When/Where/Why/Duration: May, All of Spain / bit of S. France, Honeymoon, 25 days
MYOG onebag pack
large packing cube
toiletries pouch used for tech
rectangle zipper pouch (shoe bag + grocery bag / trash bag / etc)
synthetic produce bag (socks and underwear, then utility item for grocery shopping)
clear plastic toiletries bag w zipper
Onebag design reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/onebag/comments/9fex4q/i_designed_made_my_own_onebag_pack_122oz_album/
1x pants (cotton, stretch)
2x shorts (synthetic, one pair formal-ish, one less / bathsuit / hiking)
1x long sleeve buttondown (cotton oxford)
1x long sleeve sun shirt w hood (synthetic)
2x short sleeve button (synthetic)
1x short sleeve crew (cotton/synthetic blend)
3x underwear (synthetic)
3x socks (1 below ankle, 1 ankle, 1 dress // wool or cotton)
1x puffy (under 6oz)
1x hiking sandals (bedrock)
1x canvas shoes
1x buff (synthetic)
1x canvas belt, metal buckle
Shampoo bar (inside a cotton cinch bag)
Small scissors w rounded ends
Good face sunscreen
2x quart ziplock (1 Kindle @ beach / 1 wetbag)
eReader (kindle paperwhite)
Phone (samsung s10)
Laptop (acer swift x)
Smartwatch (ticwatch pro 3 gps) + cable (not pictured)
Handleheld camera w/ MYOG case
10k mAh Battery
6′ usb-c cable
Short all-in-one adapter cable
USD-C to HDMI adapter
Travel adapter (moga ma4-b)
65w GaN charger – 2x usb-c 1x usb-a
USA drivers license
Printed photocopy of all the above
Carbon fiber wallet clip
1x schwab debit card
2x zero fee int credit cards (CSR/united)
mini S-carabiner that locks
1L collapsible water bottle (vapur)
Buy it there: razors, body sunscreen
Weight at airport: 5.4kilo
Fancy up to 1-star michellin restaurants
Walk 5-10+mi / day
Healthy hiking (sun protection) in Pyrenees
Don’t look stupid
Stuff I’ll change for next time:
-RX100V: should upgrade to better phone than s10, video not gonna be on point but I’m doing more video ‘documentation’ than video ‘photography’. Still enjoy lugging this 11oz behemoth (/s) on long backpacking trips and road trips. I keep forgetting to bring the extra camera in my EDC and would prefer to shoot 15 second ‘snapshots’ of stuff (mostly flowers and sounds to be honest) while walking. [Update: purchased Pixel 6 Pro]
– 1x underwear & -underwear bag: I don’t mind the routine of sink laundry here and didn’t use the lengthy pair for sports. Had laundry in most airbnb’s.
-Dress socks + ankle darn tough socks: can do a small pants roll and below-ankle socks to look hip.
+Below ankle socks: need to find a thicker pair because durability is trash here, even using darn tough socks.
-Cotton/synthetic short sleeve: could use the long sleeve for exercise as its highly stretchy and saved an item of clothing.
– Belt: just didn’t need it / don’t normally wear a belt in general.
Stuff I could’ve changed but meh:
-Laptop -mouse: glad to have brought it for the time I spent on this post, a few small travel planning details, and testing out a lighter remote work setup, but they were not necessary. Still a bring on most trips.
-Battery: I’m fairly good at keeping my phone topped up at the airbnb (fast charge is amazing) and know how to change settings to eek out incredible battery life; wife used this exclusively because she didn’t bring a long enough iphone cable. [further solved by pixel 6 pro battery life]
– Kindle: just didn’t use it enough to justify the weight. I did all the driving this trip and listened to audiobooks via Libby (USA library app). Enjoyed Ancillary Sword and am into Ancillary Mercy, great trilogy. On the occasion I was reading (at the beach) my phone would be good enough. Overall, this is a tough call, and again I could’ve gone either way. I enjoy it in the middle of nowhere while car camping.
-Buff + silk eyemask: in hotter climates, the buff is a bit warm as an eyemask at night and is a bit snug on my dinosaur head. Overall it wasn’t useful this trip. If I had traversed much colder environments, I would’ve really enjoyed the added warmth.
+ Normal sized deodorant: will have used up the whole travel one I brought; longer trips would require a new one.
