#5. 100 items challenge; what my round-the-world, all-season, extreme minimalist wardrobe looks like

The Challenge:

My aim: travel. Where to? Wherever the wind took me. The need: I wanted to go Turtle and fit my home on my back. Being a smaller human, the challenge would be to keep the weight limit down and my number of possessions minimal.

I had in mind to attempt the 100 Things Challenge, an extreme minimalist challenge to have everything I own add up to only 100 items or less. WHOAH!

I did a trial run before going all in. This was back in 2015 on a 2 week camping trip with some good friends to one of the 7 wonders of the world, The Great and Majestic Grand Canyon in Arizona. Here are some shots of what I packed and of the trip:

 

Needless to say, after roaming Arizona and Utah for a couple of weeks, I came to the firm conclusion that my packing list would need some definite changes if I wanted it round-the-world, all-season, and travel proofed.

 

Here’s the revised and final edition I ended up with:

My Ultimate Round-the-World All-Season Extreme Minimalist Packing List (It’s ironic cuz the name is long):

  1. Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack– being a woman of smaller bearing, this was a perfect fit for my more minified frame.
  2. Marmot Aspen Minimalist 40 sleeping bag
  3. Mini travel pillow– with goose down for its quality and light weight.
  4. Silk sleeping bag liner
  5. Yoga mat
  6. Thick winter shawl
  7. Gloves
  8. Beenie hat
  9. An ultralight waterproof rain jacket by Outdoor Research
  10. A windproof  North Face sweatshirt
  11. Waterproof snow boots (for rain and snow)- Canadians do it right, combining aesthetics with function. That’s what I’ve got to say.
  12. Barefoot earthing sandals
  13. 1 pair of cotton genie pants (that I found in a thrift shop for 10 bucks yea!)
  14. 1 long-sleeve gray midi dress
  15. 1 pair shorts
  16. Merino wool base layer top– I wore this as a regular shirt most of the time.
  17. Merino wool base layer bottom
  18. Merino wool tank top
  19. Nightshirt
  20. 1 pair thin lining socks– these are important for trapping in heat and keeping you warm.
  21. 1 pair medium thick socks
  22. 1 pair super thick socks
  23. 3 pairs of quick-drying underwear; 1 ExOfficio bikini brief
  24. 1 ExOfficio thong
  25. and 1 pair of Icebreaker shorts. (Here and here are some reviews on different travel underwear. Specialized underthings aren’t wholly necessary, but they do help ease travel life a LOT, and especially if you’ve downsized to just a couple pairs.)
  26. 1 regular bra
  27. 1 sexy bra
  28. 1 sports bra
  29. Bikini
  30. A quick-drying ultra light Packtowl– They run small so I suggest getting one beach sized, which fits the size of a regular bath towel.
  31. Scarf 1
  32. Scarf 2
  33. A multifunctional fork, spoon, pocket-knife, and corkscrew set like this. (Be wary of security with this one. You’ll have to check your bag if you’re going to travel with it. You can otherwise opt for a simpler spork like this.)
  34. Collapsible silicone camping bowl with a lid
  35. Small titanium camping cup
  36. Kindle stick
  37. Headlamp
  38. Paracord bracelet (I had a simple one, but I just came across this one which looks awesome.)
  39. Mini first-aid kit
  40. Mini sewing kit
  41. Tea lights
  42. Lighter
  43. Empty notebook
  44. Pen
  45. An interesting novel (TIP: trade with someone along your travels when you’re through reading.)
  46. Pocket-sized book of Praise 1
  47. Pocket-sized prayer book 2
  48. Laptop + charger
  49. Ipod + charger
  50. Earbuds
  51. Lap-sized harp
  52. Travel case for harp
  53. Tuner
  54. Extra strings
  55. Small waterproof toiletries bag
  56. Small container (TSA approved, no-leak and travel-safe) of olive oil
  57. Mini Doc. Bronner’s liquid soap
  58. Small container of apple cider vinegar (my conditioner)
  59. Ziplock bag with some baking soda (my shampoo)
  60. Toothbrush
  61. Tom’s toothpaste– me favorite.
  62. Floss
  63. Lavender oil
  64. Tee tree oil
  65. Diva cup
  66. Nail clipper
  67. Filer
  68. Comb
  69. Tweezer
  70. Razor (be conscious of security for this as well)
  71. 3 thick elastic hair ties/ ponytail holders
  72. Two hair clips
  73. Jewelry bag
  74. Necklace 1
  75. Necklace 2
  76. Earrings 1
  77. Earrings 2
  78. Ring
  79. Body jewelry 1
  80. Body jewelry 2
  81. Passport
  82. Birth certificate
  83. Driver’s license
  84. Insurance card
  85. Social Security card
  86. Emergency credit card
  87. Some cash
  88. Wallet
  89. My little baby teddy bear for comfort and company. {And don’t you be putting down judgments. Feeling secure is important.}

 

Notes:

All my socks, base layers, and one pair of underwear are made of merino wool, a magical material that dries quickly for overnight washing, absorbs smells for a long stretch of no stink, and is soft and breathable to keep you cool or warm in different temperatures. A perfect traveler’s material. Find out more about the unique properties of merino wool here.

I got rid of all my bills for ultimate mobility and freedom, along with wanting to experiment with money-less living. That included a phone. I used my laptop and free wifi for all my communication needs. Otherwise I wanted to truly and fully be present wherever I was. This maybe wasn’t the best for safety reasons, but it served me well for the time it lasted. I eventually got a small talk-only cell which was much more functional and useful than spotty wifi where and when it could be found.

Some of these items are a bit pricey, I know, but keep in mind that all my possessions were traded in for the things on this list.

 

If you’re thinking of going the same route, I give the following advice:

  • Quality over quantity serves well on the road.
  • Lightweight and durable items are worth every penny of the investment.
  • Multifunctional items are God’s gift to you. Try and find items that serve more than just one purpose.
  • Although not immediately obvious, you can also set your things up for multi-purpose use. For example, getting scarves in different shapes, say one square and one long, would give them more use and ability to then double into a sarong, tank, or headwear.
  • Think about your colors. Having just one outfit for the week, and a dress for the weekends made me considerate of choosing colors I could wear every day and that would provide a simple background for color pops from things like scarves and accessories.

 

More tips for the road:

  • It’s always good to keep some US dollars on you for backup and emergencies. Most places in the world will change over USD into their foreign currency.
  • Keep your cash in two different places in your bag; one you take from (your pants or jacket pocket perhaps) and one more deeply hidden spot. This way if you get pick-pocketed and stolen from, you’ll still have a backup stash.
  • Be careful if you decide to CouchSurf. Some people are just wonderful open-hearted folks who want to help out a fellow traveler, but be wary of others with ill intention, looking to take advantage of your vulnerability on the road. I can’t say it enough; and especially if you’re a solo female traveler. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be naive. Look out for yourself.
  • Same goes for hitch-hiking. Stay safe. A good way to feel out a potential ride when they pull over is instead of asking if they’re going in the direction of your destination, ask where they’re headed. That gives you a few moments to check out if the ride feels cool and also gives you the choice to opt out and simply say you’re headed somewhere else and leave.

 

Happy wanderings and peace be with you my friend!

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