All posts by wayfaringbridges

About wayfaringbridges

I'm Stephanee. I'm 25, a former travel agent who got tired of selling trips to others and decided to start taking trips of my own. I'm traveling as far and as often as I can.

Living At The Foot of the Rockies

Grandeur. Jagged. Raw. Unforgiving. Relentless. Awe-inspiring.

These are some of the many words that come to mind when I think about where I live. I work seasonal employment and so I am lucky to live in some of the most beautiful places in the US and it allows me to afford to travel the world (read about that here). I am currently living in Estes Park, Colorado at the YMCA of the Rockies and our campus sits at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. We are surrounded by all sides by these incredible peaks, and as a friend lovingly refers to it as “our cereal bowl of mountains”.

I wish that I could put into words what it feels like to be encompassed by these mountains, by these unrelenting and absurdly large creations. These mountains, they’re like something bigger than you can imagine, bigger than you can grasp. You stand at their base, you stare up at them and think about all those who have summited and how incredible that is but also…how tiny they are in comparison. These lives of these people, while great and mighty, are so infinitesimally small compared to the mountains that have stood, watching for generations and generations and generations. Years and thousands and millions of years, they have stood, just watching.

It’s only when I’m climbing them, do I become finely aware of their grandeur. Living within walking distance to over 12 peaks, I hear so often, “Oh yeah, the mountains, you kind of forget they’re there.” To which I’m always stunned. How? How on earth do you forget about these beautifully raw souls. When I see these mountains, I see their peaks and crevices and their hills and their rocks and their boulders and their outlines sharpened against the sky. I see a being. A being greater than I can imagine, a living soul that is calling out to me.

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The longer I stay here, the more I find others who hear that same call. The Rocky Mountains speak to you in a way that I’ve never been able to replicate elsewhere. I don’t feel the same pull as I do when I think of Eagle Cliff and CCY. Even when I’m thousands of miles away, I can still see their outline, I can still feel the rocks sliding beneath my feet as I scramble my way to the top. I can feel my lungs burning as I climber higher and higher.

And once you get to that peak…I can’t even explain the serenity and calm that comes over you. Being able to sit atop that mountain and see further into the park and to see just the scores and scores of mountains, layered upon one another. It’s unearthly and at the same, I never feel more connected to the earth than I do at that moment. I feel my breath coming in and out of my lungs, I hear my heartbeat in my ears, drumming to a song that I’ve known my whole life, and I feel steady. Clarity encompasses me and the peace that I find within myself in all-powerful.

I wouldn’t want to live anywhere but here at this current moment. These mountains, they’ve become my family, my home, and I’m appreciative every single day.

How I Afford To Travel The World

Probably the number one question I get asked when it comes to my travels is, “How do you afford it?!” Since I work seasonal employment, it’s not exactly the most profitable field, and therefore I shouldn’t be traveling as much as I do. But, the answer lies in the details. As a former travel agent, I have a few tricks of the trade that have helped me throughout the years and as I travel more, I have gained a few tricks of my own. 

RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. I scour websites like Momondo and Skyscanner and STA travel and Student Universe, and I’m not picky. When I bought my ticket to Japan, I originally had no idea of where I wanted to go. I used the “Take Me Anywhere” feature on Momondo, and found my $378 round trip ticket to Tokyo. I didn’t really have any interest in going to Japan, but at a price like that, I couldn’t say no.

Being flexible allows more doors to open and better flights to pop up. If you have one particular place in mind, chances of finding the “perfect” flight at a stellar price are pretty slim. But, if you go into it with no expectations of where you’re going, there are some absolutely phenomenal flights out there to places that are super up and coming.

Save. Everything. Since I work seasonal jobs, my bills are almost non-existent. Most of my contracts offer me food and housing, so I can save nearly everything I make instead of having to pay for rent and utilities and car insurance and car payments and and and…While this isn’t the case for a lot of people, when I worked a “normal 9-5”, I was putting 20-25% of my paychecks away for future travels.

Because I’m committed to traveling as much as I can, I was willing to sacrifice a few nights out with friends or going out to dinner or splurging on a new outfit if it meant that I could take a helicopter ride in Iceland or order an extra bottle of wine in Venice or stay in the hotel that I had been looking at for years online. While 25% is steep, you can always adjust that to whatever you’re comfortable with.

