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Video: What’s In My Bags After 15 Months Of Travel

Sophomore year of college I moved into a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-story apartment with a balcony, dishwasher, and washer/dryer. At 19 years old, I was living in the biggest, nicest apartment of my life. As the years went on, I lost the extra bedrooms, then the balcony and the appliances, and eventually I didn’t have an an apartment at all.

With every move, I lost amenities, but I gained something much more valuable: location. I got closer to campus, closer to the city, closer to downtown. Finally, I hit peak location: anywhere. I got rid of all my stuff, packed my life into a backpack and set out to travel the world.

Oak Street

I fell in love with Oak Street the first time I saw it. Living on Oak Street was the ultimate Chicago location for me. The only thing that could top it was traveling the world. [This is Oak Street by the way. I loved it so much I took wedding photos here.]

Living out of a backpack for 15 months wasn’t actually that hard. I quickly got used not having very much stuff. I got so used to it, in fact, that even the small amount of stuff that I did have felt like too much. It’s actually amazing to see just how much stuff I managed to cram into my 40L Osprey Farpoint backpack.

Before we left, I spent months carefully curating my ultimate packing list. I documented my long-term travel packing list in detail here on Lattes & Runways. At the time I thought I had it completely nailed down. I still stand by the core of my packing list, like my capsule wardrobe, tech decisions and my obsession with keeping chapstick everywhere.

But fifteen months on the road taught me a lot about how I wanted to use that  backpack space. I started replacing the clothes that I brought with clothes I purchased from markets and souks (and Disney Parks). I ditched things I didn’t need and bought different things I didn’t need (like cannoli magnets). I stopped letting space deter me from buying things I loved. (Which is how I ended up carrying a lantern from Vietnam for two months through Asia.)

My backpack started filling up with memories, not just just things. And I loved that.


Backpackers gonna backpack

I thought it would be fun to unpack my bags together. Part of me wants to prove just how much stuff I actually had with me, but mostly I just wanted to show you how my packing journey culminated. Because as much I thought my packing last was perfect, the truth is that long-term travel packing is fluid.

Inside my backpack we’ll find all sorts of things! Some things from my original packing list, things I acquired on the road, gifts for friends and lots of keepsakes. There’s also a ton of junk, I’m not going to lie. But I wanted to share that too, because it all takes up space.

I also want to point out that this is just what I had at the very end of the journey. If you stopped me at any point along the way, my collection of stuff would have been different. We also were in the US four times, and each time we offloaded a good amount of things and shipped it off to our parents. So this is by no means an exhaustive list of everything I had for the past 15 months.

Ok! Let’s unpack my bag for the last time, together!

Don’t have 30 minutes to listen to me ramble? Check out the text version below of everything that came out of my backpack.

What’s In My Bags After 15 Months of Travel

Crossbody Purse

The purse itself was purchased from a cute little shop in Paros, Greece.


Wicker Purse was purchased in Paros and modeled in Santorini.

  • Planner
  • Snow White Head Band from the Disney Store
  • Lattes & Runways Coozie from K. Greer Designs
  • “Ray Ban” Sunglasses from a street vendor in Cairo (certainly fake)
  • Chapstick
  • Plastic Spoon from a gelato stop in Italy (because if you have to use a single-use plastic, try to use it more than once!)

What I Wore

Travel Tip #1: Wear all your clothes on travel days. When I started to run out of room in my backpack, I started wearing more clothes on travel days. Here’s what I wore on my last travel day.

Plastic Bag Clipped on my Main Bag

  • Carabiner (3)
  • Jeans — I have a pair of Sculpt jeans from Gap and I swear by them! They do not stretch out in the knees or waist, wash up so nicely and are so comfortable!
  • Disneyland Paris Hat
  • Cubs Hat
  • Black Dress
Dress from Italy

I bought this black dress from a little shop in Rome to wear to two weddings. I thought I looked fabulous and then Kenny goes and a shows me up!


I bought a $17 Outlander daypack on Amazon and loved it. It’s water resistant, collapsible, and perfect. I did have to replace it after nine months because it started to wear, but I rebought the same one because I loved it so much.

  • Pen
  • Cannoli Magnet

    Cannoli Magnet

    I ate Cannoli for breakfast everyday in Sicily. When I saw this magnet, I had to have it!

  • Passport
  • Kindle Charger (You’ll notice I have no Kindle on my packing list, but Kenny did)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Lufthansa Amenity Kit
  • Headphones
  • Zipper Pouch
  • Blue Door Magnet from Chefchaouen,  Morocco
  • Double-prong Headphones
  • Phone Stand
  • Sewing Kit
  • Transit Cards
  • Disneyland Tickets
  • The most Darling Leather Sandals from a great little shop in Greece

    Sandals from Greece

    Watching the sun set on Paros while wearing my new shoes I just bought on Paros

  • Socks —I brought three pairs of these socks and they lasted the entire year (including three marathons) without any holes!
  • Nike Shorts
  • Christian Louboutin Heels (Doesn’t every backpacker?)
  • Tights
  • Choker Necklace Trio from the Disney Store
  • Refreshing Towelette
  • iPad Mini
  • Nativity Ornaments from Bethlehem for a few of our family and friends

Liquids Bag

  • Homemade Honey — a wedding favor that our friend’s husband made!
  • Sunblock
  • Marc Jacobs Perfume Mini
  • Shampoo
  • Eye Cream
  • Lotion
  • Dead Sea Mud Mask

Osprey Farpoint 40

I spent a lot of nights packing and unpacking my life in and out of my Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack. I had a love/hate relationship with this backpack. I started off disliking it because it didn’t have many pockets and it wasn’t very structured, but I quickly fell in love with it. It fit everything I could possibly need, it was comfortable to wear, and it held up through a lot!

