On May 24, 2014, my fiancé, Andy, and I got married in New York City. A week later, we hopped on a plane with two carry-on suitcases and two one-way tickets to Paris. We had just pressed pause on our careers, sublet our apartment, and moved all of our things into storage. The only plan was to have no plans at all — and we ended up traveling for 394 days through 25 countries, stopping in nearly 100 destinations. Over the next few weeks, come along on this crazy journey to learn more about how we did it — packing, plotting, budgeting — and see some of the tens of thousands of photos we took along the way.
By now I know what you’re really wondering: How did we possibly pack for a year-long trip? The answer is lightly. Very lightly. It’s taken me years to downsize my packing habits. I’m the kind of person who scoops up her entire closet and jams it into a suitcase for a trip. And what do I end up always wearing? The same three things. Andy is the exact opposite and has been trying to deprogram me for years. Prior to the trip, my ever-prepared husband would do test packs — neatly organizing little piles of the exact items he planned to bring and seeing how they fit into his bag. He frequently encouraged me to do the same, but I prefer winging it. That resulted in me sitting in a pile of clothing on my bedroom floor in near tears hours before we left, trying to squeeze everything I could into a bag that had bloated to twice my bodyweight. I was trying to convince Andy that bringing a leather moto jacket was good idea (it’s not) and that only having one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals for the whole year was inhumane. (It kinda is...but I did it!)
In the final minutes, I listened to my wise husband and lightened the load. The funny thing is, I’m actually a very habitual dresser. I change it up for work, but on the weekends I grab the same tried-and-true classics. I was panicking in the moment, but I knew that having to wear the same things over and over again wasn’t going to be that big of deal for me. In fact, it was kind of glorious. So you’re telling me I get to wear my favorite, most comfortable outfit every day without judgement? Perfect.
The list of clothing that I had with me was constantly evolving. I set out with a lot of things that just didn’t work (too wrinkly, took up too much space, not versatile enough) and ended up periodically shipping those things home or donating them to the universe. Or I picked up things along the way (I can now confirm that Zara is close to taking over the entire world). But the general line-up looked something like this: four to six tops and tanks, two maxi-dresses, two short/summer dresses, one sweatshirt, one blazer, one pair of track pants, one pair of jeans, two pairs of shorts, one swimsuit, one beach cover-up, one Turkish beach towel, one quick-dry bath towel, seven pairs of underwear, five pairs of socks, one pair of sneakers, and one pair of sandals. And really, this was more than enough. A trip like this really wakes you up to how much stuff you have that you don’t need and how few material things you need to make you truly happy. Well, except earplugs. You definitely need those for happiness...
So that's the clothing, but we also had a great arsenal of packing and travel accessories. Here’s breakdown of some very practical items we couldn’t have lived without on this journey.