-Puffy +Wind shell: weight wise, not a big difference, so really a function of packability. The puffy has sat in the trunk of the rental car since Northern Spain/Southern France. Arguable the puffy is much better for a makeshift pillow on my flight to/from so really a toss up here. I think for a permanent / larger climate variety setup, the puffy is the right call.
+-Shoes: Will look for some different shoes next time, black with better padding for longer walking days. I enjoy minimalist shoes without inserts but did enough walking that cushion would’ve helped. A smart pair of nikes or van’s are in right now (2022, western europe).
(New) Gear Highlights:
– I enjoyed the shampoo bar more than expected [10/10]
– Mogics M1A travel adapter didn’t work in france 🙁 Otherwise incredibly light, makes my gear modular [8/10]
– Vapur water bottle was incredible for volume savings [10/10]
– USBC to HDMI adapter (requires usbc lightning cable) was awesome for displaying stuff on TVs — like a mini chromecast [10/10]
Notes on strategy:
– Pack your bag with the bulkiest items inside (pants, long sleeve, puffy) to ensure you actually have the right volume of space. My bag is 75% full on flights/cold climates, 100% full in hot climates.
– Pants + long sleeve + jacket at night, one formal outfit
– Laundry @ airbnb’s + sink for socks & underwear every other day
– Ask locals (baristas, waiters, friendly pedestrians) what local things they love. If you eat great food, ask waiter or chef for next recommendation.
– Take lots of breaks. Picnics in local parks. Reading in cafes. Siestas/naps. Never rush to get food either (I can go hungry), always avoid restaurants close to tourist attractions.
– Nothing is “must do” so pick what you love (for me: food, tea houses, architecture, local history, modern art museums, hiking)
– Offer to take photos when someone is taking a photo of a friend/loved one so I can make a connection, practice a language, and ask about the best spots (e.g. a husband is taking a pic of wife, I offer to take a pic of both of them). Good for the heart.
– Weigh your stuff and make your stuff so it works exactly like you want it. Check our r/MYOG for inspiration (disclaimer: am a mod/shill).
– Multipurpose everything. Buff is eyemask, sweatband, neck warmer, beanie, etc.
– “Travel” pants have never worked for me. Cotton is fine. If you ruin your clothing, just buy new clothing. People over-do it with the “travel fabric” stuff, imo. Everything is replaceable in your locale minus medication. Don’t treat clothing differently from home vs travel.
– Know what you overpack and bring less. Before you leave, if you’re concerned, research where to buy the thing you think you’ll be missing, down to the pin on google maps. Have a “what if” plan if you have anxiety about XYZ. Ultralight backpacking has taught me I can always find a solution; having an actual city to utilize makes under-packing-anxiety a joke.
– It’s cool to totally change your plan for the day/week/city/country. But go into the trip with an idea of things you want to do OR have a method for finding those things quickly. Better to do flash-research beforehand so you can purchase necessary tickets and avoid getting skunked on the locations you really do want to experience. My method is to very quickly skim wikitravel under the “Do” section.
– A complete day of being inside an apartment reading, working, recovering, etc is still valid travel. Don’t let anyone shame you or build expectations for yourself (including yourself). Sometimes you do need to push through discomfort to go get after it but if you do that sufficiently, trust your instincts when you need a break. Being “on” and “experiencing” all the time is exhausting, esp for introverts like me.
– Take time to reflect on life at home; use the trip as a reset. Take action while traveling to push yourself into new opportunities at home when you’re in an adventurous and excited state. Have your travel energy mesh and mix into your at home energy when you return.
– Spend less at home so you can spend more abroad. I cannot say I remember many meals from my home city but I could talk your ear off about the roasted rabbit I had in the South of France 14 years ago. Likewise, don’t let your frugal habits at home dissuade you from living it up abroad/while traveling, especially when you’re getting the advantage of cheaper prices for similar if not better goods and services.
– If you enjoyed the food or drink or atmosphere at a certain location, go back. I ate pho from a family’s front yard in Da Nang three days in a row because it was incredible — they didn’t sell pho, they literally invited us to eat and we just wouldn’t leave without paying them. I remember that mom’s face and laughing with her kids. Even a connection for two days in a row creates “a home” away from home and on long trips (or when living abroad), that can be a great way to mitigate the feeling of overwhelm, exhaustion, homesickness, etc.
Draft 1 written 7 days into 25 days of my trip from the first story apartment in the center town square of Old Town in San Sebastian. Updated after return. Photo from top of Funicular overlooking the bay.