packing

My last week in Dundee

The last few weeks in Dundee flew by! I feel like I’ve been socialising non-stop for the past two weeks, no complaints but I’m not used to my schedule being so packed.

Nearly three weeks ago, I travelled to London with my friend Ivy of Year of Vegan Eats. We departed from Edinburgh and returned there after our foodie holiday in London. This granted me the opportunity for quick catch-ups with several friends in Edinburgh since that was the last time I’d be there for at least two years. I also had the chance to spend one more day in Glasgow and I couldn’t pass it up for the same reason. Kuba and I aren’t planning on returning to Scotland for quite some time as we have a full year of travelling through Europe ahead of us, and following that we plan to acquire and convert a van into a suitable living space for the next stage of our never-ending honeymoon. 😉

Kuba’s last day at work was last Friday. He’s finally free to start another career after working as a motorcycle mechanic for 10 years. He’s looking forward to focusing exclusively on his photography and videography now that he won’t be working a 9-5 job. This was a long time coming, as he knew years ago he’d ultimately quit this career for a new direction, taking a risk and opting for a more challenging path instead of a secure and comfortable one.

new tattoos!

With ample free time to socialise and clear out our flat, we also decided to get tattooed in Dundee before we start travelling through Europe. We’ve talked about getting tattoos to mark the start of this journey previously, so we figured why not get them done just before we move.

We were tattooed by Jay at Sanctuary Tattoo in Dundee thanks to a recommendation by our friend Rebecca. Rebecca has a beautifully coloured forearm piece (inspired by her own drawings) completed by Jay. Both Kuba and I were impressed by the vibrancy and clarity of Rebecca’s forearm, so we booked an appointment with Jay a few days in advance. We haven’t been tattooed in years so we both were eager to add a new piece to our collection.

My tattoo, designed by Rebecca, commemorates my time spent in Scotland. Kuba’s signifies the start of this new and exciting stage in his life. Thanks to Rebecca for helping us sort it!

one last day out with Ivy & Leo

The next day, our friends Ivy and Leo came through from Edinburgh to spend the day with us. This would be the last time we’d see them until September, as they’ve already booked flights to come visit us in Zagreb, Croatia! Naturally, we grabbed lunch at The Flame Tree Cafe.

Since this would be my last time eating there, I ordered my favourite sandwich, the vegan haggis toastie with sweet onion chutney and melty vegan cheese, with a side of pea and mint soup. The pea and mint soup is one of my favourite soups thanks to them. I decided to be extra fancy that day and order my toastie on a rainbow bagel. It was the right choice! A toasted bagel sando dunked into pea and mint soup is my idea of heaven. 🙂

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We actually had the vegan haggis three different ways: Kuba opted for it in a wrap, Leo ordered the toastie as it comes, and I savoured every single bite of my rainbow bagel toastie. Ivy noshed on a falafel sandwich instead. The falafel at The Flame Tree Cafe also happens to be one of my favourites. Maybe I just like everything there… 😉

After lunch, we relaxed in the City Square, soaked up all the sunshine, sampled some lattes at The Tartan Coffee House, and ended the night with dinner at Rama Thai.

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I’ve walked past Rama Thai before but never considered eating there as I wasn’t certain of their vegan options. We decided to try it thanks to several of our friends and their recommendations. I’m glad we did because the food was delicious!

I ordered their Som Tum salad as green papaya salad is one of my favourites from our trip to Thailand. On their menu, Som Tum wasn’t described as papaya salad because their version lacked the unripe green papaya. This is no surprise to me as green papaya is difficult to come by in Dundee. Instead, they replaced the papaya with shredded turnip. I tried it for dinner with a side of sticky rice as that was my go-to meal while Kuba and I visited Chiang Mai. My salad was absolutely delicious and very spicy. Yum!

