— Life —

Three Weeks in Italy with Only a Backpack

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I am leaving for a three-week trip to Italy, traveling to five different cities, and I have decided to take up a challenge: To bring only a backpack and a purse! That means only taking the most necessary items with me. I am, literally, weighing every decision and let me tell you, I have been agonizing over what I can’t live without and what I have to let stay behind.

It is really challenging me by helping me define what I think I need to hang on to, to feel more secure.

For instance, I am bringing only a bare minimum of makeup and absolutely nothing to “do” my hair with! No curling iron and no straightener. (They are kinda heavy.) I’ve cut my hair to a shorter length, knowing it would be easier to take care of. I also know I have my wigs if I need longer hair when I come home. I also let go of the mindset that I have to look a certain way to be beautiful. I  just want to have a good time and not feel pressured to look a certain way.

I stopped getting tips on my nails since I’m not sure how to get a “fill” or how to describe gel, verses acrylic, in Italian! You know I can’t make three weeks without a fill, so now my nails are natural.

Packing was challenging. Three weeks before my trip, I started with three piles:

  • Which bras were the most comfortable and how many would do?
  • Tee shirts that weren’t too colorful and bright for Europe.
  • Clothes that are light and dry quickly and a jacket I could use both during the day and for evening strolls.

I am bringing three pairs of shoes. I found a pair of walking shoes that are semi-waterproof, but also light and comfortable; a pair of black, lightweight sneakers and a pair of evening flats.

It was interesting to take stock of what items I can’t live without and find others that were useful in more than one area. I have the basics like toothpaste, pain reliever and bandaids, but I’m taking oils that are also beneficial. I have a small vial of oil for my face—and hair—as I’m not sure I’ll find conditioner. I also wanted to take an essential oil that was an antiseptic, and had a variety of uses, so I chose Tea Tree oil and lavender. The lavender also helps me to relax.

So this trip will be an adventure in more ways than one. I am leaving behind things that make me happy or feel good about myself, and venturing out with the bare minimum as I concentrate on new and wonderful sights and culture. I plan on enjoying things that are not in my comfort zone and trying new things for personal growth. What a trip!


  • Esther Zimmer May 11, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Have a wonderful trip, Kim! I think it’s fantastic that you’re travelling with as little as possible, it will free you both physically and mentally. I did a two-month trip through Latin America and only took the bare necessities, we’re so keen to believe that less choice is limiting, but I found that it gave me an enormous sense of freedom. Esther xx

    • Kim Alexis May 11, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Hey Ester, I am actually back! I had a great time.. I will post a followup blog about the trip..

  • sherry May 11, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Hi Kim, I am going on my first backpacking, 3 day trip, this weekend. About 25 miles. It’s funny but I think I need just as much for 3 days as I would need for a couple of weeks, sleeping bag, tent, small stove, food etc. I love the outdoors but I also love rocking a great pair of heels and skinny jeans. love doing and being both. Have a great trip!

    • Kim Alexis May 11, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks Sherry…I am actually back already. I will post about the trip…definately got sick of the same clothes and won’t event look at them now!

  • 1010 Park Place May 11, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I’ve gone into the jungles of Mexico and Central America with rock hammers, picks and ropes, where you’re besieged by mosquitos and drenched in sweat in the first five minutes, but I’ve never backpacked except for short hikes. We’ll be interested to see if you have any “ah-ha” moments with your bare essentials. xoxox, Brenda

    • Kim Alexis May 11, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Ah-ha moments coming your way!

  • Barbara Hammond May 11, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I’m not sure I could do it, but it sounds like you’ve figured it out for you. Can’t wait to hear what you missed the most and if you took something you didn’t really need. Enjoy!

    • Kim Alexis May 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      I took 2 skirts and the wrong jacket and not enough pants. I would have been better off with black waterproof boots even for the dinners. I would walk 30 minutes in the rain to dinner!

      • Barbara Hammond May 11, 2016 at 5:09 pm

        But, you probably couldn’t predict the weather ahead of time. Looking forward to your follow up!

    • Kim Alexis May 11, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      I am back and will write a follow up blog… thanks for the feedback.

  • Jen Lawrence May 11, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Have an amazing trip! I’m sure you will have some wonderful adventures to share on your return.

  • Rena May 11, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I’m so jealous! Sounds like a trip of a life time.

    • Kim Alexis May 11, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Hey Rena,
      I am back and it was great…I am writing a follow up blog. Don’t be jealous:)

  • paulakiger May 11, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Honestly, it sounds like the ultimate freedom. We look forward to hearing your takeaways!

    • Kim Alexis May 11, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Hey Paula,
      i will post a follow up blog..

  • Jessica Bailey May 11, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Safe journey, Kim. I lived in Sicily for two years while serving in the military and I’ve travelled back since. I haven’t tried the backpacking though.

    • Kim Alexis May 11, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Backpacking for 2 years would be too long for me and send me over the edge. 🙂

      • Jessica Bailey May 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm

        Didn’t backpack during the two years I was there. Just lived there. Plenty of hikes, but no real backpacking.

  • Elaine @ OMG Lifestyle Blog May 11, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Kim – You are far more gutsy than me. I can’t imagine traveling without my hair dryer! I have, though, learned to pack much lighter over the years. It is amazing how little we really do need. Can’t wait to hear about your experience.

  • Susan Tolles May 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful adventure, Kim! I have dragged way too much luggage across Italy, and wished I’d had only a carry-on. You are taking it even one step better! This is a great way to approach life in general, paring down to what ‘s really important and getting rid of the unnecessary baggage. Just think how much easier it would be to get dressed every morning if we only had 10 things to choose from! And no one would love us any less.

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