New member planning backpack trip through Europe

I recently sold my house and gave notice at my job of 20+years delivering babies to move and purchase a hotel in Eastern Washington State. The deal did not work last minute, so I have no home and my last day at work is December 6th.

Change in plans: I have raised 5 children— they are out of the house so I decided to buy a one way ticket to Europe and… I am not sure where I will end up. Will start in Athens and then am meeting a group for 15 days of the Holy land and then Jordan. After that I will leave the group and spend 7-10 days in Cairo. I think it will be Italy for a month after that. Will be mostly staying in Airbnb’s.

Looking for best backpack, good travel and travel health insurance and any other suggestions like what to pack, best shoes etc…

Thank you, Gretchen

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Do check out the essential items for a digital nomad’s backpack that Philip shared. There’s quite a few non-digital ideas in there too!

I don’t have a brand of shoes that I can recommend to you, but my advice is get them comfy and get some that you really like from a stylistical perspective. You will most likely be wearing them until they die.

Even though you haven’t asked for recommendations for places, I’ll throw a couple of them in there: while western Europe is the more popular destination, I would really recommend having a look at the more eastern countries. Slovenia was a joy to go through, and I particularly liked Ljubljana, and Poland was pretty awesome too. Go to Katowice or Krakow for a week or two, and then take the a sleeping wagon north to Gdansk. For me at least they easily outshine the more popular western cities. It is a highly subjective point of view though :blush:

Also, :thinking: my advice is to not make too many, too time specific plans. This might be specific to us, but the best part about a big adventure for us is to be able to decide where next to go, a couple of days before we go there. It can become quite a drag to have to go somewhere else, when you’ve just discovered this awesome new little city that no one’s ever heard about.

And don’t underestimate the distances. Unless you’re going with the airplane they are a lot bigger than they look on the map!

Oh! And a SIM card! You should be able to get one from any country in the European Union, and then Internet access will cost you the same anywhere else. They’re pretty cheap here in Poland, but getting through the polish interfaces can be a bit daunting :flushed:

And Gretchen, I hope you’ll have an awesome adventure!

Give me a ping me if you get to Romania. No promises (me and my husband are nomading quite a bit at the moment too), but I’m inspired by your story, and would love to hear the rest of it.

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I too am jealous!

I am weary of the US. But we have to sell our business before we can travel, and we do have some plans.

The best thing you can do for this trip, in my opinion, is to pack lighter than you ever thought you could. Don’t be hindered by lots of luggage or weight. That way, it’s much easier to change plans even on the most tactical basis; like finding a place to stay in a neighborhood that you discover and really like, or deciding to catch a different train at the last minute. My wife and I have made trips to 3 or 4 week trips to Europe and Africa with just a good sized carry-on (and that was before “roll-abouts”). Another bit that I enjoy is taking my older clothes that I won’t mind throwing away when I fall in love with a Greek fisherman shirt, or a French blazer, or…

As you might guess, this advice goes hand in hand with the previous reply about not making your timetable too definitive. Be flexible!


Mark Evans

Thank you both for the advice!! I signed up for the website Workaway— I have 3 places that want me to stay with them in Italy, my favorite being a winery where I would teach the winemaker English and help with visiting English speaking tourist. It is room and board plus they want to pay me a small salary— my big concern is now I will need a visa and work permit. I will call the consulate tomorrow. Does anyone know about what I need to do? I was going to buy a hotel in wine country in Washington State but the deal fell through. I have done a lot of research here on wine and wine tasting so I am super excited to do something like this. I am not doing it for the money so I may tell them they can’t pay me if I can’t get a permit.

I also have questions about getting an extended visa. Has anyone done that— if so what do I need to do. The German consulate said I do that in whatever country I am in? But I think with Italy I need to do it before I leave and fly for an appointment to San Francisco???

Thank you for any help!!