Getting Started

Getting ready to travel long-term is a daunting task. Thankfully I found some travel blogs with excellent checklists, suggestions, and helpful info (see Blogs I Follow).

After all was said and done, I downsized my belongings to my road bike, 12 bins, and a few small odds and ends. Thanks mom & dad for storing my stuff!


So after that came the task of deciding what to pack. Again, thank goodness for packing lists and suggestions provided by those you have gone before me. The hardest part was packing so that I could hike/backpack in places like Patagonia then cruise around modern cities like Santiago and not look like a grungy hiker (aka look at least kinda cute). And, I had to plan for large weather variations during my first month of travel (e.g., 90s in Costa Rica then 50s in southern Argentina). So, here’s what ended up in my 65-liter backpack and my daypack.


  • jewelry – 5 pairs of earrings (so hard to decide!), 2 rings, 1 braclet, 1 necklace
  • 2 dresses (1 given away in Santiago and the other in Ushuaia)
  • 2 purses (1 small, 1 medium)
  • 1 Light sweater
  • 1 sarong (serves as scarf, dress or skirt, blanket)
  • 1 bikini
  • 8 shirts – 1 sunshirt, 2 hiking shirts, 2 short-sleeved T-shirts, 2 tanks, 1 longsleeve
  • pants – 1 jeans, 2 leggings, 1 hiking. I actually brought a pair of cute palazzo pants but they went missing in Costa Rica, potentially nesting fodder for Big Leonard (a giant iguana).
  • 2 jackets – 1 down, 1 lighweight
  • 1 raincoat and rain pants
  • 3 pairs of shoes – 1 flip flops, 1 slip ons, 1 trail shoes
  • 3 hats – 1 hiking sunhat, 1 cute sunhat, 1 beanie
  • 6 pairs of socks – 2 hiking, 2 liners for hiking, 2 regular
  • 3 bras – 2 sportsbras, 1 regular
  • 5 pairs of undies
  • 3 pairs of gloves – 1 for cool, 1 for cold, 1 for sun protection
  • 1 Buff for sun protection
  • 1 bandana
  • umbrella (for sun and rain)
  • 1 bag of toiletries
  • travel towel
  • TP bag – for toilet paper and hand santitizer

Backpacking\camping gear

  • 3-liter Camelback and 1-liter Nalgene
  • 1-person tent
  • down sleeping bag in waterproof stuff sack
  • sleeping pad
  • stove
  • 1 pot, 1 cup, 1 spoon
  • first aid kit with pocket knife and whistle
  • headlamp with extra batteries
  • duct tape
  • rain fly for backpack
  • heavy duty plastic bag to keep stuff dry


  • Patagonia guide book
  • How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes
  • journal
  • spanish dictionary
  • reusable grocery bag
  • iPod (since I couldn’t get iTunes Match to work. Argh!!!!)
  • rechargable bluetooth speaker so I can share my jams
  • iPhone
  • SPOT GPS tracker/messenger
  • money belt
  • camera, charger, batteries
  • extra camera memory
  • tiny tripod
  • Steripen for water treatment
  • travel charger/adaptor
  • external battery charger
  • iPhone armband
  • eye mask, earplugs
  • Nexus tablet
  • cables for all this stuff


It’ll be interesting too see how the contents of my packs changes with time and experience!


























Items not shown:  door stop (in case the hostel door doesn’t close securely), small ziplook baggies, undergarments






2 thoughts on “Getting Started

  1. Door stop??? Only a well-seasoned (or well-researched) vagabond would think of that! I’m so curious to see how your bags evolve as you travel. I agree with you: No matter how much you plan and prepare, the best lessons will be learned on the road!


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