40 Days, 7 Countries, 1 Carry-On, Unlimited Possibilities: Part One

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As many of you know, I will be doing a bit of traveling this summer. My journey will begin in Amsterdam a week from today and though I’m really excited about both the academic and personal adventures that are to come, I’m also a little nervous. :/ Even though I studied abroad for a year in Europe, this trip is sure to be very different. For one thing, I’m going to be bouncing around from city to city with no real home base for most of the trip. Aside from two and a half weeks in Amsterdam for my course and one week in Paris for research, everything else will be a blur of airports, budget airlines, and Air BnBs. Because of all this unavoidable craziness, I made a decision a few months ago to do my entire trip with just one carry-on size backpack. Yeah, you read that right. Just one carry-on for five weeks. For all of you worldly light packers out there, this might not sound significant. I know that a lot of people travel abroad for months and months with just one backpack and get into far messier adventures than I probably will and have no problem living minimally and soaking up the experience but…..I’m not one of those people, or at least I haven’t been up until this point. I still have nightmares about some of my airport experiences from my first time in Europe, many of which were exacerbated by my overpacking. For those of you have had the pleasure of dealing with budget airlines in Europe, you’re aware of how strict the regulations are for these flights. They actually make you put your luggage in those little sizers. How rude. I even remember that on my way to Barcelona, there was a sizer that was also a scale to be sure that it fit both criteria. So much anxiety. My plan for this trip is to avoid all that drama. Because I’m not ballin out of control, I will again be taking advantage of budget flights during this trip but I’m hoping that my second time at the rodeo will go a lot smoother…

Since I made the decision to go light on this trip, I’ve been doing my research to figure out how to pull this thing off. After doing research, I got to do the fun part: shopping. I know, it’s ironic that I’m spending money of new things in order to save on budget flights BUT the few items that I had to buy cost less than paying for luggage and I can use them again for future travels (of which there shall be planety!). I started this summer off with the search for the perfect bag. I decided I wanted a backpack for easy carrying and also for its malleability, which might come in handy when squishing it into sizers. Excuse my terrible quality photos. I took these at night so the flash is a little extra, especially on the show pictures. My apologies.

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I settled on this baby from ebags.com along with these packing cubes (people say that they work miracles or packing luggage. I’ll report back). Obviously, I haven’t put it to the test yet but it had awesome reviews on the website and with the promo that they were running when I bought it, it only ended up costing me about $77. This is so great considering the bags that I was initially considering ranged in cost from $150-200. So now that I have the bag, the work has been trying to figure out what in the world to put in it…

First up, shoes. (Naturally)

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I decided to take three pairs of shoes, that would be versatile and comfortable. My original game plan was to buy a pair of Croc flats… I know, I know….but you can’t beat them for comfort! Since my foot injury, however (did I tell you guys about that? Yeah, I have a fracture and I have to wear a wrap and use shoe inserts. And I can’t run. Womp womp.), I decided that I’m going to just take my trusty Dr. Scholls ballerina flats. I’ve had these for a few months and they’re super comfy and work well with a variety of outfits. Are they super chic? No. But I can put my inserts in them and they’re not completely hideous…..right??

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My second part is an Nike athletic/running shoe. I was originally planning to bring my serious Brookes running shoes as I had grandiose plans of running Europe but since it looks like that won’t happen, I’ll just have to tear up some body weight work and yoga along the canals of Amsterdam and the on the beaches of Santorini. Not a terrible workout regiment to settle for for which to settle.

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And last but not least, my versatile sandal/fancy shoe. This is the only shoe that I actually ended up purchasing for my trip and is in some ways, the most important. I wanted a cute sandal that could be worn for a nice day out but also not look silly in a bar/club setting since I obviously I am not packing heels. I settled upon this one, which I got from Nordstrom Rack. A little pricier than I would have ideally wanted but I love them. They’re Cole Haan so they’re super comfy. I’ve worn them a couple of times in Chicago and they don’t disappoint. Great addition to the show collection.

So I’m going to end this point here because it’s getting lengthy. I’m planning to solidify my clothing list over the next couple of days as well as plan all of my toiletries and post with items that finally made the cut before finally starting to pack. I’m sure it’ll be an experiencing worth documenting.

A la prochaine!



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