My Other Four Mistakes While Living out of a Backpack for 5 weeks
Apologies on the shoe tirade. I actually meant to write a post just on the 5 mistakes. Somehow it grew into a monster on the folly of shoes. Ever will I strive to redeem myself in a shorter article on my other four mistakes. There were admittedly a few more “inconveniences”, things I would do differently if say I was to live out of a backpack indefinitely. Since that is not currently in my life plan I won’t bother with boring details.
Apologies for the poor quality, but these are the H&M striped shoes that saved me!
Yes, everyone, every blog, even french youtubers themselves warned of the lack of washcloths in Europe. Having traveled before this was dismissed as bearable and not too important, a minimalist detail one could survive without. Survive? Yes. Thrive? No. After 2 weeks it was annoying not being able to scrub my skin and difficult to shave. After 4 weeks, I gave up on shaving and embraced the layer of sunscreen/sweat that became my eau de toilette. After 5 weeks, I dreamed of my loofah and was happy for the extra layer of body hair to keep me warm in Denmark. Most happily, did I take the longest shower ever, once I got home. Lesson learned. REI’s mini multi towel is on my list for next time I travel anywhere that is not in a hotel or anywhere in Europe or the Middle East.
Doesn’t seem like a big deal does it? I know I didn’t treat it as such. I did pack some in a small tube, maybe about 1 ounce worth. I sincerely thought it would last for whole trip. Nope, gave out 2 weeks and 2 days in. Again, I didn’t see it as such a big deal, I was wearing sunscreen every day anyways. Well, facial moisturizer and sunscreen work very differently on your face. I started to break out and my skin seemed like it was always dry. I think I have fixed this problem pretty easily in both my regular life and for future travel. I bought a nice neutrogena facial moisturizer with spf 35. 2-1, multipurpose, the minimalist way. Next time the entire 3 ounce bottle goes with me.
I may have briefly mentioned in my post Backpack vs. Messenger Bag, that even though I did all kinds of research and bought a travelon backpack as my daypack, I ended up using a Eddie Bauer packable tote for most of my daypack needs. I mostly used the backpack when I was in Denmark/Germany/Sweden. I used it one day in Paris and like 2 times in Israel. The biggest disappointment in using it is when it was packed away in my Osprey Porter 30 on travel days, it fully took up ⅓ of the available space. It made the bag fuller, heavier and seemed like I had brought more than was in there. The bag itself was thick, cumbersome, had all these clever zippers for keeping out pickpockets which I did not need, but made it difficult for me to get things out. Lastly, I felt like tourist using it. It was a waste of space and money. Selling it on poshmark was the first thing I did once I got home (after that long shower).
The Pink Shirt/A Third Shirt
At the last minute I added a 3rd shirt to my travel bag, it was a polyester blend thing from Kohls, a store which I never shop at and never will again. It did not match my color scheme and it was “untested”. Untested is a term I like to use when something hasn’t been worn or used before. For the record I NEVER take untested items with me traveling, for some reason I took this anyway. I don’t know if it was while I was panicking the night before or worrying the next morning, but it was there. I wore it twice. It had no flexibility or give, the color was not great on me and after washing it it looked like it had been stored for 20 years in a ball. I air dried it, washed it in cold, but it came out all misshapen (I did follow the tag’s laundry instructions). I sent it home with the bf after my first 2 weeks and brought it back to kohl’s when I came back. I will say this for kohl’s I explained everything that had happened, I still had the receipt and tags and they took it back no problem.
Taking a third shirt is a must. After wearing the pink one twice I had only my black a gray one to switch back and forth with, it worked out fine, just wore them every other day. After 2 and a half weeks, my brother’s girlfriend took me to a store for a pair of shorts (we were swimming in the dead sea and doing some hiking, rolled jeans were just not great for that, and I used them to sleep in instead of my yoga pants after I got them). While we were there (shorts were $4) they had shelf of just basic v-neck tees. Deciding to pick up 2, since I was sweating a lot in Israel and doing laundry every night was annoying, I grabbed a purple and olive tee. These were colors that would match every else I had with me. When I woke up the next morning and realized there were 4 shirts to choose from I practically wept with joy. Ironically, when I got back to the US I got rid of the gray and black tee, but I still have the purple and olive, they just got incorporated with my 4 shirts at home into the regular rotation. At $3 a pop, totally worth it!