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Packing List

Packing List Update: One bag contents after over a year of travel

Packing List Update: One bag contents after over a year of travel

First of all, hiiii!! I'm back in the USA! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends and family who celebrate! Since I am back in New York, I've decided to do an update on my packing list after 14+ months of traveling around the world. I first posted about the contents of my one bag over a year ago. Looking back, it's actually amazing how little the contents changed. I suppose this speaks to how well I did my research before I left! *Patting self on back*

The items that did change are quite interesting. Well, I think they're interesting. Anyway, bear with me as I describe the contents of my bag. What's been added. What's been removed. Then I'll give you a downloadable finalized packing list for long-term world travel. It's in checklist format so you can easily use it to help you prepare for your own trip! Yay!

Eighth month check-in: Volunteering as a foreigner in New Zealand

Eighth month check-in: Volunteering as a foreigner in New Zealand

Two-thirds of a year have already passed since I began traveling around the world. I have been volunteering in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand for over a month now and it’s been awesome! It’s a much different pace than my first 3 months here in which I drove and camped all over the country.

Volunteering has allowed me the opportunity to really connect with the local community, learn about the people’s social concerns, and adapt to the general way of life here. I am enjoying giving back to the local community for a while before I decide to venture off again.

Fifth month check-in: A hilariously ironic reminder of why I’m deviating

Fifth month check-in: A hilariously ironic reminder of why I’m deviating


Five months into my travels and I am on road trip #5 in New Zealand! I road tripped the North Island three times, did some house-sitting in Wellington over the holidays, and then traveled to the south island for a second house-sit. I planned road trip #4 with a German woman around the northern part of the south island. Now I am heading further south, road-tripping with Carolina who I met 5 months ago in Iceland! I’ve mainly been camping as a means to experience the countryside first-hand and save money on accommodation.

After traveling here for over 2 months, I can honestly say I never imagined so much beautiful and diverse landscape in such a condensed space. New Zealand truly has it all: rolling green pastures, monumental glaciers, native tropical forests, pristine sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, snow-covered mountains, active volcanoes, hot springs and pools—the list could go on and on. This is what I came here for. It’s a hiker’s, camper’s, roadtripper’s dream come true. Good thing I’m all three!

How to camp and road-trip New Zealand on a budget

How to camp and road-trip New Zealand on a budget

After 2 months road-tripping and camping around New Zealand, I’ve become a bit of an expert at both.

Many people who come to New Zealand quickly learn they must hit the road with a car and tent or campervan in order to see the native forests, craggy volcanoes, rolling farmlands and gorgeous beaches.

Making this happen in the most economically sound way possible can be a bit daunting. To help out the next traveler, I’ve decided to provide some tips and information about the best ways to obtain a car and camp around New Zealand. Basically, I’m sharing what worked best for me!

Third month check-in (overdue): The best thing I’ve ever done

Third month check-in (overdue): The best thing I’ve ever done

Hello from New Zealand! I am now over 3 months into my year of deviation. I’m a little late with this post because I was on a 2-day overnight hike up a mountain in New Zealand. I know I keep saying it in these updates, but traveling for this long has a funny way of feeling like time flies by and slows down all at once. It’s gone so fast and yet feels like a year has already passed! Countless times I have lost track of the day of the week or date in the month. Just a few days ago, I wrote my next post about my remaining experiences on Ko Toa in Thailand. I woke up the next day and realized, “Whoa, tomorrow is already December 1! Time for an update!” And so I wrote that, too. But then it took 3 days to be around WiFi to post—hence the tardiness.

Second month check-in: Items lost and items added

Second month check-in: Items lost and items added

Is it one month since I last checked in already? Two months ago, I left American soil to travel around the world for a year. And two nights ago, I pulled out my SILK sleeping bag to use at a hostel in Bangkok and was reminded of the first week of my trip—the last time I had used it regularly. At the beginning of September, I spent 6 days traveling Iceland’s Ring Road staying in hostels with a French Canadian and a Swede. The SILK sleeping bag has become a sort of symbol of the first week of my travels around Iceland.

Since then, I have spent 6 weeks traveling all over Germany. I mostly stayed in the lap of luxury—with family and friends who had plenty of linens (and so much generosity!) to spare. Then, after a near-empty, but long flight on Thai Airways from Munich to Bangkok, I treated myself to a nice hotel for two nights. Even for my first week in Thailand living in a bungalow on Ko Tao, I found I didn’t need my sleeping bag—it was too hot for it! I only needed to pull it out again at the hostel in Bangkok. Being brought back full circle to my memories of Iceland seemed proper at 2 months into my journey.

One month check-in: My baggage, body, and brain

One month check-in: My baggage, body, and brain

Whew! What a month!

Today marks one month since I left the United States to embark on my year of traveling the world. I made it to Iceland for a whirlwind journey around the whole country and then flew to Germany 10 days later where I am located at present. Suddenly, time has seemed to go by incredibly fast. In the same breath, I look back astonished at how much I have done in what is actually a very short time.

Here are just some of the things I have already written about doing.

One Bag, One Year: Leaving your baggage behind, literally

One Bag, One Year: Leaving your baggage behind, literally

"Wow. So what do you pack for a year of travel?"

I get this question usually about 5 minutes into telling people about my upcoming trip. For me, part of travel hacking, especially for a long-term trip like the Year of Deviation, involves figuring out how to be as free and flexible as possible. This means unburdening myself from having to carry around lots of heavy luggage.

I laugh at myself looking back at how I used to travel. On a 5-week trip to England a few years ago, I checked an enormous suitcase, had a carry-on suitcase, and a backpack. I thought this was traveling light. But then I recall the checked bag was incredibly cumbersome at about 8lbs over the weight limit when I arrived at the airport. I almost got charged a hefty fee for that monstrosity if it hadn't been for some last minute adjustments.