Traveling the World with a Backpack – Minimalist Packing

My first big travel was last year with Contiki. I had one backpack and one luggage bag. It was for a 2-week trip to Western Europe. I brought clothes for only about a week hoping that I would be able to do laundry. Unfortunately, we were moving to different cities each day. It was near impossible to have laundry done. The only time we could do laundry was when we had a 2-day stopover in Rome. I hated bringing 2 bags all over and wished there was a way I could travel lighter.

The next couple of trips, I was visiting the US for almost every month in Q4. Each time I would work on reducing the number of stuff I would bring. I scaled down to a carry-on sized bag. It was a hassle of lugging it around and I had to check that in. Then, at a Zapier Onboarding in Mountain View, I saw a fellow colleague only had 1 backpack for the entire week.

So I actually saw someone in real life who did it. Traveling with only 1 backpack. At this point, I’ve already signed with We-Roam to travel the world starting May 2017. I began researching for the perfect bag that would let me do this. I needed something that is durable and practical that fit my lifestyle.

Finding the right backpack

Based on my extensive traveling in 2016, I already knew what I actually needed in a bag:

  • Padded laptop compartment with super easy access
  • Side panel for water bottles
  • Compression straps to keep things secure
  • Chest strap
  • Large compartment for all clothes
  • Organized compartment for all the electronics
  • Outside compartment to easily store small items (watch, wallet, phone, passport, belt, etc) when going through security checkpoints.

After few days of extensive search, I found a bag that fits. The Osprey Nebula Day Pack. Before going on my worldwide trip, I had a 1 week-long company retreat in January. This is the perfect time to test things out. And you know what? It was easier than expected. From then on, I’m convinced that no matter where I went it will work. The only caveat was to make sure at least stay a few days in one place. This is to make sure I had enough time for laundry.

Some YouTube videos
Osprey Nebula Day Pack
Osprey Nebula – The perfect travel backpack?

My round-the-world trip begins! No checked luggage. Just this one carry-on backpack. #DigitalNomad

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My Packing List

Clothes:
1 x Sweater
1 x Swimming trunk
1 x Jeans
2 x Socks
4 x T-Shirt
5 x Underwear

…the list above excludes the current set of clothes I’m wearing. I’ve also accumulated a few extra items (t-shirts, perfumes, magnets, etc) and they all still fit.

Electronics:
1 x Macbook Pro 15″ with UK charger
1 x USB charger
1 x World travel adapater
1 x 10400mAh Xiaomi Powerbank
2 x Micro USB charging/data cable
1 x Micro USB to USB-C adapter
1 x USB-C charging/data cable
1 x Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless Headphones
1 x Sony earphones

Misc:
1 x Rayban sunglasses
1 x Drawstring bag
1 x Laundry bag
1 x Thin synthetic blanket
1 x Flip flops
2 x 50ml perfume
2 x Disposable toiletry kits
2 x Sleeping masks
3 x Plastic bags

It’s a very liberating experience. You can actually live your life and travel anywhere with a backpack. Will I keep doing it? Definitely! I still feel I have too much and are looking into no-wash type of clothes and travel jeans. I’ll overhaul my packing list for next year but for now, it’s good enough.