Packing and what I learned about it!

First of all I’m someone who does think you can travel for a long time with only a carryon IF you’re in one climate. If not I don’t know because i’ve never done it. On my trip I started with 2 bags. One with all of my clothes stuff and one that had my “carry on” stuff. I did end up with another but I’ll get into that. Also the clothes what I brought part is more for girls although I’m sure anyone could adapt it. Again this is just my opinion. This is largely what I’d bring next time more than what I did.

I’ll start with the carry on one.  I also had a smaller purse for going out and about.

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Packed and ready to leave Barcelona this is everything I had at this point. It expanded quickly but this is mainly it.

CARRY ON

I ended up using 2 different bags as my “Carry on” for me that meant a bigger purse that had some way of securing shut. The first one I had was a big black bag with a zipper and a button so it could fold over. It actually broke in Barcelona and I ended up buying a new one, a big tan boxy bag similar to this. This is the bag that I used for the majority of my trip.

What was in these bags was the stuff that I’d use when I was in transit between places along with other things that needed to be easily accessable or that I wanted to keep an eye on.

These are the main things in this bag:

  • My computer and it’s charger
  • My phone charger
  • Neck Pillow
  • A fleece blanket that I rolled up
  • A magazine or book
  • My Journal
  • First aid things (Medicines and Bandaids)

Other things like snacks were often tossed in here as well.

I have a 13inch Macbook Air. I loved having it with me. I did. However. If you’re not blogging or are as addicted to the internet as I am I’d go without it. Your phone generally has enough capabilities where you wont need a computer. But if you’re bringing one there are a few things to be aware of. First off I just weighed my computer, case, cords, and phone together and it equals out to be a little over 4 pounds. And that’s without any adapters, headphones, cameras, or anything else. Yes it doesn’t sound like much. But over time it gets to be a bit annoying. On top of that you’ve got to make sure it’s safe. It’s much less of a big deal to leave clothes unlocked than a computer. You need to be much more aware of leaving this sort of thing out. Meaning don’t. Don’t leave it out. Just don’t.

The other thing to know about electronics is that cords and adapters are the most likely things that you’ll lose. Be prepared that you’ll have to buy one or two. I actually lost both my phone cord and my plug adapter at the same time which led me to having to walk around looking for an apple store to buy a new cord for my computer and phone and a thing to plug the phone into. I ended up buying the travel adapter set for macbooks which is 29$ on their website. It came with all sorts of plugs for my computer. I’d actually reccomend it if you travel internationally a lot. It came with 7 little plug things that I can use forever. Do keep in mind that they have different plugs. The amount of people who complained about forgetting adapters and had to go out and buy them was absurd. In europe it’s two round pegs. England’s are different. If you’re going other places they might even have other different types.

That’s my elecronics advice. I had a point and shoot camera with me that I used maybe 3 times, then lost the cord and never used it again. Honestly unless you’re huge into photography don’t worry too much. My phone took good enough pictures. One of the guys I was with in Croatia and Hungary had a gopro and those I’d reccomend. I really want one. Also bring extra earbuds. They’re small and get lost easily. Also it’s nice if someone doesn’t have any to lend them some. Even if they’re the free tour ones you get. I kept them. Easy and nice to offer to people.

I do reccomend having some kind of pillow and blanket if you’re someone who wants to sleep on trains or other places. Also it’s nice to have something soft for the beds in hostels and the memory foam pillow I had was great until I lost it but that was my bad. A book or something is also nice for trains and going to bed as is having a journal or something. First aid stuff was in here just so it was easy to get to!

A very annoyed me on the train platform wating to go to Paris. I don't know if I was more annoyed that I had that bag or that my mom insisted on taking a hundred pictures.
A very annoyed me on the train platform wating to go to Paris. I don’t know if I was more annoyed that I had that bag or that my mom insisted on taking a hundred pictures.

