Plastic baggies
  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Umbrella
  • Bug repellent/after-bite cream
  • 1 paperback book, The Bridge on the Drina, and a lot of e-books and audibles
  • Canvas bag
  • Some very cheap jewelry
  • My passport! And copies of everything important
  • International drivers permit
  • Vaccination records
  • A money belt
  • A couple of pens and a notebook 


  • iPad Pro with keyboard
  • iPhone 7
  • Universal power adapter
  • Earphones
  • Portable charger
  • iPhone splitter (so I can listen to music and charge!)

Thanks to these incredible things called packing cubes, it’s all going in an Osprey Porter 46L bag, and weighs in at about 25 lbs.


Leaving in one week, excited to tune in from stop #1 ➡ Stockholm!



11 thoughts on “Better Get Packing

  1. Emily,
    I am so excited for you and can’t wait to visit you somewhere in 2018. Until then be safe and remember you promised to check in every single day and that means EVERY SINGLE DAY!
    Love you so very much!😘

  2. mon

    Impressive!!! That’s the bag on your back?? Minimalist for the win 👌🏼

    On Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 7:37 PM tedious and brief wrote:

    > Emily posted: “The thought of packing for potentially a year abroad is a > bit daunting at first, but in some ways it might actually be easier than > packing for a normal vacation. My aim has been: 1) pack for about a week > and plan to do laundry often, 2) layers, 3) only pa” >

  3. joxmomcoxnet

    Wow Emily, that is quite an impressive amount of belongings for one backpack! Good luck, enjoy and be safe! I wonder where you got your adventurous spirit?

  4. Bonnie Landini

    I am so excited to follow you on your travels. This is going to be an awesome adventure for you! Be safe….be careful and do as your mom says…..check in EVERDAY!!!

  5. Sue Rittenberg

    It’s a wonderful adventure for you! Can’t wait to hear details! And don’t forget to check in with mom and dad EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!

  6. ewickham003

    I read your list and thought “jeez where’s the kitchen sink??” But then saw the size of the backpack… well done!!

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