22 x 16 x 9: Tales of a disgruntled over-packer.

Hello, I'm Adrienne and I'm a chronic over-packer. I carry snacks, gum, water and Aleve on a daily basis. I usually have my camera and an extra layer to ward off the evening chill. I like to have all my things with me. I don't travel light, I travel prepared.

Now, here I am, deciding that I that SE Asia will be easier to navigate if I succumb to the airline's tiny 22x16x9 carry-on size. Le sigh.

I have been trolling the interwebs, looking for inspirational packing posts like this one- (theartofsimpletravel) where Tsh will be traveling for a whole year with less clothes than I've planned on taking for 3 months. A whole YEAR! Impressive. Maybe I can do this… maaybe.

So far, this is what fits in my carry on. I'll also have a shoulder bag.

 

Clothes

1 rainjacket & my tiny Patagonia windbreaker that I wore all over Europe last fall.

1 jog bra/ 2 other bras

2 pairs of socks / 7 undies

1 pair of pants

1 pair of capris

1 pair of shorts

1 skort

1 over-the-knee length skirt (for visiting temples)

2 tank tops / 2 T-shirts

1 long sleeve shirt (for cool mt. towns)

Chaco sandals (newly resoled in Rockford, Mi!)

Lightweight running shoes

1 hat / 3 headbands

I am planning on buying a scarf (or 4) on my travels

Toiletries

Deodorant, sunscreen, tooth brush & paste, razor, soap, hotel-size shampoo & conditioner, Tweezers & small mirror (gotta keep these eyebrows in check!) Q-tips!

First aid kit

Bandaids: assorted.

Moleskin for blisters

Hydrocortisone cream (for itching)

Triple antibiotic ointment

Digital themometer

1 pair of disposable gloves

Tiny scissors

Duct tape

Electrolyte packets

 

Documents

Traveler insurance info: I'm using World Nomads.

Proof of Vaccinations

Contact Card: Family at home, people in country and places I've reserved to stay in each country

Passport (valid for at least 6 months!), Color copies of my passport, copies of my credit cards

Printed travel itinerary with confirmation #s for flights, etc.

 

Electronics and Randomness

Travel journal & colored pencils

Gum, granola bars & fruit leather

Little gifts like stickers & Michigan-edition quarters

IPad, charger and a ton of really helpful travel apps (listed in this blog post.)

A book to read and trade at a hostel when I'm done.

My tiny new camera the Panasonic Lumix Lx7! It has a Leica lens & full manual controls. Since I'm a Canon girl, this has taken some getting used to- but the photos are coming out lovely! It's SO much smaller!

70 GB of SD cards, Apple card reader (to load photos onto my iPad), extra camera battery and charger

Adapters! (Since all my electronics have voltage ranges from 120-240 I don't need a converter!)

 

I am certain to amend this list, there are a few things that I've neglected to put in the photos because I'm not sure if they'll fit now that I've decided to go carry-on!

10 days til wheels-up!

 

My most favorite travel accessory… my iPad!

My iPad/iPhone is my most useful travel equipment. (Even when I don’t have service!)

Natasja & her iPad, in the window of our Prague Hostel, 2013

Last fall, while Natasja & I were trying to connect with my lost (& very jet lagged) parents – my ULMON PRAGUE app saved the day.  Seriously.  Well, my iPad and Saint Ludwila.  I thought my parents were just going to give up and go to Slovakia without me.  (Read the account here.)  That experience cemented my iPad mini at the top of my must-have travel accessories.

Here are the apps that I am taking on my trip.

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Ulmon (for big cities)

This app is perfect for me because (as anyone who has ever driven anywhere with me will know) I am directionally challenged.  Even off-line, I can touch the blue navigation arrow and it will show me where I am on the map as I walk through the city!  It also lists all the most common tourist sights and allows me to search for the locations of temples, restaurants and cat cafes!