MAIN BAG

Both bags I used were from Rick Steves and while they worked I wouldn’t neccessarily reccomend them for future use. I started with a backpack that was just too big for me. It made my balance bad and was just too frustrating. So when my mom left to go back home I traded herr bads along with sending some stuff home with her. This meant that I ended up with a rolling bag. For some people this may work better. However aside from the awesome callouses I don’t think it was worth it. It was easy because I didn’t have to carry everything. I could just put the straps around the handle and balence everything on top of it with little to know problem. However. Pulling a rolling bag is annoying. And you pack it heavier because it’s not on your back meaning when you have to lug it onto trains or up flights of stairs to your hostel or store it on a plane it gets to be a problem. Also. The wheels are no longer aligned so it tips over and leads to a lot of frustration. I yelled at it alot and kinda wanted to light it on fire by the end. Although I never did.

What I do reccomend is trying bags on and finding one that fits and is comfortable. Also a nice one should last a while!!! I would reccomend using packing cubes and ziplocks. it just keeps things a little more organized but after a while you should repack because at least for me every time I opened it it exploded. This list is close to what I brought for a 2 month trip.

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At Mont Saint Michel with my first bag. Heavy. Pinched my shoulders and I’m leaning forward to keep from falling The black bag is my first that broke 2 weeks later.

What I’d reccomend (Not what I brought)

  • Undergarmets, I reccomend black and nothing you care about. I got a lot from target. I wouldn’t reccomend lace because even though it dries fast they don’t last long. Also not cotton because they take longer to dry. As for bras I had 3. Didn’t always wear them. Just bring things that are comfortable for you. Honestly one or 2 would probably be fine. Done talking about this. Also don’t forget this.
  • Swimwear, I had 2 bikinis. I mostly wore one of them. Unless you’re swimming everyday one is probably fine. I actually had planned to buy one on the trip but never found one I liked enough.
  • Pants, I had one pair of jeans. Comfortable. Good.
  • Shorts, I had two pairs. One dark one lighter. They worked well. Wouldn’t change them except maybe getting a size smaller. Also had a pair of cheershorts that I wore to sleep and around
  • Shirts, Go cheap. It’s easy to find more. Mine were 3$ from forever 21 and I wore them out pretty quickly. I did buy more as I went. I had a few other shirts, crop tops, a long sleeve, a band shirt. Just bring things you feel comfortable in but don’t mind losing. And keep it to probably 3-5 more if they’re small
  • Sweaters, I originally brought one and sent it home. I had two long sleeve buttonups that worked fine although next time I’d bring one just for cooler days or in hostels
  • Dresses/Rompers, I started with a lot. Ended with alot of different ones. My advice is to find one long one that you like in a LIGHT fabric can be either a romper or dress. Mine was too heavy and I didn’t end up bringing the dress home. Also black is nice but it gets hot fast. as for short dresses I started with one. I ended with 4. I prefered them and as soon as I had more they were all I really wore.
  • Sleepwear, Bring whatever you like. One pair is probably enough.
  • Shoes, less is better I had 2 pairs. a pair of knock off birkenstocks and these. I originally brought tennis shoes but they hurt my feet so I got rid of them quickly. I was comfortable in these. Also bring flip flops.
  • Going out wear, I bought one nice skirt that I could wear when going out. One or 2 things that are a little dressier is more than enough. This is really optional
  • Toilitries. Bring whatever you use. Keep it minimal. Anything else you want you can buy later. If you want to know about the makeup I’d reccomend I’ll do that another time
  • A towel. A travel one is nice but really any are fine. I had a travel one and bought one in Croatia.

My only real advice when it comes to this is bring what you know you need and if you think of something later buy it there. They have stores. It’s easy and especially in Europe there’s an H&M everywhere. You have options. I bought a lot of stuff.

Also for toiletries if you’re going for a while buy them when you get there. Especially if you’re not flying. It’s fun to find them. Mine I got in London and they lasted perfectly until the end of my trip. Same for soap and that kind of thing.

