What’s in My Backpack – After 6 months of full time travel

If you are a traveler I’m sure that you relate to the nightmare that is packing. What to take? what to leave? What if I forget something?? Over six months of travel I have gained a little experience on what is absolutly necessary to bring and what I’m able to live without. I hope you find these tips helpful when packing for your own adventure.


In reality you really only need about half of the gear you think you need. Really, and this is coming from a 16-year-old girl. My backpack weighs a whopping  6-8 kilos, sometimes less depending on the airline carry on restrictions of the month. Right now we are traveling by train so it weighs a solid 8 kilos (17 pounds).

Generally for packing clothing I try to follow the rule of 3’s. Three types of each clothing. Wear one, wash one, dry one. The pros are that my backpack is super light and I never have to do much laundry. The cons are I need to wear things more than once and fashion is not of top priority.

Remember that travelling light is a process of elimination that takes a while. Six months ago I had around 40% more stuff than I do now. I originally had around twice as much clothing. I later discovered that I wear nearly the same thing everyday. And if necessary nearly all of this can be found abroad.

Here is all the stuff I carry:

4 shirts: 1 tank top, 2 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve.

4 pairs of pants: 1 athletic short, 1 pair of jeans, 1 lightweight pants (picked a pair of these up in Thailand for 2 bucks to go into temples. I highly recommend getting a pair on site), 1 pair of warm leggings

3 pairs of socks, some undies, two bras

1 zip up sweat shirt

2 pairs of shoes: one teva sandles, one pair of running shoes

1 swimsuit

1 small towel: can be used as a pillow or blanket

1 enu nest hammock: Awesome for south/central America where hammock hanging hooks are built into many houses. 

1 inflatable sleeping pad

1 extra sheet and pillow case

Notebook and pens

toiletries: chapstick, toothbrush, toothpaste, sunblock, deodorant, small multipurpose soap (works as soap, detergent, shampoo…ect.), comb, razors, emergency tampons (an essential to carry in SE Asia where they are nearly impossible to find).

Other: headphones, passport, earplugs, emergency toilet paper (essential), poncho, nalgene water bottle, sunglasses, fan, assorted plastic bags (for laundry,camera protection in a rainstorm, trash, ect.)

basic first aid kit: ibuprofen, Benadryl, band aids, iodine, deet, wrap, gauze, aloe, super glue

electronics: chromebook laptop, Nikon DSLR (and case), fujifilm waterproof camera (and case), phone (no service so just works as an iPod), assorted chargers and cords, lens cleaner.

My packing list is in no way perfect… there are somethings that I wish I had brought including…

a rain jacket: or any lightweight jacket.

a scarf: to cover the shoulders in more conservative countries.

a sarong: this one has sooo many uses

a skirt/ dress: It would have been nice to have something that is remotely fancier than say jeans or athletic shorts.

Happy travels XX -Iz



London and thoughts

It was a crazy travel week, but I finally got around to writing about leaving Mexico.

After spending a day packing our bags (to six kilos… Thomas Cook’s carry-on restrictions are tiny), a ten hour flight, and two hours of sleep, we arrived at London Gatwick Airport at 8:00 AM on Tuesday. The jet lag was brutal as it was 1:00 AM our time.


By 9:00 we were en route to Victoria Station, in the center of the city.  We had a quick, healthy breakfast and some coffee at a chain cafe called EAT. Around ten we began our self guided eight mile tour of the city. I saw the Buckinham Place (and a double decker bus), ran though the Green Park (it was freezing), and took some pictures in telephone booths at the Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. You know, the touristy stuff. The London Eye had a line for hours so instead we took a free CPR class from some on-strike British med students. Unfortunately, Google maps led us to the wrong London Bridge, but we saw it from afar. The end of our walk was the Liverpool station, and at 2:30 we took the train to Rayan Airport where our next flight would take us to Zadar, Croatia for two weeks.




Had we had more time we would have explored more, been a bit more relaxed, and gone to museums, but I think that in four hours we saw much of what tourists see on week long vacations. I hope to come back in the future ( maybe when the pound is a bit kinder to the dollar) to England to stay for longer and see more of the country.

Also, thoughts on the terror threat at the moment:

Right now, like many other European countries, the terror threat of the UK is at severe. Most travel websites would advise against traveling to London because the chance of a terror attack is ‘inevitable’. So should this stop you from travelling to the area? I don’t think so. In London people seemed to be just going about their daily lives. They are aware of the threat but they can’t and don’t let it control their lives. We went to all of the places that are considered targets of terrorism (tourist sites and large subway stations) and tried to be alert – but not afraid. Terrorism is a scary thought, and to be afraid and to have fear stop you from doing something is go give the terrorists what they want. It’s important to keep fears in perspective, few people are afraid to get in their cars yet over a million people die in car crashes every year. Many however are afraid of planes. If you do travel be alert, don’t get caught up or trapped in a large crowd or protest. The police force is everywhere so report anything that feels suspicious and most importantly trust your instincts and use common sense.

Thanks for reading 🙂 safe travels! Comments are really appreciated so feel free to leave one if you’d like 🙂 – Izzy

Life as I knew it

Up until a couple weeks ago I would be considered your average teenager. Stressed about school and the upcoming finals week, hanging out with my friends on the daily, and constantly coming up with creative new ways to procrastinate on doing my homework . You know the drill. Then my family has the wild idea to backpack around the world. This was quite a dramatic life change as after living in Colorado for almost eight years I had just began to think I had found my place. I had great friends, I was doing well in school, and I actually could see my life following a very similar path to most people in today’s world. High school, college, work, retirement, and then eventually my inevitable death. Realization that my passion for traveling and photography would never be used in the usual nine to five workplace came later. So I agreed. My life is now a constant adventure, far from the societal norm. Do I have any idea where I will be five years from know? No, but that’s part of the fun.