Trip Preparation Update - 10 Days Left Packing List and Todo List

So, it’s almost time to depart. Just 10 days left in the US, and I’ll be on way for my trip and off to meet 74 strangers (hopefully soon to be some friends) to gallivant around Europe and South America. It’s a bit daunting at this point and definitely feels real. Honestly, I don’t feel like I have enough time left to do all the things I need to do so my anxiety is in overdrive. Nonetheless, the time has come.

Illness Update

For those following along with some of the subtext here on my blog or who have seen the more direct posts on Facebook this isn’t really news. I’ve been ill ever since my 2nd day in Michigan on my previous trip. Been a real pain to shake, with lots of fun stuff along the way. I finally found a specialist who was able to identify a cause for my problems and I’m well on my way to recovery. It’s now a race to see if I’ll be able to ditch the medications before I depart, because traveling with medicine is kind of a pain.

The Todo List

  • Get my Hepatitis B vaccine booster (30 day out dose, now late because of illness)
  • Configure my ER3L on my home office connection to do L2TP over IPSEC VPN and add all my devices.
  • Finalize my will and trust paperwork with my attorney (and update the beneficiaries on my insurance)
  • Fix the leak in the roof near the chimney
  • Prepare a travel packet of information, ship one copy out-of-state to my parents, and give the other copy to my long-time housemate
  • Get out of jury duty
  • Pack my bags and weigh them.
    • Checked bag cannot exceed 50 pounds (23 KG)
    • Carry-On bags cannot exceed 23 pounds (10 KG)
The Roof

So, I’ve been fighting with a leak in the roof of my house near the chimney since I returned from Colorado five months ago. I’ve now spent in excess of a thousand dollars, hired two roofing contractors, and been through multiple sleepless nights hovering my attic with a flash light watching it drip trying to figure out where it’s coming from if we haven’t managed to stop it yet. Well, after the last round of fighting with the roof I’ve now reached a point where it only leaks when it rains heavily like it did last night. Last night was extraordinarily bad for a rainstorm, as it caused both power and Internet service to be out at my house for over 4 hours in a neighborhood with buried cables and average outages being less than 5 minutes. Nonetheless, a leak is a leak. I’ve left a voicemail with the better of the two roofing contractors, we’ll see if I can get it fixed before I leave. At least I think it will hold for my return now.

The Packing List

This will only include what I plan to pack for the first part of my trip in Europe. I’m planning to return to San Antonio from Valencia, and spend 3 to 5 days preparing for South America before joining the rest of my Remote Year cohort in Mexico City. Thanks to the close geographical positioning, I’m hoping that the flight from San Antonio to Mexico City will be relatively inexpensive since I’ll be picking up the tab for that myself. My primary motivation is that I think the things I want with me will be quite a bit different for the different regions. For one thing, I’m not really worried about mosquitos in Europe as much as I am in South America, and for another I have been advised by several people that the baggage weight restrictions are more stringent and the likelihood of property theft higher in South America. This means I plan to leave the bulk of my camera gear and non-repellent clothing behind and take a smaller, more compact set of gear with me to South America.

Note, I know that from an opsec perspective posting the contents of my bags publicly is maybe not the brightest idea. On the other hand, there’s nothing here that I don’t necessarily want to have be public and perhaps sharing my packing list will help some of my companions. The likelihood of someone both reading this post and being able to connect it with me in person in order to commit preplanned theft seems relatively low. Beyond that, I’m taking specific and generally relevant theft precautions as part of my travels.

Carry-On Bag 1: Pacsafe UltimateSafe Z28 Backpack

The theory here is that if all else fails, as long as I keep ahold of Bag 1 (which is pretty much always going to be on my person), I can survive. It has the items I need to continue doing my job, recover from any other losses if necessary, and a spare change of clothes that could last through a few days with some judicious sink-washing.

Carry-On Bag 2: Pelican iM2500 Storm
Checked-Bag 1 (and only): TravelPro Crew 9 29" Hardside Spinner
Boarding Jacket ExOfficio Round-Trip Convertible Jacket


That’s the whole kitten caboodle. Hopefully I fall within the weight limits and I can get all the items on my todo list completed. Hope this helps somebody else out when preparing. As the rule says, always take less than you think you need. I kind of went the opposite route, I figure it’s better safe than sorry and to always be prepared. We’ll see how much stuff I end up dumping when I get back from Europe to pack for my South America leg of the journey. At the very least I plan to be pretty comfortable in Europe with a way to make coffee, the proper gear to look sharp every day, and my portable office environment on the go.

Edit 05/21/2016

I am marking off some items that I need to ditch in order to hit the weight limit. See my newer posts for details.