Part of me is sad that I didn’t try Rama Thai sooner, but it’s probably for the best considering the prices were significantly higher than the prices we paid in Thailand. At any rate, I’m happy that I had a taste of authentic Thai food before we head off to Spain, and that I got to share the experience with Ivy and Leo. If you have a craving for Thai food, don’t hesitate to try Rama Thai. 🙂

decluttering, donations, & packing

Thursday was our last day in our flat so we were busy packing, organising our belongings, and completing any last minute errands. We’re only taking three bags full of our belongings and a guitar with us to Spain, so we donated a few bags of kitchen supplies to a charity shop and donated extra clothing, bedding, and towels thanks to Recycle Scotland’s website.

We didn’t have much furniture to begin with but still ended up donating our washing machine, desk, chair, hi-fi table, steamer, and vacuum to the British Heart Foundation. The BHF offers free pick-up of donations. You simply need to arrange a pick-up time online or over the phone. We initially tried to donate these items to the Tayside Reuse Centre as they also offer free pick-up, but we didn’t give them enough notice. Make sure you let these charities know a few weeks in advance if you have furniture you’d like to donate.

I’m glad that we managed to re-home most of the stuff we didn’t need. Thanks to our friends for taking little things off our hands! I hope you find your new stuff useful and that it serves you well. 🙂

And if you’re curious about what we packed for our move to Spain, check out our packing videos. This is everything we own and everything we’ll take with us for the next year.  Thanks for watching!

a homemade dinner thanks to Rebecca

For our last night in Dundee, our friend Rebecca graciously offered to cook us dinner. I think it’s safe to say she’s the best cook I know. 😉 She made us oil-free falafels served with a fresh salad, smoky sun-dried tomato cashew sauce, and seedy tortillas. For dessert, she whipped up some mango coconut yoghurt nice cream topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries. Dinner was excellent, as I knew it would be! We appreciated it so much because she took the time to make us a dinner that was oil-free and not too fatty. She catered to our eating habits, and that means a lot to us!

I was sad to end that night in Dundee because I’ve considered Scotland my home since I first moved to Glasgow a year and a half ago. I’ve made so many genuine friends there, met my now-husband, and started a new life. I don’t know what the next year will bring but I know it will be awesome! Let’s do this! ❤

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I wrote this post while we were on the plane from London to Málaga. We’re now in our flat in Torremolinos after walking along the beach. 🙂

What’s in my bag? New video edition!

Two years ago I was visiting Spain having the time of my life. This trip inspired me to quit my job the second I returned to the States. I didn’t expect to turn into a full-blown minimalist because I was simply downsizing out of necessity. In my mind, that was the only way I’d be able to travel freely. And now that I’ve lived for nearly a year with minimal possessions, I can’t imagine going back.

I detailed all of my possessions in addition to my favourite minimalist packing tips in a previous post, just before I started this 6-month trip around Europe. While I’ve upgraded my bag and added a few things since I left Scotland, the list hasn’t changed much. Once I arrive in Dublin, I will have a coat liner, a pair of jeans, and a cosy jumper added to my wardrobe.

 

Not everyone needs or wants to live the way I do, and that’s fine. Living out of a backpack isn’t for everyone. You can still own a house, drive a car, and have a family as a minimalist. The amount of things you own doesn’t matter. It’s more about being mindful of everything you own and only purchasing or acquiring new possessions if you absolutely need them. As a minimalist, you ensure everything in your life is useful or serves a purpose. And decluttering your life inevitably leads to decluttering your mind. Check out this TED talk by ‘The Minimalists’ if you’re intrigued and looking for a change!

What do you think about minimalism?

Do you travel light?

Do you have any packing tips to share?

What’s in my bag? – Minimalist packing tips.

I leave for Berlin in just a few days. While I’m excited to start this next chapter in my life, I’m still sad to leave Scotland. Fortunately, I’ll be back in December so I just need to get over it!

When I moved to Scotland 6 months ago, I had two bags packed full of my belongings from the States. I sold everything else I owned and became a minimalist out of necessity. Now I can’t imagine living any other way.

This is my packing list for my 6-month adventure across Europe.

Clothing.

