You Carry Your Fears, Literally: The Psychology of Packing for Long-Term Travel | Day 291 of my 2023 Journal


You carry your fears. Literally.

It is an interesting exercise to move into backpacks. We have been based out of vehicles for the majority of the time for the past five years since a combination of medical care in Barcelona and Covid pushed us to a decision not to leave Mainland Europe. We have grown used to traveling with everything we want all the time, as the vans have been our base. Plus, we had the bus, a tiny house with everything we wanted for home life.

But it was not what we wanted. Not in the long run. Things slow us down and tie us to the ground; habits based on things complicate life and make it harder to move. We wanted to learn to move more freely, so in February, we bought five backpacks and started using them when we visited the larger cities. As a rehearsal for the long journey, we knew we would do it over winter.

On the final day in the house in Coma Ruga, we fine-tuned the backpacks. To the extent, we were able at this point. We have not been backpacking for five years, and last time, we were away for only six weeks. This time, we don’t have a ticket back. We presume it will be seven months, but we are not sure.

My new bestie, Cheryl, said she had read: “We carry our fears” about what we bring and do not bring. A useful little test to use when deciding on bringing or not bringing items.

I will admit, I AM afraid I will need to drink bad coffee or go to cafes all the time. So, the largest unnecessary thing I bring is my handheld espresso maker. I could live without it. I don’t want to. I am also afraid of being cold or too hot, having nothing to read or nowhere to do yoga (so, yes, we cut the yoga mats to an extreme mini version and brought them), and being unable to write my book or charge my stuff. Is it fear?

I will have a while to discover what I needed and what was just fears.

The van will be parked, and minor repair jobs will be done while we are away. We are excited and nervous and love the challenge of handling the practical and emotional sides.

Less stuff should give us more focus. We are so ready for the journey!

With love


Cecilie Conrad

Thank you for reading
I would love to hear from you. Listen to your thoughts and reflections - or praise :) It is often emotional to share our lives like this, and we get very happy when we get your feedback. So feel free to share a comment below 😋 

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