Women wanderers — we are the new generation of adventurers. From the heights of the Andes to the backroads of Texas, women can now travel alone as they were never able to before. Over the past few years, I’ve hit the road — and the sky — backpacks bursting with a few too many items than are necessary for my journeys. Did I really need six hardcover books while trekking through Hawaii?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a woman wanderer is that packing right is an essential aspect of traveling right. So, with a twist on Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust, a heavy dose of Joan Didion’s wry practicality and some deep inspiration from Cheryl Strayed’s spunk, here is my list of essential items to bring on your woman-wanderer journey. You may be by yourself, but with the right leather-bound journal and headlamp, you’ll never feel alone.
Every girl needs a stack of paper to write down her thoughts. Go bold with a leather journal that can fit in the front flap of your backpack for the easy reach.
The proper traveling luggage is essential. I always go for a big backpack because I like to be hands free whenever I can. The size depends on how long you plan to be wandering, but the brand of your backpack should always be Osprey. I’ve had mine for nearly six years, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
I challenge you to bring just one pair of shoes — and make them boots. Dr. Martens are a classic look. I love them because they go with every article of clothing I own. Best of all, they send onlookers a clear signal: Don’t mess with me.
You never know where you’re going to end up. Having a headlamp makes that a lot less scary.
5. Meaningful talisman
This isn’t something you can buy in advance of your trip, but it is something you should keep an eye out for as you travel. I like to collect rocks wherever I go. That way, I’m always connected to the land — even if I’m thousands of miles away.
6. Spandex shorts
Who knows when you’ll have the opportunity to strip down and jump into a waterfall?
7. Film camera
Why not go rogue and take your photographs on a film camera? The rolls of film that add up during your journey will start to feel like friends and will give you something invaluably juicy to look forward to once you return home.
8. Water bottle
Hydrate — it’s that easy.
9. Tiny sleeping bag
Good to have, no matter where you plan to lodge for the night — the smaller and cuter, the better.
Hannah Rubin is a writer at Goodshop, where she helps spread the word about how people can directly impact the causes they care about most every time they shop online.