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My second “carry on bag” with my wheeled bag, Hat (I miss this hat) and day bag

DAY BAG/PURSE

This is where I kept things like my money, passport, phone, sunglasses, anti itch creme (misquitoes love me), and other daily needs. I suggest a coin purse for money and getting anti RFID pouches for your passport and creditcards with chips. My bags were crossover that were pretty small. It worked for me. I usually had one of those loose knitted grocery bags in there as well which made for a good beach bag!

Next time I think I’m going to have a different bag that’ll fit my computer as well and cut way back on the makeup, be more selective about what I bring and think more about what I’ll actually wear.

This was it! My 2nd post in a week. Go me!!! I’m pulling together pictures and video from the trip that I’m going to edit into one thing and then put other pictures up on here soon! If you think of something you want to hear about let me know!

Thanks!

Maddy

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It’s been a while!

I’m sorry It’s been so long! I’m nearing the end of my trip and my wifi hasn’t been great! I thought tonight I’d give a small run downs of some highs and lows, favorites, and that sort of thing.

  1. Favorite Place/What I’ve liked
    • I don’t know that I can narrow it down but my favorite places for Art were Paris, Florence, and as of today Venice is on that list as well.
    • For architecture I think Barcelona takes it!
    • For parties Barcelona took that as well.
    • For just in general I’ve loved everywhere I’ve been. Lisbon and the Cinque Terre were so relaxed. Madrid had amazing culture and I made some amazing friends. London was so amazing in everyway. Again it was the feel of the place and the things around.
  2. Favorite Views
    • All of my favorite views involved climbing up to the tops of Churches. I’ve done this now in 3 different cities.
      • First was Saint Paul’s in London which I posted about here
      • Next was La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona which is a Gaudi church that is still being built over 100 years after it was started. The church was beautiful and the view from the top of the Nativity facade was amazing. Not to mention just the architecture of the church in general
      • The most recent one that I climbed up was Il Duomo (or The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) in Florence, Italy. This is the biggest church in Florence with 463 steps to the top and while that wasn’t a very good day that was a highlight of my trip so far. The views were incredible!
  3. Favorite Hostels!
    • I’ve had pretty good luck picking hostels! A few weren’t amazing but many have been!
      1. Sant Jordi Rock Palace in Barcelona
        • INCREDIBLE. I stayed here twice. It was clean. Great location. Fun people and Just overall an amazing place to stay. Every night you get free entry to one bar and one club and even before that it’s just an amazing place to have fun! Also it’s next to a 24hour market so no matter what time you want ice cream or chips or whatever they’re there!
      2. Generator Venice
        • This is where I am currently. It’s another place where the people are really cool and it’s got amazing views. A kitchen and a bar downstairs. Just overall it’s been a good experience.
      3. TOC Hostel Madrid
        • Honestly I’m putting this here for 3 reasons. I made some amazing friends. The bed was comfortable. The showers were magical. The rest of it kinda was mediocre. It wasn’t set up well with it feeling a lot more like a hotel than a hostel. It took a long time to make the friends that I did make. The lounge is also a few rooms connected and it felt too closed off for me. However if you’re in a group I can see it being better!
  4. Overall High
    • This whole trip has been incredible. I’ve loved meeting so many people from all over the place and I know I’ve made at least a few friends that I’ll be in touch with for a long time to come I hope!!! I’m excited for the next 16 days (That’s all I have left!!) and seeing more places and meeting more people!
  5. Low
    • Well I’ve been having really bad allergies and I hurt my shoulder at Il Duomo… But if you want that story I’ll tell you another time.

What I want is some questions from you! On here the first time you comment I have to approve it. It’s just a precaution however after your first comment I don’t have to approve it anymore!  If you don’t want to do that feel free to message me on Facebook or comment on my instagram or just text me!

I’m setting up a flikr now so that I can post all my pictures somewhere more public and easier than on here… if you want the most up to date where I am when check out my Instagram. I post almost everyday at least once a day. I think I’ve only missed 2 or 3 days total.