I have a Round-The-World trip planned for this September and just about everything I’m making is going towards tickets, hostels, excursions, food, drinks, etc. It’s sometimes hard to debate with yourself as to whether saving is worth it when there are so many things going on right now, but it always pans out well. 

Be Diligent. Once you’ve found an area or a location that has captured your heart, and clouded all your daydreams, sign up for fare alerts, check up on the price when you can, and check fare predictors. (Skyscanner and Student Universe both have pretty reliable ones.) Word of Caution: a lot of these third-party sites that offer lower rates usually use cookies, and if they see that you’re checking the same flight over and over, they’re likely to raise the price solely because they know you’re interested. To avoid this, turn off your cookies while browsing or browse in private mode. 

Travel on Tuesdays. If you’re traveling internationally, try to book your flight for a Tuesday and search for your flight Tuesday or Wednesday. Airlines tend to lower their prices to match competition on Monday nights, so you’re going to find cheaper flights on these days. Try to avoid searching for flights on weekends, as the prices are usually inflated. As for traveling on Tuesday, fares are usually less expensive than say, Sunday afternoon. 

Book Your Trip During The Shoulder Seasons. Shoulder seasons are the month(s) before and after peak travel times; think April, September, October. While you might miss out on the best weather, shoulder seasons are much cheaper both airfare wise and expenses during your stay. Hotels and exclusions are usually less too. And shoulder seasons tend to have less crowds, which is always a plus. 

Think Outside The Box When It Comes To Lodging. Hotels. They can be so, so expensive. Think about staying in hostels, Airbnb’s, or couch surfing. If you’re dead set on staying in hotels, try hotels.com, they have a fantastic rewards program where for every 9 nights you book through them, you get 1 night free. Which adds up so quickly. Plus, once you sign up, they “unlock secret prices”, which is usually $5-25 off the listed price. 

Pack Light. Luggage fees are getting more and more exorbitant. Airlines like Spirit and Frontier make a large majority of their profit from fees and last time inchecked, luggage fees for Frontier were upwards of $65. That’s as much as a ticket! Try to pack what you can into a carry-on and your personal item, not only are you saving on luggage fees but you’re also saving yourself from having to schlep around a ton of luggage. 

Don’t Be Intimidated By All-Inclusive. I have to admit, I was not at all keen on the idea of any trip I took to have the words “all inclusive” anywhere near them. I felt like it was cheating, or there had to be some sort of catch. But, when I found an all-inclusive trip on Living Social to La Fortuna, Costa Rica for $250, I was intrigued. It included lodging, food, drinks, and an excursion (I went ATV’ing on a volcano 💁) and it was so worth it. I didn’t have to worry about constantly having money with me, and I was still able to leave the lodge and walk around the town and get a sense of the local culture. 

Honestly, traveling is as much of a priority as you make it. If you’re bound and determined to see as much of the world as possible, you want to make it happen and you’ll do what it takes to see it come to fruition. If you’re okay with a vacation a year, that’s awesome too, we all have different priorities and it’s your life to live. 

I travel as much as I do because it’s probably my number one priority. It’s what I’m always thinking about, it’s what I save for, it’s my therapy and my escape. I’m so very lucky to have such an incredible and supportive family who lets my wanderlust take over and they’re there for me every step of the way. 

Travel is as achievable as you want it to be. Go forth, my dears. 

What To Pack: A Month in Japan Edition

I decided one day that I needed something, anything to distract me from the seasonal lifestyle. I’ve been jumping job to job to job with no break for over 2 years; mind you, I’m not complaining in the slightest. I work in the most beautiful locations, I meet incredible people and I have some of the most amazing experiences, but I just hadn’t had over a week of in 2 years: I needed a vacation.

I searched for the cheapest flight to anywhere in the world and I managed, somehow, to find a round-trip ticket from LAX to Tokyo for $378. How? I got so very lucky. And once I found that fare, I kept a close eye on it until I was ready to buy. Here are the sites I normally scour to find great deals. I had never really had an interest in traveling to Asia whatsoever, but I can’t turn down that price tag.

So I left my job in Lake Tahoe when my contract ended, and I knew that I would be alone in Japan for a month, what the hell was I going to bring?

My itinerary was a rough outline at best. I had plans on stopping to see two friends and I knew I was flying into Tokyo, but other than that, I had no idea what I would do. With that in mind, I stated doing some research. My friend, Miranda lived in Tokamachi, which is in the Northern region of mainland Japan. As it was November/December, it would be cold, if not snowing. My other friend, Moose, lived outside of Hiroshima in Ube, which is in the Southern region of mainland Japan, a warmer climate.

