19 August 2009

What's in my bag?

I was going to write this in the style of The Things They Carried (possibly my favorite book ever), but then I decided that you'd probably rather just see the list.

Contents of my backpack:
  • Europe on Five Dollars a Day (1963-1964 edition)
  • Eurail pass
  • A few print-outs of my parents' letters to each other in 1967 (for the sake of saving space and weight, most of the letters and postcards are saved as PDFs on my computer)
  • Six t-shirts (I know that seems like a lot, but they're microfiber--packs small, dries fast!)
  • Six pairs of socks
  • Six pairs of boxers
  • Four button-front shirts (two long sleeve, two short)
  • Two pairs of trousers (actually, only one in the bag; I'll be wearing the other)
  • Canon digital camera (basic point-and-shoot variety) and little Gorillapod tripod
  • Netbook (so that I can amuse/bore you from the road. And show my new friends from all over the world the innovation that proves American Exceptionalism: Spider Solitaire.)
  • Multi-nation adapter plug
  • About a dozen little pocket-sized notebooks, plus a larger one. Also a few Post-Its.
  • Lots of pens
  • A few rubber bands, safety pins, and paper clips
  • Belt
  • Bungee cord clothesline
  • Small alarm clock that ticks really loudly and may be replaced very soon
  • Deck of playing cards (I thought about packing a Frisbee, but I don't have room)
  • Rather a lot of medications and medical supplies. Long story. (You've heard of Crohn's Disease? Fun stuff.)
  • Assorted toiletries
  • A few Zip-lock bags
  • Small towel (doubles as pillow cover in sketchy hotels/hostels)
  • Little laminated map with the world on one side and the US on the other.
  • Rain coat
  • Light jacket
  • A couple of Power Bars, most likely to be consumed in Germany (I'm kind of afraid of their food. I understand they've been eating it for a few years and many of them--and even one or two non-Germans--apparently like the stuff. But my gut is made of parchment paper [did I mention the Crohn's Disease thing?] and therefore I am something of a culinary coward. German food seems particularly well-calibrated for maximum lack of enjoyment, at least on my part: heavy, dense, not especially flavorful, and likely to contain animal parts that I'd actually rather not consume knowingly. I'm terrified of accidentally ordering the daily special of Boiled Esophagus Stuffed With Eyeballs And Raw Onions. So: Power Bars. Just in case.)
. . . And that's about it. Anything I'm missing? Anything I should take out? Pass judgment in the comments.


  1. Sharkies! And I would ditch one of the t-shirts in favor of 2 more pairs of underwears, but that's just me. I'm impressed at your portability, though; good work!

  2. Do you have Cipro? Because I got some Cipro. It's the nuclear option of anti-biotics. It's the stuff they give out to fight Anthrax. Don't ask me how I got it.

  3. Hannah: I have something better than Sharkies: Power Bar gummi things with a liquid center and a 2x dose of caffeine. Like Gushers for grown-ups!

    Lee: I think I'm already prepared for every medical contingency short of the Andromeda Strain and major spinal cord injuries (though I could probably improvise a full-body cast out of gauze and mushed-up Power Bars).


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