All Packed Up

One of these bags is not like the others…

Front Pockets

  • Ziploc Bags
  • Olive Oil Soap from Greece
  • Dead Sea Salt Scrub
  • Memory Notebook
  • Pen
  • Earrings
  • Mother/Daughter Key Chain
  • Two-pence Coin
  • Flower Hair Clip
  • Luggage Lock

Font Laptop Pocket

  • T-Shirts from Every Country (and I mean every. single. country! I’m going to make a quilt!)
  • Disneyland Paris Ticket
  • Document Binder (details below)
  • Wedding Program
  • Sundress
  • Tissues
  • Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf
  • Travel Towel
  • Leather Purse from Florence Italy


    My mom and I each got leather purses in Italy. I picked this fun green color and I love it!

Main Pocket


We got a tripod halfway through the trip and loved having it around to take cheesy shots like this!

Makeup Bag

  • Bobby Pins
  • BB Cream
  • Deodorant
  • Foundation
  • Toothbrush
  • Hairbush
  • Mascara
  • Nail File
  • Blush
  • Blush Brush
  • Floss
  • Eye Shadow
  • Tweezers
  • Hairties
  • Two Pence
  • Bar Soap
  • Baby Powder
  • Toothpaste
  • Sewing Kit
  • Chapstick
  • Primer

Odds & Ends Packing Cube

  • Glasses
  • Bruschetta Seasoning Mix
  • Biotin
  • Sleep Headphones
  • Copenhagen Half Marathon Medal

    Copenhagen Half Marathon

    When we arrived in Copenhagen, we saw signs about road closures for an upcoming Half. Registration was still open, so we signed up and had the best time!!

  • Vegetable Boullion Cubes
  • Power Converter
  • USB/USB-C Charging Block
  • GoPro
  • Inflatable Pillow
  • Shower Cap
  • Magic Band
  • Fels Naptha Laundry Detergent Bar
  • USB to USB-C Converter
  • Shoelaces
  • Extra Packing Cube
  • Sleep Sheet
  • Dry Bag
  • Steripen
  • Lattes & Runways Coozie
  • Chili Seasoning Mix
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Scissors
  • Spray Bottle
  • Chapstick
  • Headphones
  • Disposable Razor
  • Padlock
  • Plastic Wristbands
  • Cannoli Magnet
  • Amenity Kit Tin from Tokyo DisneySea
  • Hair Ties
  • Mini Carabiner
  • Bracelet from Greece
  • Bracelet from Bethlehem
  • Sewing Kit
  • Bungee Cord
  • Paper Soap Sheets
  • Bracelet from Palestine
Walt Disney World

Our first stop on our trip was Walt Disney World, and we kept our Magic Bands with us the entire trip! Which was good because we met this blondie for our second stop at Walt Disney World in June!

Clothes Cube

  • Maxi Skirt from a souk in Dubai
  • Copenhagen Half Marathon Quarter Zip
  • T-Shirt from Aulani
  • Running Capris
  • Copenhagen Half Marathon Race Shirt
  • Disneyland T-Shirt
  • Chiang Mai Marathon Race Shirt
  • Shamrock Shuffle Quarter Zip
  • Grey Madewell T-Shirt (I’m obsessed with this shirt. I have it in almost every color.)
  • Cotton Shorts
  • Tank Top
Chiang Mai Marathon

We ran the Chiang Mai Marathon on Christmas Eve and the race shirt ended up being my only running shirt until we ran Copenhagen eight months later.

Inside Zipper Pouch

  • Swimsuit
  • Earplugs – 3
  • Slippers
  • Tissues
  • Refreshing Towelette – 2
  • Plane Socks
  • Socks
  • Tights
  • Running Headband
  • Hair Ribbon
  • Comb – 2
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Coaster
  • Belt
  • Eye Mask – 2
  • ExOfficio Underwear – 3
  • Headband
  • Makeup Remover Towelette

Believe it or not, I showed up in Thailand without a swimsuit! I kept forgetting to buy one until the night before we went to swim with elephants and the ONLY place I could find one was at a thrift shop. So that happened.

Document Binder

  • International Driver’s License
  • Proof of Vaccination
  • Checkbook
  • Expired Passports
  • Passport Photos
  • Global Entry Card
  • Cooking Class Recipe Card
  • Aulani Artwork
  • Tags from things I bought
  • Bibs from Copenhagen Half Marathon

And that’s it!


I’ll miss the days of being a backpacker.

What’s one thing you can’t travel without?