The 20-Item Traveler and Other Things

I just returned from ten days back in my hometown in Indiana. It was so lovely seeing my family and friends, but I am glad to be back into my routine. I think that’s how any trip goes.

I got to experience the familiar, inconsistent Indiana weather: a mix of hot, cold and perfectly pleasant days. So of course I packed appropriately, right?

Wrong. Why did I think a light sweater would serve as a coat on the 40 degree days? LA must be getting to me.

What I packed

I tried to keep it simple for the trip since my husband and I each only brought backpacks and then shared a checked bag. I actually managed to keep my clothes at under 20 items. I did have to borrow a jacket for the 40-degree day we had, but other than that I had everything I needed.

I packed:

  • 1 Sweater
  • 1 Scarf (the only one I own – it doubles as a blanket and travel pillow)
  • 1 Purse
  • 1 Running spandex capri
  • 2 Sofee shorts
  • 2 Running/pajama shirts
  • 2 Pairs of jeans
  • 4 Shirts
  • 2 Camisoles
  • 3 Dresses (including my Versalette)
  • Underwear and makeup, but I’ll spare you those details

I also brought my laptop, which was fortunate because the clarity of a different space allowed me to make a few breakthroughs in my work.

The most important pieces

Out of everything, there were two pieces that I couldn’t have done without.

My scarf – I adore this scarf. It’s big enough to cover most of my body as a blanket if I need it too, and it’s been my travel pillow every time I’m on a plane. When it’s not around my neck, it’s laid out on our bed at home since it has a beautiful, colorful butterfly design on it. My brother got it for me from Puerto Rico 7 or 8 years ago and it has a few holes in it, but it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

The newest addition to my wardrobe is my Versalette, and this is the first time I was able to travel with it. The Versalette is a convertible piece of clothing that can take any shape – dresses, skirts, tops, scarves, even a bag. I got so many compliments on it, and it’s literally (and I mean really literally) the most comfortable piece of clothing I’ve ever owned.

Now that I’m back

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind, but I am so happy to be back on the blog and back to work.

I have an announcement coming soon – probably in the next post or two – that LA-area folks will find interesting.

Until then though, what are your travel essentials?

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16 thoughts on “The 20-Item Traveler and Other Things

    • I love layering! Although I didn’t have nearly enough layers for some of the days…It’s something I like doing, but maybe need a little more practice with because I can come up with some pretty strange combinations.

  1. Just this year I started getting better at packing for travel. For our trip to Greece this year, I packed 2 jumpsuits, 2 t-shirts, one pair of shorts, one sweater that I used to cover myself in the way there because we drove all night, one jacket and one pair of jeans- just in case it got cold but I didn’t end up needing those and one bathing suit. I didn’t missed a thing to be honest.

  2. I’m also a layering girl, usually sticking to two or three colors so everything goes with everything. The whole minimal thing struggles when I get to the shoe stage though! We always do so many different things, I end up with dinner shoes, warm slippers, cool sandals, walking boots and invariably wellies too for those long, wet doggie walks. Great post Emily, glad you enjoyed your trip. 🙂

    • Shoes can be difficult! I ended up only bringing two pairs, but I realized that there’s actually a pair missing from my wardrobe – comfortable walking flats that look good with jeans. It’s been a good ten years since I owned a pair of shoes that met those qualifications…

      Thanks Laura! Hope all is well!

  3. Hi Emily! Sounds like you had a good time back east 🙂 I’d love to see some of your fashion combinations from the small wardrobe you took, if only to get some inspiration 🙂 One observation: is your scarf actually a sarong? It looks like quite a few I’ve seen before (one in particular I saw at one of the places we stayed at in Costa Rica… it had a huge parrot on it and was used as a topper for the bed). I own a few myself, after attending a few pagan events where a lot of people wore them (especially nice during the heat of the day!). It never occurred to me to use it as a blanket on a plane, as I’ve always felt that they are too thin for such a purpose (I always layer when I go on a plane, because I inevitably get cold).
    I’m still hanging onto my winter gear for now, just in case at some point i have to return back to “the Mitten” during the colder months. I keep intending on getting my peacoat/winter coat dry cleaned to be stuck into the back of the closet, and I couldn’t bear to get rid of my much adored fingerless gloves (2 pair). I also have 2 scarves I don’t want to part with, one knitted by one of my dearest friends, and another I knitted myself 😉
    Looking forward to more blogs. I love reading your writings!

    • It was fun being back home! I might do just that – in fact, I’m thinking of doing a wardrobe tour sometime soon because I’ve been really happy with what I’ve pared down to lately. You know, it could totally be a sarong. I’ve even worn it as a sarong before, so I’d say that you’re probably right! It is really thin, but it can serve as a blanket in a pinch 🙂

      I’ve tried to keep some cold weather clothing myself, but I did a very poor job of packing for it this past trip. We may be going again during a winter month, so that should be interesting.

      Homemade items really can get tricky. But it sounds like you love the pieces, so if they bring you joy, keep them!

      Thanks so much Sam, and thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂

  4. I just packed my bag similarly for a trip to Spain! I think I may have packed a touch more than you, but not by much 😉 (If you’re curious, there’s a similar post about it on my blog.) My travel essentials are a big scarf, and warm socks – both are great for the plane, and the socks double as slippers if needed. Also, SNACKS. Lots of snacks, because I get hangry easily. I actually found that I didn’t pack warmly enough either… the nights/mornings in Spain are chilly! But I knew I would be doing some shopping while there too, so I left some space in my bag for extra things.

    I’m curious though, how many/what kind of shoes did you bring with you? I brought three pairs but could have gone with two, but then felt as though I should have packed some boots too….

    • Oh I will totally check out your post! I’ve never traveled abroad, so I’ve never experienced packing for a trip like that. Hopefully I will soon!

      I brought two pairs, but it actually shed some light on something I need to purchase someday: comfortable, durable walking flats that look good with jeans. I brought my Saltwater sandals and running shoes, but some days got cold so I ended up wearing skinny jeans and running shoes (some people can pull the look off, but I felt a little strange in that combination).

      Boots would be a good option too!

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Woo! I used to have a lot of scarves too, but I realized that I only really liked and used the one I ended up keeping. So if you like AND use more than one, there’s no harm in keeping several 🙂

    • It’s so fun! I believe it’s one size fits all, and I find that it fits me nicely. I’m 5’4″ and it’s a nice dress length, but it could be a little short for anyone a lot taller. BUT, it’s super cute with leggings as a long top/dress too.

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