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So I needed to pack for all seasons. Neat.

I was using my High Sierra Appalachian 75 L bag that I had gotten on a season’s end clearance. I knew it could hold as much as I needed to but I didn’t want to over pack in case I was to find something I wanted to bring home.

In my bag I ended up packing:

  • 3 pairs of pants (2 black leggings, 1 pair of jeans)
  • 5 shirts (1 long sleeved, 1 t shirt, 1 “nice” shirt, 2 tank tops)
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • Toiletries (dry shampoo, mascara, moisturizer, deodorant)
  • So many socks. So many.
  • Eno Hammock with straps (in case money ran low and I needed somewhere to sleep)
  • Leather-bound journal (which I wrote in every single day, really helped me remember small details that I may have otherwise forgotten.)

As I traveled through the country, I tried not to buy too many souvenirs until my last day because I knew I would have to carry everything on my back. It was the perfect weight for me personally, I think at it’s heavies it was 28 pounds, but I knew I could go heavier if I needed to.

Japan is still one of the most diverse and culturally rich places I’ve ever been to and I know that I’ll go back someday, I hope this packing list helped!

Why You Should Travel To Japan For Your First Solo Female Trip

I took my longest solo journey to Japan this past November and I have
to say, it was more than incredible. I never felt unsafe, everyone was
so respectable, and getting around (once you got the hang of it) was
surprisingly easy.

I did little to no research before I left for Japan and hit the ground
running, I wanted to see as much as I could and experience as much as
I could fit into a day. I landed in Tokyo and stayed in Narita a few
days before heading North to Niigata. After Niigata, I took the
Shinkansen to Kyoto, then onto Hiroshima, Fukuoka and finally Okinawa.

At first glance, the rail system in Japan is terrifying. There are
usually no English characters and most people don’t speak English
whatsoever, so asking for help can be tricky. There were definitely a
few times when I got onto a train and just hoped for the best, not
entirely sure of where I was headed. But, to be fair, it is fairly
straightforward and everything is conveniently color-coded with routes
that overlap, so if you do happen to get onto the wrong train, you’re
usually only a few stops off.

There was one day in particular in Kyoto where I felt I finally
“mastered” the trains. Having only ridden the trains for about a week,
I was nowhere near mastery but I felt confident, and that’s what
matters, right?

Traveling alone as a female, safety is always a concern. In Japan, in
the month that I was there alone, I honestly and truly never felt
unsafe. Even carrying all of my worldly possessions on my back, I
never felt that gripping sense of fear. There was a night, waiting to
catch an overnight bus to Hiroshima, and the bus wasn’t set to depart
until 10:30pm, so I was wandering around alone for a few hours while
it was dark and if anything, I felt like I was more respected than
anything. Men would bow their heads and make eye contact as if to say,
“nothing to worry about.”

What’s so wonderful about traveling alone is dictating your own
schedule. You can wake up when you please, you can do whatever suits
you during the day, and you can go to bed as early or as late as you
want to. There were days where I packed so much in, I was dizzy by the
end of the day and then there was a day in Ueno, where I had no energy
and so I stayed in my hostel, drank coffee, read books and watched
netflix. You can do whatever you want, and it’s so freeing.

All in all, Japan is a great place to start your adventures as a solo
female traveler. The food is iconic and delicious, the sights are
historic and stunning, and the people are warm and respectful. So, go!

Narita, Japan

The most beautiful thing about travel, to me, is that it lends itself to you in such transformative ways. It opens these doors that you didn’t know existed, not only in the literal sense but in your mind and your soul. It allows you to have moments of complete and total clarity, unclouded by the chaos that surrounds you.

I just spent the last month in Japan, traveling the country alone and taking in as much of the sights and sounds and culture as physically possible.

On my first full day in Japan, I was anxious to see. I was anxious to get out and explore, so I asked the front desk where the closest shrine was and they pointed me in the direction of Shinso-Ji Temple in Narita, a 4 minute walk from where I stayed.

Since my body wasn’t used to the time change yet, I was at the temple at around 6:30 in the morning and I recommend going at that time to anyone.

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It is so peaceful and gives off such serenity that I was taken aback. I was alone, walking amongst these buildings and gardens that were hundreds of years old. The mist of the morning was clouding these pagodas that are so brightly colored and rich.

