‘Tis the season! It’s full swing Holiday season, and I am personally loving the distraction of decorating for Christmas and searching for the perfect present for all of my friends and family, despite not being able to celebrate together like I wish we could. This year, I’ve dedicated more thought into supporting small business and sustainable products with my gifts, and I wanted to share them for those still hunting down gift ideas for an outdoorsy friend!
O Canada… One of my favorite parts about living in Seattle is the accessibility to our gorgeous neighbors up north. Growing up, we used to take road trips to Vancouver once or twice a year to feast on delicious dim sum and Chinese food (which puts Seattle Chinese food to shame). In college, my friends and I started taking an annual ski trip to Whistler, which to this day is still one of my favorite traditions. Banff has always been high on my list of places to go, but I had never done a real roadtrip this long so I procrastinated planning until last fall! We did the whole drive of Seattle-to-Banff and back in 7-days, and it was such a fun way to explore more of Western Canada!
If you’re a Washington State hiker, you’re sure to have heard of the beautiful (and daunting) Enchantments. The thru hike itself ranges somewhere between 18 – 24 miles and over 4,500 ft. in elevation gain, although can be even longer/higher if you lose the trail or choose to explore off the path. The Enchantments are more commonly known for backpackers — there’s a lottery-style permit system every year that generally rewards less than 10% of entrants to camp out overnight along the trail. I’ve entered the lottery for 4 years now without winning, so this year I decided to take on the Enchantments as a thru hike, and I want to share my experience for those of you hoping to do the same!
Patagonia Backpacking Itinerary – 5 Day W Trek in Torres del Paine
Patagonia was at the top of my bucket list for 5 years before I finally thought — what’s stopping me? I’ve been lucky enough to save up for a big trip a year, so why haven’t I chosen to go to the one place I tell everyone I’m dying to go? So I booked it. The trip was 9 days in total including a layover in Mexico City, 2 days in Santiago, 2 days in Puerto Natales, and a 5 day backpacking trek through Torres Del Paine’s W trail.
As you saw, I just posted my 10-week European itinerary that I did post-graduation last year. Somewhere along the way, my friend Emma got the big idea to spend a week in Iceland (a week that perfectly aligned with the beginning of my trip). Thus, our Iceland road trip was born. Now Iceland is an Instagrammable dreamland, and very trendy (and cheap) to travel to right now. With Iceland Air’s #MyStopover promotion (basically a free layover in Iceland on flights to Europe), we were able to score a super cheap one-way ticket to London, with a week in Iceland.
Our trip was far from perfect, but I’ve adapted it to be what would’ve been my “ideal” itinerary to share with you here around the entire Ring Road. For incredible waterfalls, breathtaking landscapes, and a land that literally knocks the wind out of you (with wind), read on…
Surprise, I did in fact survive my 10 weeks of backpacking in Europe. It’s been almost two years since I dropped off the face of the blogging Earth, but I’m back, and I’m ready to tell my tales. I got back from Europe in the knick of time to attend my graduation ceremony in Seattle (well, 1 out of 2 anyway), celebrated my 22nd birthday, and started working full-time the very next day. Since then, I’ve been fully immersed in the world of consulting with weekly travel to the Bay Area. That’s right folks— every Monday I’d fly down to SFO or SJC, and every Thursday back to SEA (or wherever I chose to spend the weekend). But that’s a story for another time.
Today I’m back to share with you my EuroTrip itinerary, because I worked too damn hard on it to not shout it from the rooftops. I hope with a mighty passion that there’s someone else out there who is looking for a way to explore 15+ European countries in 10 weeks, and they stumble upon this blog for ideas.
It’s almost time– I leave for Europe tomorrow so I only have one last prep-based blog to share: the non-clothing backpacking essentials. My last couple blogs went over the tools I used to plan the trip, and the clothes that I’m planning on bringing for my 10-week trip in a carry-on backpack…now I’m going to talk about all the odds and ends that I’ve found essential when staying in a hostel or long-term travel. A lot of these things aren’t what you’d normally pack for vacation and tend to be forgotten, so take note backpackers!
While I am a serial under-packer and my family is notorious for two-week travels across the globe with one carry-on per person, I’ve never done a real backpacking trip. My challenge: 10 weeks, 16 countries, 2 seasons, and one 55L backpack. Now it sounded doable at first, until I realized packing for Iceland in March is very different from Greece in May. After packing and unpacking multiple times (and cutting a few beloved favorites) I have come to one very packed 55L backpack, and all of essentials for the next ten weeks.
T-minus seven weeks until I’m graduated and thrown into the world of adulthood. Seven weeks until I’m financially independent, living on my own, and can no longer use the word “student” as an excuse for things. Like most other angsty millennials, I’m going to embark on a grad trip to celebrate the success of completing my university education (blah, blah, blah).
Now this trip is going to be nothing less than a chaotic three months of traveling Europe (and a brief stint in Northern Africa) with a combination of my friends that I met studying abroad in Australia. Three months sounds like a long time, but don’t worry, the practical side in me ensured that I would have a job lined up when I returned, even if that meant two quarters of absolute hell in order to graduate early to make that happen. Impulsive, but logical (story of my life).
Planning three months of travel is not easy, especially when those plans consist of 16 different countries, and a combination of traveling solo to traveling with 6 friends, and absolutely every combination in between (including a detour with the parents). I’m talking messy combinations of plane tickets, hostel reservations, airbnbs, train passes, rental cars, and every other word that triggers those who hate to travel. Luckily, in the last few months of “planning”, I’ve identified several tools to make the whole thing go down easier…