What I Wish I Packed: A Letter to My Future Traveling-Self

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place… like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.” –Azar Nafisi

Welcome to my first-ever blog post! For those who know me, I grew up in Maryland, and then headed over to Philadelphia on a spontaneous decision to attend Temple University. After spending three of the best years of my life there, I chose to spend my final semester of college studying in London. And well… here I am. Living in Islington, London and going on a new adventure literally every day.

I have officially met London. It was an anticipated introduction, and I now consider us to be quite good friends. Since I’ve been here for a few weeks, I feel it necessary to share everything that I wish I packed with me in my two suitcases. I’m sure you can all imagine the hell that is packing for a 4-month stay in a different country. Hopefully, if you plan on traveling to Europe in the future this post will help you out a little bit.

  1. Jackets, Jackets, and more Jackets.
    Trust me, I looked up the weather forecast before I left and knew that September would be in the 60s. It just never occurred to me that 60 degrees is actually pretty freakin’ cold when you’re coming from 80 degree summer weather in America. Plus, the sun is playing hide-and-seek most of the day. The moral of the story: pack less tank tops and considerably more warmer clothing. Also, leave the shorts at home.
  1. Comfy Shoes.
    When you are walking an average of 6-8 miles a day, there is no time for blisters. If the shoes you packed aren’t comfortable, don’t bother wasting space in your suitcase for them; you won’t wear them more than once.
  1. Dresses and Heels.
    I’ll tell you right now I am not a dress-and-heels type of person, but you literally cannot step foot into a club here if you aren’t dressed to the nines. Pants and flats = no entry. I wish I were kidding. So my next stop? Shopping.
  1. Blanket or Pillow.
    Bringing a blanket or pillow from home will make your bed in a different country more comfortable and more “homey.” Plus, the plane ride won’t be as painful.
  1. More Socks and Underwear.
    Regardless of where you are, I guarantee doing laundry will be absurdly expensive. Do less by packing endless amounts.
  1. Decorations.
    I honestly love the dorm that I’m staying in, but lets be real: My room looks like a psych ward. Everything in it is white. The bed. The walls. The bathroom. The kitchen. Everything. It needs some serious color upgrades. If I had brought a bunch of pictures to cover the walls, or even a flag/tapestry, looking at my room would be more bearable.

But in all, I did a pretty good job packing. Waterproofing my shoes and buying a compact umbrella was key. Don’t ever underestimate the ability for it to go from sunshine to pouring rain in a 2-minute time span. The weather in London is absolutely crazy. Also, make sure to pack clothes that can be easily layered. You’ll be hot in the sun one minute, and the next shivering from the wind. Make sure you can take off or add layers when necessary.

Always, K.

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