There were so many moments where I would just stop and stare for minutes on end, transfixed by the history and unable to grasp how many thousands upon thousands of people from all walks of life had stood where I was standing, in awe of the same unmoving and unchanging building.

As the morning ticked on, I became more aware of people around me, bustling through the park to get to their job or gliding lazily through on a morning stroll, a couple visiting from South Korea who couldn’t seem to stop smiling and a pair of friends from Vietnam who wanted nothing more than to practice their English with me.

About the time I decided to head back to my lodgings, a processions of brightly colored monks made their way through the main gardens, accompanied by a loud drum and a ringing triangle. I obviously followed as we made our way to the main building.

15781550_10155642135623135_6997755831028819612_nThere, they began a ceremony, at least that’s what I’m assuming from what I gathered from context clues. A fire was lit, chanting began, and those watching with me began bowing at specific times. I was overcome with emotion. Here I was, a girl on her first day of travel alone in a country she knows little to nothing about and the universe was rewarding me with this abundantly beautiful showcase of culture and religion.

As I sat silently crying, thanking anything and everything that would listen, I watched as those around me; travelers, couples, children, families, and businessmen alike come together for a brief moment in time. The deafening drum beat became our pulse and the chanting monks transfixed our hearts. And then, with 3 sharp blasts to the giant drum, it was over.

I sat stunned for a few moments, as those around me clamored to get up quickly. I didn’t know where to go from there. It was my first day of travel, alone, and I had witnessed more than I thought I was going to see in an entire month.

How lucky I am.

Onwards.

It has been quite some time since I have updated you on the going-on’s of my travel life. Since we last spoke, I have lived in Raymond, Maine teaching ceramics and pottery to children at Kingsley Pines Summer Camp. That place has honestly become my second home and thinking about it, I am calmly reminded of the smell of pine and a gentle summer breeze.

I then went on to Argyle, Texas where I worked at a camp for adults who have special needs and it was not only the hardest and most taxing job I’ve ever had, but it was the single most rewarding thing I have ever done. Every day I was reminded of how truly blessed I am to have working limbs as well as how fortunate I was to be in the company of such beautiful, wondrous and creative souls. There I met Ali, a 27 year old woman who changed my life more than I could ever put into words.

 

img_2397She changed my perspective on the world, she brought such an innocent and glowing joy to my life and I don’t know that I can imagine my life without her in it from here on out. Her smile makes the world turn and her laugh makes my heart soar. With every morning, she would wake up a remind me that the only way to show the world true happiness is by sharing it.

 

 

After leaving Texas, I moved to Estes Park, Colorado and I found serenity. I sat at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and I was reminded of my mortality. I was reminded at this universe’s ability to create raw, jagged beauty that goes unmatched.

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I hiked, I climbed and I found myself. I found the person that I wanted to become and I found the world to be a better, calmer place at the top of those peaks.

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I am currently in South Lake Tahoe, California working at a conference center and I have to say, it’s one of the most stunning places I have ever been.

The conference center backs up to what we call Cathedral, it’s this massively daunting and jagged mountain that screams at your soul to be conquered. It also is surrounded by the bluest waters I have ever seen. From 50, 75, even 100 feet, you’re able to see the outlines of rocks and tree trunks that have fallen through the years at the bottom, just lazily swaying.

I will be here until November, where, from there I will be traveling to Japan, Bali and Java for a month. I was fortunate to meet a beautiful, wonderful friend in Colorado who shares in my love of travel, lust for adventure and absolute impracticality when it comes to rational decisions regarding buying plane tickets.

Our plan is to travel to Tokyo, roam around Japan for a week or two then lazily make our way through Bali and Java. I’m excited to be shocked, to be immersed and to hike through rice fields and volcanoes. It’s exactly what I need.

I’ve realized over time that travel cures our souls. It takes all the hurt, it takes the unwanted and it makes them incoherent. It makes every person feel; it makes their senses heighten, and it puts you in an entirely new frame of mind. It allows you to become the person you actually want to be and it heals old wounds that you may have never even knew existed. It’s exhilarating and exhausting and essential to keep the true nature of our being.

Big Sky Country

The many facets of the Montanan skyline are jetting, jagged and raw. There are things and people and surroundings that you never thought even possible. As time passes slowly there is an effervescence that seems to blanket the landscape. The people are hardworking and just, they’re frontiersmen and they’re strong willed women. They’re the start of a new generation and a generation that’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect their land. There are some that will do anything to turn the land they call home into countless dollars.

