Iceland: Day 0, Pilot

From July 2016, I will be taking time off from work to explore the world. I intend to be on the road for a period of 15 to 24 months (leaning towards 24 months).


To prepare myself, I have followed bloggers who are doing long term travel, read multiple forums to get any direction, advise from follow travellers and so far the information has been priceless. However I also wanted to try a few things and therefore I am using the trip to Iceland to test a few assumptions: my very own pilot project. The intent is to test my assumptions about packing and my ability to manage the load. With those objectives in mind, I have already learnt a couple of things (which frankly aligns to the perspective of many fellow travellers).

Travel light and be free

To test the numbers of items I could carry and the need for those items, I filled in my backpack (main bag) many many items. The list is as follows

  • 10 underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks and 1 pair of thermal socks
  • 8 cotton t shirts
  • 2 cotton shirts
  • 4 track pants
  • 4 shorts
  • 2 towels
  • Large toiletries (i.e. normal size not carry on size)
  • 1 set of thermals
  • 1 pair of slippers

Overall weight: Approximately 10 kgs

Navigating the tube stations in London (to get to Heathrow express) and walking to Terminal 2 meant I had the backpack on my back for approximately 30 minutes and it wasnt that bad until I consider my slightly weak right knee and my carry on (which was quite heavy due to the camera equipment/laptop I carry – I dont intend to compromise on this load as I consider photography quite critical element of my travels). I debated with myself whether a hybrid backpack (with wheels) would be a good compromise. These bags are atleast 3-5 kgs without any loads. I quickly ruled them out. These are wonderful if you dont want to carry backpacks on your backs but when you do (for example: climbing steps even for a small period of 10 minutes etc) the bags will be very heavy and for me, with my right knee, this would be quite painful. It then came down to one question: Do I need everything I have carried? And the answer is a resounding No. I am confident I could cut the weight of my backpack to around 7 kgs. After some research and the fact that clothes for daily use and toiletries can be bought for cheap anywhere, I believe the following list would be a good balance:

  • 5 underwear
  • 1 light jacket
  • 2 pairs of socks and 1 pair of thermal socks
  • 2 sweat wicking t shirts
  • 2 cotton shirts: I like going to excellent bars and restaurants
  • 1 pair of chinos
  • 1 track pant
  • 2 shorts
  • 2 towels
  • Carry on toiletries (this would be the most helpful in terms of weight reduction)
  • 1 set of thermals
  • 1 pair of slippers

Strength building

On a personal level, I need to work on strengthening my limbs and back – time to hit the gym (maybe I might actually continue and not give up after a week) and work hard. I intend to hike quite a bit during my long term travels and for that I need to be healthy.

I consider the learnings from Day 0 in Iceland as extremely valuable and is exactly what I needed before I travel long term. At the moment, I am wearing hiking boots (which gives me good ankle support). I havent decided whether to keep the boots or buy hiking shoes (which could also double up as daily wear shoes). I am leaning towards shoes at the moment.

For now, I am getting back to focusing on why I wanted to come to Iceland: For the dramatic landscapes and , fingers crossed, the Northern Lights. I am excited about Day 1 and Reykjavik.







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