A Broke Spring Break: The Packing Process

a photojournal

I’m extremely excited to go to Chicago. Everybody that I’ve talked to usually has some kind of surprise on their face when I mention the terms “solo travel”. Maybe they’re worried for my safety. Maybe nobody has really thought about it before. Who knows?

Before leaving after my Friday class, I made sure to pack everything so I could get on the road after class got out. It’s surprisingly easy to pack, there’s not a whole lot you really need when you’re in a different location.

This is because you’re going to another destination for the adventure, and the less (literal) baggage you have with you, the fuller your experience.

black ogio gambit 17

This is what I’m packing in, the Ogio Gambit 17. I’ve used it since high school and it has served me pretty well through all applications, from travel to school. There are definitely some signs of wear around it, but it’s just so spacious and covered in pockets that it’s hard to replace.

technology for chicago trip

Minus my camera, this is all that of the technology I’ll be bringing. The rectangles in the rear are mainly a couple of chargers and extra batteries for my phone and camera. I’ll be journaling and blogging from my laptop while passing the time with my headphones.

I’m thinking about borrowing a microphone to do some interviews with my tour guide, but I’ll probably just end up making mental notes.

toiletries for chicago trip

These are the toiletries that I’ll be bringing. I don’t have a dedicated “Dopp kit”, something I think is completely unnecessary, so I ended up putting most of it in the pencil case I use for school.

packed toiletries for chicago trip

This is what it looks like cleaned up a little bit. I’m only slightly proud of my resourcefulness. My skin is very dry, so keeping a large amount of lotion and lip balm around is always a good idea.

inside pencil case

clothes for chicago trip

Four pairs of pants (including sleepwear) and five shirts.

underwear, socks, and sweater for chicago trip

You can never pack enough socks and underwear (5 pairs of each). I’ve brought a towel, washcloth, and sweater just in case. The weather is supposed to be slightly warm (somewhere in the 50’s), but I’m used to it being spring one day and winter the next in Missouri.

all clothes for chicago trip

unzipped ogio backpack

This is where the Ogio really shines. Everything listed before is now stuffed in — and it still zips shut. It’s really heavy and bulky, though, so I’m rethinking only taking a single bag with me for the entire trip.

zippped ogio backpack

Can’t forget a notebook, writing utensil, and my Chicago public transit card. There’s always something to forget when on a trip.

ventra card


I thought it’d be nice to have a daypack and leave my clothes and unnecessary weight behind in the locker I have in my hostel room. That way I don’t have to worry about lugging around 50lbs on my back as I walked throughout the city.

So, I moved it all into a duffel bag and now, my backpack is far lighter.

duffel packed and ogio backpack

Sony a6000 in ogio gambit

Finally, the last addition to my backpack: the camera. Personally, I think it’s the most important item I own, so I’ll be sure to keep it as safe as possible. I love that it fits in somewhat of a dedicated pocket in the backpack, which is padded all around.

The aluminum cage from SmallRig provides a lot of extra protection for my camera, which will be great when I’m around the city.


All ready (featuring my lovely girlfriend) to go! I can’t wait to disembark to Chicago, but there’s still half a week to go. It’ll almost be like making a trip to St. Louis first, then Chicago. Maybe there are things to explore in my hometown that I haven’t visited yet.

This is my first time travel writing! If there’s a [better] way to document things, please let me know.

More to come soon,


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