As you drive into the endless canyons and crevasses and jutting rocks, you never really see the end of the skyline and you start to realize why they call it “Big Sky Country”. There are fields of green and brown, cows and buffalo that graze tirelessly, farmers hoping for one more day of rain.

As Big Oil has started to move in, you start to notice the strife of what used to be. There are people who rely on that money and there are people who will do everything in their power to protect themselves from these blood-sucking companies.

There are days where you seldom see more than 10 people and there are days when you see more people than you can count to. It’s an ebbing and flowing conglomerate of degenerates, natives, workers, families and farmers. As the constant tide of change rolls in, few are readily accepting.

Time is indifferent here, the passing of the seasons, the moon skimming the stars and the ever so sharp tick of the clock as each second passes is like something out of a movie, time is sluggish and lazy. Everything you do is in slow motion from waking up in the morning to the car ride to work. Time just moves slower here, no one knows why.

This glorious state has so much to offer and so many secrets to keep.

 

Bahamas Cruisin’

This past week I had the awesome, and somewhat unexpected, chance to go on a cruise to the Bahamas for my and my best friend’s birthday. We’re about a week apart so we tend to cluster our birthdays together to make the most of it.

We left out of Port Canaveral, Florida and boarded Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas. My friend, Drew, and I shared a room while the two couples we were with shared rooms as well. There was 6 of us and we were excited for what was to come.

Now, I’ve cruised before but on Carnival and I feel like the experience was completely different. When I cruised with Carnival, I left out of Tampa and went to Cozumel and Grand Cayman. I also had gone with my best friend and we were much more focused on excursions and seeing as much as possible.

This time, not so much. We had booked the cruise about 3 weeks before departure date so our budgets were a little limited and we were more focused on drinking.

Royal Caribbean offers an amazing deal where you pay one solid price at the beginning of the cruise and you can drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) as much as your heart desires. We opted for the Premium Package which cost us about $239 for a 4 night cruise. When you think about it, each drink normally costs about $10-15, so in order for the package to pay for itself you needed to drink 15-18 drinks over the course of 5 days which is 3 a day. That’s child’s play.

Needless to say, we drank our share of the package within the first 48 hours.

Drew and I stayed in a Large Oceanview Stateroom and we were on the 3rd floor near the front of the ship. The room itself was awesome, a King sized bed, desk and couch, and the bathroom was a decent size.

I would recommend staying near the center of the ship if possible, though. The anchor noise woke us up every time it was deployed and sometimes the rocking of the boat could be felt a bit more than we would have liked.

Nassau

Our first stop was Nassau which was beautiful. It was like any other port city with it’s bustling stores, taxi drivers who swear they’re the best priced, cruisers who are a bit too sunburnt from their day at sea and loud beach bars.

We stopped in Senor Frogs and stayed there for a few hours but quickly realized that there was “free” alcohol on the ship and made our way back for a couple hours.

This particular sailing we were scheduled to be in Nassau from 8am until Midnight so we had more than ample time to explore.

After a few drinks, I decided I wanted to see more than just the port city and since it was only 2pm, I decided to strike out on my own and take a scooter ride around the city. I was offered an awesome deal with a man named Charles who was missing at least 6 teeth but was as harmless as a gnat.

I paid $10 for a two hour ride around Nassau and saw everything from the Atlantis-style mega resort at the end of the island to the lesser known ghettos surrounding the outskirts of the city. Charles made sure to point out every single man that could sell us pot. Although it’s not my thing, it was funny to hear him say “There’s soandso, he get you a good deal. Let’s roll up, sweetie” at least 7 times.

I tipped him a few bucks and made my way back to the boat since I hadn’t seen any of my friends in a few hours. I met back up with Drew and we proceeded to drink the day away on the much less crowded pool deck.

After dinner, our group of 6 went back out to Senor Frogs for one last hurrah before the boat set sail.

Cococay

The next day was Cococay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas. It’s a tendered port, so you have to get onto another boat to get to the island but it’s only a 5 minute ride either way.

Once on the island, your drink and food packages still apply which is so incredibly convenient, so no having to worry about extra cash.

The island itself has so many things to do and so many places to escape the mass amounts of people that constantly surround you. I HIGHLY recommend going to Barefoot Beach, it’s a little out of the way but there is absolutely no one there and the bar is usually empty, so drinks come out pretty damn quick. If you’re looking for a little solitude, Barefoot Beach is the way to go.