I need to go to bed seeing as it’s 1:30am here in Venice. Tomorrow I head to Bari, Italy to catch a ferry to Dubrovnik, Croatia (Where Game of Thrones is currently being filmed!).

I’ll post again when I get good internet again!

Maddy

Halfway through!!!

Soon I’ll be posting some pictures and a full runthrough of what I’ve been up to on the first half of this trip! But I wanted to do a quick post thanking everyone who’s been reading this and everyone who’s supporting me in every way! I’m missing home a lot but this has really been the most incredible time of my life!

Tomorrow morning (8:30ish ugh) I’m heading towards Nice for the night where I’m staying in a REAL hotel so I’ll have a bit of privacy, which I’m excited for after nearly 3 weeks of sharing rooms… really it’s 5 weeks though because even at first I shared with Suzanne! (Love you).

The other change that’s been made is that instead of going to Greece I’m going to be going to Croatia! While I’m sad that I wont be able to see Athens and Santorini I’m also very excited to be going to the place where they have been filming Game of Thrones!!! They also might actually be filming while I’m there which just makes me Giddy. I should start getting ready for dinner or something. Heading to bed early today which everyone knows is weird for me. But I’ve got to head out early tomorrow.

Maddy

A Little Bit of Rambling and Homesickness

I think the hardest part of this trip hasn’t been being alone or away from home although both those things are hard. It’s been falling in love with a city or the people and then after a few days having to leave again. Tomorrow (technically already today) night I’m heading  to the airport to fly back to Madrid for the night and while I’m very excited to be back in Spain I’ve really liked Portugal. Lisbon is so laid back and the people are friendly. It’s somewhere I could see myself staying for a while.

I’m glad to be heading back to Spain where I’m going to meet up with Jess and get Tapas and Churros and then on Sunday I’m going to go to the Prado and/or the Rene Sofia before heading back down to Barcelona for a few days before heading off through southern France to Italy and the Cinque Terre.

I keep meeting people who are so shocked that I’m here alone. Everyone keeps saying that they could never do this and honestly I didn’t think I’d be able to! But it’s so freeing and it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. Yes I’m one of the youngest people that are doing this (Especially for this long) but being here isn’t like being alone back home. You meet so many people in Hostels and even when you don’t it’s as easy as hearing someone speaking english and asking where they’re from or if you can use their map for a second.

Lately I have been missing home a lot. I think it’s mostly because I haven’t been feeling too good and that’s been hard. Normally I’d cuddle up in bed and do nothing all day. Maybe make my moms go get me chips and pop and we’d watch movies together or eat junk food. And while I could stay in bed all day here it’s a bigger deal. I mean you only have so long in one place and the more you don’t leave the room the less you can see. There’s always more to see, more that you want to see. I think what’s made it easier is having my parents there to Skype or talk on the phone with, friends texting me, and having this blog to express myself when I find I have something to say. It’s been good having a way to keep in touch with everyone because I start to get sad when I’m feeling alone then I get a text or a phone call and it’s enough to make this feel worth it. It’s all going to end up being a story I can tell for the rest of my life.

I should get some sleep I have to check out of my Hostel in about 7 hours. If you’ve got skype you should message me!

Maddy

So many descriptors for how I feel.

According to WebMD I’ve been exhibiting many of the signs of heat exhaustion over the last three days. This has led me to feeling pretty cruddy and I haven’t been enjoying Lisbon as much as I’d wanted to. I have gotten a few things done. I’ve gotten lost some more. Got Nick his Portuguese Magic cards. Bought a new purse because mine broke. And a hat because sun hurts me. Went to an okay museum called MUDE (Not Nude which I was trying to find on the map only to find out that I was very very wrong). Eaten some more at the cool food court place. OH and gotten lost more. OH and Vanilla ice cream and Lemon sorbet is officially my favorite ice cream combo ever.

