You’ve read the reviews. You’ve polled your FaceBook friends for recommendations. You’ve liked the posts on Instagram. You’ve flipped through your Lonely Planet manual. It’s official – it’s on the list of “must dos” for the trip! But then, after you’ve spent the time, money, and energy getting there, a haunting question creeps into your mind… “Was it worth it?!”
A carry-on & tote bag for two weeks in Italy!
Packing is one of my least favorite parts of any trip. I used to dislike it so much that I would have anxiety attacks and lash out at loved ones who got caught in my path. I am much better now – thank goodness – but much of that is due to the creation of a go-to packing list.
I first established this list in preparation for my Australia adventure. Prior to the list, I tried a few other methods that were no where near efficient. For my Italy trip, I downloaded an app that would help you plan out your outfits. In order to use it correctly though, you had to take pictures of individual wardrobe items in your closet, crop and save them in the app. It reminded me of paper dolls and Cher’s polaroid routine from Clueless. All in all, it was too much effort. I will say, however, I was quite proud of my packing for that trip!
By the time Australia rolled around, I needed a solid plan. I would be traveling for about a year and I did not want to check a bag. Checking bags is the worst! I hate the fees and I hate waiting for bags, hoping yours didn’t end up on another flight. No thanks, I’ll bring a carry-on. But carry-ons require smart planning.
Below is my go-to list that I use for each trip. Of course, depending on where I’m heading and the length of time I will be there, I modify this list. Bare in mind this was created for a year’s worth of travel, the country where I was headed is mostly warm weather, and there was the potential for work, too. Overall, most of my trips are to somewhere warm or with mild winters so my list continues to prove useful.
Stability is a part of life that we often don’t realize we need until it is stripped away, whether by choice or circumstance. When we lack stability, we are often in search of it again. The art of traveling is, at its core, the opposite of stability, and yet, even while on the road, we still crave it.
Lake Matheson reflection pool with views of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman
In my opinion, the South Island is significantly more stunning than the North. With the Sounds, Fjords, and Southern Alps, the natural beauty of the South Island cannot be paralleled. Beauty aside, my ten days in the South Island was filled with hits and misses. While I had perfect weather every day, a handful of my desired activities were cancelled for various reasons. I had to chock that up to the ebbs and flows of travel…plus, I was in NEW ZEALAND. I really couldn’t complain.
As a newbie to the wonderful world of travel, I will be the first to admit that my knowledge of countries around the world is limited; New Zealand is no exception. I booked my trip two months prior to my departure date, selecting a one-week stint before returning back to Australia. One week! I am embarrassed now to admit it. This is how little I knew.
No sickness can keep me from embracing UK stereotypes of Australians!
“I think the Gators made me sick,” I told my new friend. “Sorry – who are the Gators?” Ugh. Sometimes it’s difficult living abroad. For one, your new friends are not usually the kind of friends you can share the typical banter from home. These new friends also come with a new set of international germs and with that, the possibility of becoming ill. I have lived in Sydney for a month now and have been sick twice within that month. Illness is another difficulty while living abroad. Without your typical routines, eating habits, germs, and doctors around, it can be challenging to know what to do when sickness strikes.
This Wednesday marks three weeks in Oz! I’ve explored much of Sydney, viewing the city through the eyes of a tourist, and am now transitioning into life as a temporary citizen. There’s a lot to sort out including a bank account, tax number, employment, and apartment. I’ve been chipping away at the list each day.