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  • Xero shoes – barefoot sandals
  • Tote bags – 2
  • Soap nuts – I use these instead of detergent. They are completely natural, chemical-free, sustainable, and easy to use.
  • Bras – 3
  • Underwear – 7
  • Socks – 3 pairs
  • Short sleeve shirts – 4
  • Tank tops – 2
  • Long sleeve shirt – 1
  • Trousers – 2
  • Shorts – 1
  • Hat and scarf

The outfit I wore while taking this photo isn’t pictured (obviously). I’ll also wear my boots and jacket liner to the airport.

This is my entire wardrobe, save for a few jumpers, two pairs of trousers, and a pair of trainers. I’m leaving these with my boyfriend. These items will still be useful to me once I return to Scotland in December, so I didn’t want to get rid of them just yet. If I had to, I could bring them to Berlin as I have plenty of space left in my bag, but I don’t expect I’ll need warm jumpers this summer.

Pro tips:

  • No matter how long you are traveling for, don’t pack loads of clothes. You can always do laundry at your destination, whether it’s at a laundromat, your host’s flat, or in the hotel room sink.
  • Don’t bring extra fancy clothes ‘just in case.’ If you do decide to visit a fancy place on your trip, purchase an outfit at your destination.
  • If you are unsure whether you should bring an item with you or not, just ask yourself these questions:
    1. How often will I wear it?
    2. Is it worth taking up space in my bag and worth the extra weight?
    3. Could I purchase something similar at my destination if I really need it?

Personal Hygiene.

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  • Waterproof container for a bar of soap
  • Compact mirror
  • Nail clippers and tweezers
  • Hair ties, comb, and brush
  • Tooth powder and toothbrush
  • Allergy medicine
  • Moon cup
  • Body brush
  • Sunscreen – 2 bottles
  • Ibuprofen
  • Earplugs
  • Epilator
  • Towel
  • Homemade lip balm – a 50/50 mixture of cacao butter and coconut oil

I’m a minimalist in the beauty routine department. I just don’t care to use stuff that isn’t necessary. I don’t wash my hair with shampoo, can’t stand to wear makeup, and never wash my face.

Pro tip:

  • Don’t stock up on toiletries right before your trip. Bring just enough to hold you over for the first night. You can pop into a local shop and buy more.

Important stuff.

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  • Laptop and charger
  • Camera, charger, and cables
  • Battery – for charging my phone while I’m out and about.
  • Empty water bottle
  • Wallet – mainly used to store my passport.
  • Phone charger and headphones
  • My favourite book
  • Sunglasses
  • Pen and marker
  • Lock with keys – to secure my belongings in hostels.

Other important things not pictured:

  • My phone, since I used it to take this photo.
  • A copy of my passport – just in case my passport gets stolen.
  • My wallet containing my photo ID, credit card, debit card – I also take photos of these just in case they get stolen. That way I can contact my bank quickly.
  • Print outs of boarding passes, flight information, and rail tickets.

Pro tips:

  • You don’t need to bring foreign currency with you as there are plenty of ATMs available and most places take debit cards. Check with your bank about international transaction fees.
  • Depending which part of the world you are visiting, you will need an outlet adapter. These are necessary for charging your phone or laptop. (I need to purchase one on arrival. I have a 3-prong one for the UK but need a different one for Europe.)
  • Pack for the best case scenario. Don’t worry about ‘what if?’ situations. If you end up needing something like an umbrella during your trip, pop into a local store and purchase one.

I’m all packed.

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Everything fits with room to spare! I always do a ‘practice run’ of packing my bag several days before my trip, just to make sure everything fits in an organized fashion. I also pack things I don’t need immediately at the bottom of my bag. My travel documents and phone charger will be packed last so that I can easily retrieve them.

I packed my smaller backpack within this larger black bag. I’ll keep this bag with me as I’m out exploring the city. It’s essentially my purse. It carries my water bottle, wallet, phone, and anything else I need.

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My bag is packed and my pre-departure checklist is mostly complete. It looks like I’m almost ready to go!

Do you have any packing tips to share?