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This journalist spent two years backpacking the world. Here’s what she packed.

Coconut oil was clutch.

Nicole Ellis spent two years backpacking around the world, visiting 17 countries across six continents. In one backpack and one pack she wore on the front, Ellis was able to get two years of travel life out of five pairs of socks, eight sets of underwear, tank tops, T-shirts, yoga pants, sandals, hiking boots, flats, a comb, a fleece jacket, a lot of coconut oil and few other must-have items.

Ellis found that coconut oil could solve many grooming problems, particularly as a substitute when lotion or conditioner ran out. She also made sure to carry snacks to offer to people as a way to connect in new places.

After her long adventure, Ellis thinks that backpackers get inaccurately painted as a “hippie-dippy, bohemian” folks. The mode is “informed by a desire to either learn about a new country or culture,” she said; the cultural exposure is immersive.

“If that’s what you’re interested in, then backpacking’s a great way to achieve that on a budget, regardless of age.”

Head here to check out the packing list Ellis made before her trip.

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