The Museum is focused on Design, both interior and fashion, and it’s free so I thought It’d be something good and maybe I’d find AC. I didn’t find AC. The Museum was not bad it just had the potential to be so much more. to go into more detail. The building is an old bank which was pretty cool except that it really felt like they just gutted the place apart from a few railings and desks then shoved “historical” stuff into it.

The ground floor had designs going through the years which again could’ve been amazing if they’d given more insight than a long paragraph that no one was reading and then just put some stuff on a pedestal with no real reason besides that they were from the same 20 year period. They did have some cool things but if they’d used the room to it’s full potential it could’ve been amazing.

There was a pretty cool exhibit in the basement which was colorful and showed one designer, Christian Lacroix’s work throughout the years. It was great except that when I picked up the big thick laminated descriptions that were set out so you can WALK AROUND WITH THEM I wanted to read it from the beginning and the guy working scolded me for wanting to start over.  He then clarified that he just meant I couldn’t leave the area with it. Which I never intended. Really he just pissed me off so I put it down and left that area. Maybe I should’ve stayed and just done what I first intended but instead I walked up to the 2nd floor (still hoping maybe I’d find AC or a bench) and there was a pretty cool

Europeans number floors weird so the basement is -1, the ground floor is 0, what American’s would call the 2nd floor they call 1, and so on. I’ll be using the European way because that’s what I’ve gotten used to.

So on the 1st floor was a admittedly interesting floor with interior design stuff like a chair made out of cardboard. Not like a normal chair it was all curly and cool, probably my favorite thing in the whole museum. And a table that when the chairs were pushed in it looked like a cube with murals on the sides and you could barely tell where the chairs were. They also had portraits of architects which would’ve been cooler if they included a description of buildings they designed.

The top floor had things all made by Portuguese designers and admittedly by this point I was feeling pretty sick and out of it so I didn’t look very much. I quickly headed downstairs and found water and headed back to the hostel for a nap.

I think the coolest thing about the Museum was the building. As haphazard as it was it was cool to look at and i wish they had used it more to their advantage.

I’m going to try and sleep now because it’s almost 3am (I slept a lot all day okay?!) or maybe I’ll watch a bit more netflix.

Missing home a lot right now!

Maddy.

I flew!

Two days in a row. I’m on a roll!!!

Today I left Madrid and took my first solo flight EVER. It was an hour from Madrid to Lisbon and I basically fell asleep as soon as I sat down and woke up as we were getting ready to land.

What I’ve learned about Lisbon so far is:

  1. There are A LOT of hills
  2. It’s smaller than I expected.
  3. It’s gorgeous
  4. The weather is perfect. Not scalding like Madrid but not cold either.

So far I’ve seen the Atlantic ocean (Technically the Rio Tejo), a flea market, a few cool statues, an inside fruit market with a big foodcourt, A street that is literally pink, and taken a nap. For less than 12 hours in Portugal that feels like a good start!

Tomorrow I think I’m going to go to see the Tower of Belem and maybe look for the castle here which I couldn’t find today. It’s a hike up but I think i’ll enjoy it.

I walked 8.9miles today (14.4km) so I’m heading to bed pretty early.

Talk tomorrow I hope!

Maddy

What I’ve learned after a week alone in Spain.

Admittedly I’ve not really been alone. But after over a week in hostels I’ve started to feel like an adult now.

At first I kept finding I had nothing really to say here. In Barcelona I did learn a lot and it was gorgeous. I loved everything about it so much in fact that I’m going back in less than a week and I’m very excited. But when I first got there it was like  being dropped into the deep end. I was somewhere where I didn’t speak the language at all and while everyone understands Spanish… I never took Spanish. I took French. So that led to problems. But really when I got there I was still depending on people in a way. Not to take care of me or anything. But in the way that I felt weird going to dinner alone or going to see sites without people. Now after a  week I’ve started to get what people mean about feeling in charge. I’ve gotten over that fear of being alone and  realized that there are so many people to talk to.

