Well here I am, a little over 24 hours before I leave on another epic journey out in the world. It’s been just about 4 years since my last big trip through Europe. This one won’t be quite as epic in that I’m gone for less than half as long, but I’m as excited as ever. Actually I’m feeling a mix of different emotions at this point. I’m feeling excited and anxious to be on my way, but also that nervous feeling of “did I forget something?” I’m pretty sure I haven’t.
It really doesn’t seem like 4 years since I backpacked Europe, it’s still very fresh in my mind, and the last 3 years have kind of flown by much faster than normal. Without life being punctuated by grand trips or the big changes of each school quarters starting and ending; I guess things blend together more. Either way I’ve needed this trip. It’s that wanderlust imparted to me by my parents when they took me sailing halfway around the world. But also I could sure use a vacation.
This time around I’ve had a little bit of drama with my pack. I stupidly didn’t do a test pack until really late, and when I did I found that my 50L pack that was barely big enough last time really wasn’t big enough this time. Partly because I have more stuff to carry, but also partly because of the clothes I’m bringing; fewer shorts and no khakis and mostly jeans which take up more room. Go figure. So I fast tracked an 80L pack through Amazon in time for the trip, but the pack doesn’t have much webbing or hooks on the outside. After I had ordered that pack I found another one that seemed better, a 75+10L with a detachable rucksack described and much more webbing and straps through Amazon Prime. I decided it was worth getting one I preferred at that price, but when the package arrived today I found it wasn’t what I ordered! Amazon needs me to return it for a refund, so I’m stuck with the 80L pack for this trip, though in fact it’s not a bad size for what I’m bringing, allowing me to pack my tripod inside the pack.
I learned a lot over my last 2 backpacking trips on what to bring and what not to. Like nail clippers. Who knew right? 3 weeks out and without them you’ll be gnawing on your paw. Actually the clippers I’m packing are the very ones I bought in France my last go around. By the time this trip is done, they’ll have traveled enough distance to have completely circled the world. As you can see from the images there is quite a lot of stuff to bring. A swimsuit, 5 changes of clothes, socks, towels, toiletries, etc. You might notice some odd things in there though, like a roll of toilet paper just in case, and a trashbag to help separate dirty clothes from clean ones. Plus I’m bringing an SLR with 3 lenses, along with a netbook. I’m also bringing my trusty point and shoot if I need a quick shot. I intend to carry on the netbook and the camera gear, but later pack away the netbook inside the pack. The camera backpack will be secured to the large one at 4 points so not much chance of it being dropped or snagged easily, and hopefully most times I’ll be able to leave the big pack in the room and just bring the camera and the tripod. My passport and paperwork will reside with the netbook, with some additional paperwork in the big pack. A copy of my passport in my wallet as well. As an extra bit of preparedness I have all relevant paperwork from my passport, to visas, to flight info, to even my immunization record online in the cloud so even if I lose everything or need new copies I can get to them from any net cafe.