Final Packing Setup
I couldn’t quite fit everything into my bag that I wanted there and so I was debating about what to sacrifice. The biggest problems I seemed to keep running into was that the shoes I’m taking for the wedding are huge and heavy compared to the rest of my gear. They’re kind of a necessity and I sort of planned on dumping them after the wedding anyway (they’re Scandinavian anyway I think so it’s where they should be buried), so maybe I should just not bring them. But I figured the bride would probably kill me if I wore my dirty hippie sandals to the ceremony. What to do?
I finally decided that I’d just bring a bag of stuff to dump on the trip. I’m not packing up a bunch of things that are bad, it’s just that I have replaced them with newer things so I don’t mind leaving them. I’m considering shipping the whole thing back over to the US from Sweden, depending on the cost. The bag is one I got for free as a door prize. I put my shoes in there along with a white shirt that I don’t wear much anymore and the suit that I’m done with. And I shoved a bunch of candy in there, too. I had extra room.
With the shoes gone, I’ve got a ton more room in my bag. It is only about 2300 cubic inches (~37 liters) anyway and the shoes probably took up about 1/4 of that. Now all my essentials fit quite nicely in my DaKine Day Tripper that I had laying around from when I lived in Colorado.
- Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, washcloth, towel
- Emergency Supplies: flashlight, first-aid kit, emergency blanket, twisty ties, plastic bags
- 1 pair black pants
- 1 pair zip-off khaki pants (double as swim shorts)
- 1 pair cotton shorts
- 5 pairs Ex-Officio underwear (clean)
- 1 Greene Turtle t-shirt
- 1 Coca-Cola t-shirt
- 1 long-sleeve shirt
- 1 black belt (so I can tell people I know Karate)
- 1 Dell 700m Laptop (packed in a silicon bag from a fancy clothing store)
- 2 small mesh clothing bags
- 3 general reading books
- 1 travel book
- 1 Casio Exilim EX-V8 camera
- 1 old cellphone that works in Europe
I did a few modifications to my gear, as well. First, I have attached to my pack a digital clock and thermometer as well as a bottle opener for the delicious European beverages. I attached the top part of my Osprey Aether bag to it – sure hope that doesn’t get lost or stolen. I also modified my travel book by taking only the parts that I wanted.
I bought a thick book on Eastern Europe back when I wasn’t sure where I was going to go on the trip. That doesn’t suit my purposes now; I’ll only be going to a few of the countries included. Luckily, the book was one of those that sticks all of the pages directly to the back binder with glue. So it’s easy to take it apart. Just bend the pages back until the front and back cover touch, exposing the glue, then use a knife to cut a straight line through the glue. Turn the book over to the binding side and slice where it’s bent. The book pretty much falls apart at that point, exactly where you want it to. If you’re trying to take a smaller section out, you can try the same approach, but you might end up with just a bunch of loose pages. Just staple those together and you’ll be good to go. I recommend putting all of the sections in a plastic bag to protect from the elements. To check out these modifications, check out this flickr set.
Some notable things that I’m not bringing are my Canon S3-IS, MacBook Pro, iPod, Shure headphones and iPhone. All of these things are expensive, add weight, and I’d be upset if I lost them. So why risk taking them? Sure I’ll be giving up some conveniences, but I figure it’ll give me a better chance of connecting with my surroundings rather than hiding from them. In the end I’ll appreciate the immersion more than the temporary respite.