“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu Or in my case a giant leap. On Christmas Day, my husband Paul and I purchased two one-way flights out of the USA. This was a gift sure to last us a lifetime. Then I took a couple more leaps. I quit my job at one of the largest book publishers in the world, sold all my furniture to the friend who took over my apartment lease in Brooklyn, waved goodbye to New York City, and walked out the door with a map of the world folded in my back pocket. I’m 29 years old, and for eight of those years, I was hunched over a computer screen for most hours of the day. A great job with a decent salary and benefits is hardly something to complain about, but there’s more, so much more to life. I want to see the world, meet new people and listen to their stories, and write some of my own. I want to be inspired every day. And why not? Now is the only time we’re ever guaranteed. This is the start of my 6-month journey backpacking Europe, Africa, and Asia. The beginning of everything. Any rituals when packing your travel bags? There’s only one philosophy here: bring only what you can carry. Staring down at my new and (for now) clean backpack, I knew I could either be frightened by the idea of bringing so little to sustain me during those chilly nights and sun soaked days, or I could embrace it. It became like a game to me. If I could only bring 3 T-shirts, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 pairs of shoes, 1 bathing suit, and 1 sleep set on my 6-month adventure, which ones would I choose? Decisions, decisions. Then I lay everything out on my bed, so I can take it all in and double check I didn’t forget anything like underwear. (Shit!) I’m a list person, so I write everything down first and check it off as I go. What do your bags look like? I spent a good while researching backpacks before I purchased one. There’s nothing more important than your backpack (okay, maybe your passport), and this is certainly not the time to be cheap. After reading the online reviews, trekking to the nearest REI to try it on for size, I went with an Osprey Farpoint 55. This cost me about $187. It fits a woman’s body, helping to distribute weight on the hips (the only time this is OK), and there’s a removable daypack. The backpack opens like a suitcase, so it’s easy to search for clothes without having to pull your entire life out of the bag because you know what you’ll need is always at the very bottom. In addition to this backpack, I carry a cross-body Fossil camel leather purse. It’s durable, comfortable, and matches everything I wear. What is a necessity to bring on a trip, fashion wise? Unfortunately, I had to leave the heels home for this trip. They didn’t make the cut. Instead, I invested in a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, a large brim sunhat, and a bright scarf (great in the mountains, on the beach, and will come in handy when we get to Morocco). What is in your toiletry bag? Oh man, what isn’t? This is where I’m carrying the most weight. Besides the basics (shampoo/conditioner/body wash/etc.), I swear by L’Oreal face wipes and a Garnier eye roller wand. I keep my makeup pretty natural, so my daily routine consists of face moisturizer, face highlighter, bronzer, mascara, and mint rose balm. But I did bring red and pink lipstick for when I want to get fancy. What do you put in your hand luggage? I am never without my travel journal, two pens, and a tube of red lipstick. I also carry an e-reader which I purchased for this trip since it’s too heavy to carry multiple books in print (my first love). What do you wear on the plane? The heaviest clothes I packed. For two reasons: to stay warm and to keep my bag small enough to carry on the plane. Jeans, a white T-shirt, hiking boots (Prada, oddly enough, and second hand), and most importantly, a pair of comfy socks. Do you bring anything to remind you of home? On the day we left the USA, my mother-in-law gave us a postcard from our hometown West Palm Beach, Florida. On it she wrote: “Just a picturesque reminder that it’s pretty wonderful back home, too.” I carry this with me in my journal and look at it every time I get homesick. Do you have any other advice for travel girls? If you travel, don’t sweat the small stuff. Things will go wrong. Things will go missing. Live in the moment and remember this is all part of the adventure. The point is to enjoy the trip, not to endure it. If you have wanderlust and find yourself putting it off, there’s no time like the present. There is only now. Don’t wait. ♥ Venessa Find Venessa at Breakingbklyn.com or on Instagram @venessacarson. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. And the best thing is, she’ll be sharing her travel advertures with us! ** Do you love traveling and would you like to give us a peek in your travel bags? Send us an email: email@example.com. We’ll tell you exactly what we need to make a great article about it.