Our life now fits into three large backpacks and three smaller backpacks.
It’s both stressful and liberating.
We have to be vigilant about keeping track of our stuff, but having less stuff is rather calming and makes life simpler.
Honestly, packing for this trip was easier than expected as a little pre-planning went a long way.
We started a list, organized by person and bag, months ago. We also kept a laundry basket in the basement and used it to store things we bought for the trip or that we knew we needed to bring.
We packed up our house (we’re renting it out for a year) and toward the end, what was left in the house was mostly just what was coming with us.
When it was time to actually get the bags ready, we had a detailed list and much of the stuff we needed to pack was in or around that laundry basket. It was just a matter of putting it all in the backpacks.
Thankfully, it all fit with a bit of room to spare!
What's in our bags?
Each of us has the basics:
For electronics we have:
Other things we’re carrying include:
LJ also has a few things to keep her busy:
A couple things to note…
We’re sticking with warmer climates, so we’ve mostly packed summer clothes. Each of us has a raincoat, a sweater and a pair of pants if things get a bit chilly. I also brought a tuque because I’m often ridiculously cold.
Our personal pharmacy takes up quite a bit of room. In addition to having a small first aid kit, we wanted to make sure we had some basic medications (e.g. Reactine and Benadryl for allergies, adult and kids Tylenol, etc.) on hand. We’re also not completely certain of our itinerary, so we’re carrying a few months worth of Malaria pills for each of us.
I read on my Kobo but L and LJ prefer print. They each carry a book and we leave it and replace it when it’s finished.
For LJ’s school books, we rip out the pages when they’re complete, so they'll get smaller as we go.
Europe has some strict car seat laws so even though LJ is 8, we needed to bring a booster seat. Carting around a booster was not something we were keen to do so we picked up a mifold Booster Seat at Canadian Tire. It’s a belt positioner rather than a booster that fits easily into a backpack.
We brought a small fire/carbon monoxide detector as these things aren’t always a given in an Airbnb or rental apartment.
When we run out of a toiletry item we’ll just buy more, having resigned ourselves to not using our favourite brands.
If LJ outgrows something, we’ll replace it. She already needed new sandals.
We have an Big Agnes Insulated Air Corp Sleeping Pad because sometimes other beds do a number on L’s back. It can also reduce costs by allowing us to book a smaller place with just one bed, as we can put LJ on the floor. The thing is very compact and comfortable!
What about souvenirs?
We'll greatly limit what we buy. LJ gets a patch from each country to sew on her backpack. She’ll also likely get a few soccer jerseys during the year but these fold up small and will replace clothes she outgrows or wears out.
She has money and continues to get an allowance but we're encouraging her to use it for experiences, edible treats or small consumables like a special pen, postcards to send to friends, etc. If she wants a new toy down the road, she’ll likely have to give something away.
Did we forget anything?
One month into our trip and we haven’t seemed to have forgotten anything; although, we did lose something during Week 2. We left LJ's ukulele on a train at Kings Cross Station in London, but it was found and will be with us again soon. We also ended up buying a sort of lunch box container as LJ needed something for soccer camp and we often pack a picnic when we’re out and about.
Right now, we’re in Europe and staying in a fully furnished apartment or with friends so we haven’t needed much. But I suspect we’ll gather other useful odds and ends as we go, especially once we leave the continent. For example, I forsee a lighweight blanket and perhaps some mosqito nets in our future...
Speaking of Europe...A Quick update...We’re currently in Belgium and loving it!