Packing 101

I am gearing up for a one month backpacking trip through Europe! I leave in five days and I haven't given much thought to packing yet. This isn't my first long trip through Europe, nor is it my longest so I'm actually not worried about packing at all. In fact, I've made plenty of packing mistakes in the past so I feel super ready to never make those same mistakes again. At this point I'm kind of a pro - which is why I am sharing my do's and don'ts of packing for long trips!

 Montserrat, Spain 2013

Montserrat, Spain 2013

Do:

  • Check the Weather:

Get a solid idea of what weather you should expect in each place you're going to. This will help you avoid having clothes you never end up wearing. But also - pack layers in case the weather changes unexpectedly. 

  • Take Only a Backpack:

I took a three month trip to Europe a few years back and made the gravest rookie mistake of all time. I took a giant suitcase. It was the biggest hassle and such a pain to carry up and down steps ALL. The. Time. After a particularly long day partying in Croatia, I went to leave my hotel in this beautiful, old, but very lively area with super worn down stone steps wearing my favourite combat boots. I got about one step down carrying my giant suitcase before I slipped on the slick, worn stone steps and landed right on my tailbone catching the giant 50 pound bag in my lap... in front of several outdoor restaurants and tons of tourists.  You don't need more than a backpack's worth of stuff. And trust me, you really really don't want more than a backpack. I promise. 

  • Leave Some Space in your Case. 

Don't take a case, definitely take a backpack - but backpack doesn't rhyme with space. Leave room for things you'll want to buy. My last trip I started out all fine and dandy with my backpack...until I had to buy a second backpack to wear on my chest because I couldn't fit all of my new stuff. You already know you're going to want to buy things. I would definitely try not to buy too many things in each spot but leave a little room in case there's anything you really love or want to buy for people back home. 

 Cliffs of Moher, Ireland 2015

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland 2015

Don't:

  • Don't Forget an Adapter!

It's so much easier to get the adapters you need while at home than it is to have to go find them while traveling. Check to see if different countries you're going to require different adapters. For example, the UK uses different electrical outlets than the rest of Europe so you'll need both. There are also universal adapters which are super clutch. 

  • Don't Take Appliances!

 For starters, you don't really need them. I've brought hair straighteners and curling irons with me before and didn't even realize that they didn't work until weeks into the trip. Because I never even tried to use them. Oh and also reason number two why you shouldn't take them is they won't work. Sorry. Let your hair go au naturale for your trip. Many AirBnB's also have hair dryers anyway so if you really must use one you can probably find one where you're staying. 

  • Don't Sweat It!

Other than your passport, you can pretty much buy anything wherever you're going. If you forget toothpaste it'll be okay, they brush their teeth in other countries too. If you're taking trains everywhere, it may even make more sense for you to buy full size toiletries once you arrive, rather than buying mini ones to take on the plane and then just having to buy more once they run out. 

 

 Sevilla, 2013

Sevilla, 2013

inspiration.

Sometimes it's good to remember that inspiration comes with preparation. When I have no inspiration, if I push myself to at least set up my space- whether that means setting up my easel and putting everything into place and mixing paint, or making tea and getting a notebook and my laptop ready for writing - the simple act of setting up my space creates the right mood for inspiration to come join me where I am.

Sometimes you just have to start. Light a candle. Make it special. Dress a certain way to prepare yourself for it. Put on music that inspires you. 

When I was younger, if I so much as painted  my nails I would get struck with ideas for a new painting. If I tried to do homework, simply holding a pen or pencil made me want to sketch. But I think as we get older and we get more responsibilities, we become less inspired because it feels like there isn't enough time for creativity. Of course that's not true. Creativity fuels you. Creating can give you energy to do everything else you do with just a  little bit more joy. 

Let inspiration hit you. And if it doesn't, seek it out. Create space for it. Tell the universe " I'm ready". And let inspiration meet you where you are