For fortunate few, life isn’t complete without a backpacking trip through Europe. This right of passage is believed to further maturation process of college students, according to sociologists. Of course, others have opined that copious amounts of alcohol, sun and Amsterdam have something to do with it. Regardless of your purpose, you still have to figure out what to take.
Backpack – Getting In Touch With Your Inner Mule
Obviously, first critical item is your backpack. While one doesn’t need to buy $10,000 Himalaya Turbo Pack, you should also avoid $12 blue light special. So, how do you pick a happy middle ground?
The best method for picking a backpack involves three phone books. Select/swipe/borrow three yellow page books from neighbors/friends/enemies and hit your local sporting goods store. With books, head to backpackapalozza section of store and pick out a few sturdy/cool/outrageous rigs. Stuff phone books in, adjust straps and go for a walk. Now break out into a run to simulate future dashes for trains/ ferries/ toilets and make sales people nervous. These steps should quickly reveal perfect pack.
Now, you may have read other publications suggesting highly technical ways to select a backpack. Trust me, until you have run for last ferry from Italy to Greece, you have no idea how to pick a pack. The three phone book test solves this nicely.
What To Take
There are a few mantras that every person should chant before packing for Europe. These chants were developed originally by little known, Oh-My-Back Monks of Southeast Asia. The “OMB” Monks were known for traveling half way to far off cities, turning around, returning home and then traveling full way to said cities. Religious experts opined as to deep metaphysical meaning of such trips. They were later embarrassed when monks revealed back and forth nature of trips was due to forgetting something, often whether they had turned off iron. Nonetheless, such chants have become guiding light of experienced backpackers.
Let us slowly and clearly chant together,
“I will pack only that which will not result in me being hunched over like a Sherpa.”
“Remember, I can pick it [(lower voice) toothpaste, book, soap] up over there.”
“I will not stuff thy pack to point of bursting, for thy damn zippers always break/get snagged/refuse to work.”
“I will learn humility through wearing incredibly wrinkled clothes and shall not bring an iron.”