I have gotten a little homesick a few times but mainly that’s just when I’m wanting to ask someone (Mainly my moms) a question and I realize they’re sleeping or out doing something and all of the sudden I miss home so much. But it soon passes. Especially since I’ve got Skype so I talk to them a lot anyways.

Making friends while travelling is one of the oddest things. Within 10 minutes of meeting someone you know so much about them and what they like or don’t. You’ve learned where they’re from. If they’re alone. Where they’ve been or going. It’s like you learn so much more within a night or two than back home you learn in a week or two. and you’ve got your starter topic. I mean you basically start every conversation the same. It goes something like this.

You hear someone speaking english!

“Hey! Where are you from?”

“I’m from -enter country here-“

“What part?”

“-place-“

“Cool! How long have you been here? Are you alone? Where did you come from/where are you heading to next? How long are you travelling?”

After a week you have the routine down pretty well. It’s when you get deeper than that that all of the sudden you’re hanging out having dinner or what have you. I’ve personally already made so many friends from all over the place. It’s fun hearing the accents and the different ways that people say things. From pronunciation to the actual word for things like stove (or hob apparently) or bathroom. Over the last few days in Madrid I’ve been hanging out with two Canadian guys (Everyone starts to be defined by where they’re from) and a girl from Northern England.

Yesterday we went out for Tapas, which is basically little appetizers or dishes which are usually served with drinks, often they’re on bread, at a market near the hostel. The day before that we went out at night and found a concert thing although I was tired so I headed back early.

Today the boys went to a bull fight while I backed out. While me and Jess, who has just moved to Madrid for school, went out shopping. We got some food, shopped some more, then decided we were going to go get pasta to make at the hostel. We got the pasta, some sauce and cheese. We returned to the hostel to find out that our kitchen didn’t have a stove. We looked up online how to make pasta without a stove. Deciding the microwave was the way to go we put some pasta in a bowl with water and threw it in. After taking a minute to figure out how the microwave worked we added two minutes… we did this about 5 times. Eventually it was done. however that was about three tiny “nests” of pasta. About half a cereal bowl. So we filled up two more bowls with water and pasta and popped them into the oven. We then ate the microwave pasta with our sauce (VERY GOOD) and waited. And waited. Until finally it looked done. There was some troubles with there not being enough water and some pasta getting a little toasted. But after about half an hour we had more pasta. It was weird. The texture was off. But if you’re ever stuck with only a microwave or a oven you can make pasta… although I’d stick with the microwave.

On Tuesday I’m heading for Portugal. I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much my parents keep saying to post more but I keep spacing. Feel free to pester me with questions! Also sorry I haven’t been taking many pictures but I’ll upload some from Sagrada Famillia soon!

Missing everyone!

Maddy

Because I’ve been told I’m not posting enough

I’ve got skype here and I’m currently Skyping my mom who’s in Seattle and because she wanted some pictures I’m going to post a few here and I’ll post more later today or tomorrow. These were taken at Hampton court which is Henry VIII’s palace. These were from day two in London.

I did it!

today I officially graduated from high school. It only took 5 years and more than a few all nighters. Graduating is a huge deal and now the feelings are rushing in about what is to come. It was one of the things that I have been worrying about over the last few months. So I guess now there’s only one thing to think about. 

I think the interesting thing about the anticipation of this trip is the way my excitement changes. Don’t get me wrong. I am excited. But this is the first time I’m really going to be on my own. After these first two weeks I’m going to be alone. At this point in my life the longest I’ve been away from home at one time is two weeks and even then I knew some people or at least the place I was going to be. This is the first real step at me becoming an adult and that is pretty scary. 

One minute I’m all excitement and can’t contain it. Believe me. It’s all I’ve been talking about and counting down to. The next I’m freaking out and just nervous  because this is a big thing.

I’ll write more tomorrow. Now I’m going to go to bed for the first time as a high school graduate. 

Maddy