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Three Weeks in Italy with Only a Backpack


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!

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Kim’s been on more than 500 magazine covers around the world; featured in six Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions, and was the exclusive face of Revlon’s Ultima II. More importantly, she’s a genuine, thoughtful woman, and like many of us, Kim Alexis has redefined herself more than once. In her no-nonsense way, Kim will share her thoughts about life, health, empty nests, redefining this time of your life, and she’ll give us a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes life as one of the world’s most iconic supermodels. Kim can also be found at

20 thoughts on “Three Weeks in Italy with Only a Backpack”

  1. 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

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

  2. 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!

    • 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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!

    • 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!

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

  5. 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.

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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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