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Postagram

Have you ever wished that YOU could be in the photos on the vacation postcards that you send to your friends? Now you can send a REAL POSTCARD & it only costs you $1/each!  Personalized postcards are super fun and since they are printed in the USA, then mailed to your destination, it’s a quick way to get mail to your friends in the States while you are abroad!

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Google Drive

All of my flight info, travel insurance policy, contact info and my travel itinerary are in a file that I can share with the people who need to know where I am at all times. I also did a 8GB photo file download while at a friend’s house in Bangkok to free up another card for my camera!

 

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Blogsy

This is the app WAS my favorite app to use to post my ‘Adventures of a Michigander’ blog since I’m not bringing my laptop.  I did buy an iPad case with a keyboard for the trip. Unfortunately, Blogsy will not have a new update and is no longer compatible with the newest iOS. Now, I just use WordPress.

 

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 TripIt

All of my flight details are gleaned from my confirmation emails without any effort on my part! It’s pretty useful when you frequently buy cheap tickets on Skyscanner b/c they are less than train tickets!

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 SmartTraveler

Safety First!  This is where I check the government travel warnings for the 7 countries I’ll be traveling in.

 

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Trail Wallet

At the end of my trip, I’ll be able to use this app to see charts on my spending.  It will break it down to how much I spent per day & on what.  I’m sure you’re already looking forward to that blogpost.

 

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Instagram

Find me @adventuresofamichigander, to see photos that I don’t post on FB or my blog!

 

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Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 3.56.02 PMHostelBookers/Agoda:

Booking accommodation just got easier!

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 Heads Up!

Ellen DeGeneres designed this app and it’s hilarious to play with groups.  It’s simple, your team tries to get you to say the word on the screen, as you hold the iPad on your forehead.  The best part is the video it takes during the game – this game will make me lots of friends when I get stuck inside during a rainstorm.

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Clue

It’s hard to keep track of the days when you travel so this app warns me when I might be feeling ‘PMSy’ rather than just ‘Hangry’.  It’s very helpful.

 

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ToonCamera or Prisma

I love the way my photos look with this app!

WhatsApp/ FB Messanger

Text your new international friends for free on WhatsApp or use FB to make free video calls!

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 10.17.28 PMFly Delta

The app is worth downloading simply for the Glass Bottomed Jet feature, where it will show you the places you’re flying over + which FB friends you’re flying over!  Slightly stalker-ish but neat! *I was disappointed by this app and then PANICKED by this app when it sent me flight check-in reminders from the wrong time zone, causing me to think I’d missed my flight. Boo. Deleted.

Also: Kindle, FaceBook, iMessage, GoogleTranslate, plus some games and a 7-min workout app* that I never used.

If you’re still reading, leave your favorite travel apps in the comments, please!

7 countries in 77 days

Here is the outline of my epic journey.

I’ve left room for plenty of detours.

Oh, how I love when a plan starts to come together!  Unemployment has given me adequate time to do some in-depth research.  I’ve been pouring over TripAdvisor forums, loads of blogs and good ol’ travel guides for weeks now and here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

#1-Japan1280px-The_Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa

I’ll be flying into the Narita airport, north of Tokyo and connecting with a YMCA Camp Jeweller, Matt Allan, who is stationed in Yokosuka with the US Navy.  I plan on hopping the bullet train to Mt. Fuji Nat’l Park and contenting on to Kyoto and Osaka.  I’m only there 6 days but I intend to live it up!

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Next up, I’ll fly in to Bangkok (the star in the map below) from Tokyo and then start traveling counter-clockwise and then head down the peninsula to Singapore!

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#2-Thailand

Wat Pho
Wat Pho

In Bangkok, I’ll be met by Bryan- a friend I met through a St. Michael’s connection who works for the US Government.  Bryan transferred to the Bangkok branch on August 8th and since he’s new in town, he’s going to be the perfect sightseeing buddy!  After a few days of eating amazing Thai food and wandering through markets & temples, I’ll fly out of Bangkok and into Cambodia.

