Backpacker’s Diary: Part 1

In 21 days, I am embarking on the adventure of a lifetime: backpacking in Europe for 3 months. Just me, my boyfriend and two bulging backpacks. While the thought of escaping reality for such a long period of time is so dreamy, the daunting part of planning has officially set in at this point. We are trying to save up every penny we make while still being sure to enjoy the summer and live in the now. We are also working on slowly getting our stuff together, and you can only imagine how I feel about filling a backpack with clothing that I will then wear over and over again for Nine.Ty.Days. I think that process will have to wait for Part 2 (it will be a doozy).

We originally planned to not plan. In other words, we wanted to go where the day took us, meet travelers and ask them about their favorite city so far, we wanted to truly live the unplanned, backpacking life. And we still want that. But as the days grow nearer and nearer, all of our conversations are centered around this trip, making it difficult not to form some semblance of a route. Thus far, we are landing in Barcelona, heading to my aunt’s house in Spain, doing 3-day trips to Portugal and Madrid, then heading to Paris, doing the South coast, doing Italy’s Cinque Terre and Milan (hello, fashion week), meeting my parent’s in Rome for 1 week in the Amalfi Coast and then continuing on our way to climb Mount Etna, visit Sicily and head to Croatia and possibly Egypt if time, money and weather permits. That’s the plan so far, but who knows where things will take us, we invested in Eurail passes, so the 22 countries it connects are our oysters.

A very rough route.

As for the gear we’re using, a trip to Mountain Equipment Co-Op was a given, as it is the mecca of camping, traveling and climbing equipment. We found so many things we never thought we’d need but that I know will be our best friends come September (blow-up pillow? Yes please). Check out some of our backpacking essentials, and here’s hoping that they are just what we need for a 3-month adventure, in a nutshell.

Eurail passes: so key. $3600 unlimited 3-month travel for two.

2 80L Backpacks: $169 each (The Canadian flags were our added touch)

Easy-access water supply: $20

The lightest blow-up pillow: only $12

We couldn't resist a tent this compact, lightweight, and with a name like that one. ($249)