My Life in a Backpack

Hello all! This blog post will be brief as I have a bus to catch in two hours, but I wanted to check in before Danielle and I leave for Champaign.

Some (all?) of you know that Danielle and I are going to California soon. We plan to stay there through April at the least and thru June at the most. This decision may have seemed strange, although likely not too surprising because we are not going there to find an apartment to live in, to follow a lucrative job prospect, or to visit friends or family as a respectable member of society would. Our trip is more like a vacation than anything, but that’s not quite right either. No, we’re going to California to be vagabonds. What does this mean? We’re packing backpacks and venturing forth with no concrete goals or destinations-save Ludicity Festival in April (more on that later). We’re hitting the open road for adventure, spontaneity, exploration, and-more than anything- freedom. That’s my end at least, I’m sure Danielle would tell a slightly different story. Regardless, we’re a couple of weirdos putting our lives into backpacks and venturing forth into the unknown.

Many of you may be thinking right about now, “What are they thinking? Are they crazy? Have they thought this through at all?” Those thoughts have certainly crossed my mind. Of course, going into the unknown with no plan would be idiotic. Although it may seem like that to many, that’s not what we’re doing. This is despite the fact that no matter how many times people have asked me our plans when we get there, I haven’t been able to provide an answer.

You see, planning for an adventure is different than planning for a job, or a move, or a vacation because an adventure-by nature- is uncertain. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You can’t plan where you’re sleeping, where you’re eating, where your wandering (at least not in any definite way). The way you plan for a trip like this, then, is by being prepared for anything. It’s having anything and everything you’d need to handle any situation. It’s being mentally prepared to do things you’ve never done before, to step out of your comfort zone when the situation calls for it. It’s having the courage to step into the world to be tested. And it’s- perhaps most importantly- having the right stuff.

When you’re carrying everything you own on your back, weight matters more than it ever did before. Lightweight, multifunctional things are a must. Equally important is the need to cut luxury items. So here it is-for the next few months at least- everything I own.

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Here we’ve got some outdoor essentials: water bottles and a water filter, first aid kit, poop shovel, toilet paper, dishware, compass, stove, and matches. In addition I’ve got some reading material, a journal, phone charger, extra batteries, and little crystal trinkets to gift to people along our journey
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This is the beloved backpack, along with tent, pillow, sleeping pad and sleeping bag. Up above, I’ve got knifes and a sharpening stone as well as plastic bags.
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Here are some of the most importants! My clothes and toiletries are in my super-awesome packing cubes (thanks Erich). I’ve also got a killer widebrim Tilley hat, bandanas, mosquito netting, and raingear both for me and my pack. On the bottom is the all-important proper footwear.

That’s it! Other than the clothes on my back, that’s all I’m bringing! Here’s how it looks all packed up!

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A bit blurry….

And here’s the whole package deal!

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Do I look excited or what!?

All in all, my pack weighed in at 44 lbs without food or water. That’s a bit heavier than I’d like, but I’m sure I’ll discover shortly that many of my “essentials” are actually luxuries and the post office will become my new best friend as I send stuff home. Still, the pack feels good! I feel confident that I am prepared for most any situation and I won’t be wanting for much.

So that’s it! There goes perhaps the most stressful part of any trip- getting your shit together. As always, I managed to get my stuff together in the 11th hour. I intend to be posting regularly about my travels so stay tuned!

But it’s dinner time and I’ve got a bus to catch for Champaign where I’ll spend my last week before heading out to Cali. I’ll be posting from Champaign for a more in depth look into my motivations for this journey, challenges faced, and what I hope to find. Or whatever else I decide to share in the moment. Thanks for reading!

Until next time!

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