#3-Cambodia

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capitaltourscambodia.com

I’ll enter the country at Siem Reap, a town made famous by the temples at Angkor Wat.  I’ll buy a 3 day pass in order to take my time & escape the heat when I need to.  Then, I head down to Phnom Penh (PP) to meet up with Meaghan T. (a 20 yr + friend from Camp Gordonwood)!  I am a lucky girl ~ Meaghan is letting m come to her school for a day!

#4-Vietnamjasmine_introvietnam sapa bac ha 31 (1024x768)

I’ll cross this boarder by land- after securing a visa in PP and continuing on to Ho Chi Mihn City (HCMC) where I’ll meet up with another Camp Jeweller- Troy Jankowski from Sydney!  We’ll take the train to Hoi An and then to Hanoi.  The rice terraces of Sapa and the rock formations of Halong Bay are on our itinerary.  Hopefully, we’ll find time to take a cooking class too!  (Photos by vietnamtravelsonline.com)

#5-Myanmar (Burma)Burma-COVER

Troy & I will arrive in Yangon for the Festival of Lights!  Then, we’ll travel to Bagan, Inle Lake and fly out of Mandalay at the end of the 2 weeks.  For more photos of Myanmar, check out this book by Scott Stulberg.

There will be another few days in Bangkok as Troy flies home and Laura Johnson flies in from Nashville!

#6-Malasia

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(Photos from parallelperception.com)

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In Malaysia, Laura and I plan to laze around on tropical beaches, wind our way through Kuala Lumpur and end up in the sovereign city-state of Singapore!

#7-Singapore

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(Photos by dogonews.com)

imagesI won’t arrive in Singapore until December, so it I haven’t made many plans.  It’s a big city (and it’s own country!) so I hoping to meet up with fellow Masonite Heather Klepper Roddocker while I’m in town.  This is the last stop in my travel adventure… I’m already feeling nostalgic.

The Traveler’s Catch-22 (or 3 reasons why I should not go on this trip.)

I’ve have a lot of time to think lately.

Much of this time has been spent thinking about vaccines, visas and voltage (say that 3 times fast!)  As I repeatedly recount the story of my next adventure I find myself feeling the need to justifying this trip.

These are the three questions that keep popping into my head when I start overthinking.

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(This photo is of Halong Bay, Vietnam. Taken by Nic (Luckypenguin)

#1: I don’t have any money.

I understand that it is not fiscally responsible for an unemployed person to traipse across the world for three months.  BUT…. Time IS money, people!  And I’m RICH with TIME!  Welcome to what I’ve dubbed the Traveler’s Catch 22: If I wait until I accumulate a stack of cash,  it will be when I have a job again!  If I have a job, then I won’t have 3 months off to travel!  I’ll put as much as I can on a 0% credit card and pay off this trip next year.

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(Photo of Bagan, Myanmar by Raul Cruz Photography)

#2: It is not SAFE for me to travel the world ‘alone’!

Well, safe is a relative word… because LIFE is a risky endeavor!   For my own sanity, I have always tried to stay in that sweet spot between being overly cautious and being blissfully ignorant.  Like Kenny Rogers says, ‘Trust in God, but lock your door!’  (I bought some great travel insurance too.)  ‘Alone’ is also relative, I’m meeting a few old friends along the way and I’m sure to make many new friends too!

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(This photo of a monk in Angkor Wat, Cambodia was taken by Timothy Allen/BBC)

#3: I should be looking for a full-time job or working on adrienneleephoto.com, not going on vacation.

Sure!  That sounds like a good use of my time!   But I consider this a ‘life experience’ trip, not a vacation and I’ve decided that when I’m old, I want to have a collection of stories instead of a collection of fine china to pass down.  I may be broke, but my aim is to be interesting!

Now that you know WHY I’m going, read my next post to find out WHERE I’m going and WHO is coming with me!