Back on the boat, it’s a ghost town when you’re docked at Cococay because a majority of people are laying out on the beach or on an excursion. Although a lot of the bars were closed because the workers have to go to the island, it’s still a nice time to get away from people and just relax.

The last night on the boat we went to the Viking Crown Lounge where we were surrounded by all of the friends we had made over the past week. It was a nice last farewell and great to meet so many different people from all walks of life.

I had such an amazing time and I would do it again in a heartbeat, in fact, I think I might start planning another one now ;).

What To Pack: Camp Counselor Edition

Camp is one of those places where you feel at home, where an adventure is steps away and where a smile never really leaves your face.

Being a camp counselor is the best job you’ll ever have. Hands down.
There’s something about waking up in the morning and loving what you do. In every sense of the word. There’s something about being surrounded by kids who look up to you unabashedly and that think you’re the coolest person they’ve ever met.

There’s something about swimming and laughing and playing and creating and making and loving and jumping and running and dancing and laughing some more.

I work at a camp in Maine and you can read about that here. But, I have to admit that I was completely lost when I found out I had gotten the job. What do they wear? What should I expect? Do we decorate our own cabins? There were so many questions that wouldn’t be answered until I got to camp, but I figured I’d write about my packing list to make it a bit easier for everyone.

The camp I work at employs us from mid June until the beginning of September so I need to pack enough to last me 2 months, barring small shopping trips. Since I’ll be flying up, I’m limited as to what luggage I can bring. I will be bringing a backpack for my carry-on and 2 suitcases as my checked bags.

My backpack is a Thule Enroute Backpack.

backpackIn my backpack I will have:

  • My Phone with charger
  • Wallet with necessary ID’s, check with your Program Director as to what you’ll need for paperwork
  • Extra pair of clothes and swimsuit, just in case
  • Books for downtime, I suggest “A House In The Sky” and “All The Light We Cannot See
  • Journal
  • Sunglasses
  • My Macbook
  • Pressure Reducing Earplugs – I have terrible ear pain on flights

As for my suitcase, I have the tried and true Samsonite luggage. It’s the perfect size, it’s durable and it’s been to 10 countries with me.

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If you’re more interested in just bringing one large backpack worth of stuff, I have a great High Sierra Appalachain 75L that holds everything that I need, barring linens. Your camp might specify that they provide linens, so just ask!

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When it comes to clothes, comfort takes precedence over everything. You will be running, dancing and composing absolute tom-foolery, so looking good kind of goes out of the window.  Think about what you wear to work out in when no one is looking, now think a little grungier and you’re pretty much there.

My luggage packing list goes a little like this:

  • 6 T-Shirts
  • 5 Running Shorts
  • 5 Yoga Pants for sleeping, exercising, etc.
  • 3 Crazy patterned leggings-look here for some ideas
  • 5 Tank Tops- make sure to find out if there’s a dress code regarding tank top strap thickness
  • 1 Rain Coat
  • 1 Pair Rain Boots
  • 2 Pairs of Tennis Shoes
  • 2 Pairs of Flip Flops
  • Shower Shoes (an old pair of flip flops work perfectly)
  • Undergarments, enough for at least 2 weeks
  • Socks (mixed thickness, it can be really hot and pretty cold)
  • Sweatshirts-it can get down to 50 degrees at night in Maine
  • Ben’s Bug Wipes-so much easier than a spray

On to toiletries. Keep in mind that you may or may not have access to shopping during the summer so make sure you know how much of each you should pack. At my camp, there’s a Walmart about 10 minutes away so a few people don’t pack any toiletries and just buy them all when they get there. Up to you.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • DEODORANT, you may or may not shower for 4 days at a time
  • Room Spray becomes a necessity especially in the boy’s cabins
  • An abundance of hair ties
  • Shampoo/Conditioner- there are some really great biodegradable ones if you will be bathing in lakes or rivers
  • Lotion

For your cabin, find out what the living conditions will be like. Typically, we stay in a cabin with 3-10 campers depending on age and we have a dresser and a bed to ourselves. While my camp provides bedding, especially for International counselors, I prefer to bring a few things of my own. Most counselors bring their own pictures and decorations from home to showcase who they are and their interests. Contact counselors that have worked there before to get a lay of the land! I will be bringing:

  • 1 Comforter
  • 1 Sheet Set
  • 2 Pillows
  • 2 Tapestries
  • Pictures From Home-it’s always a nice reminder
  • 2 Strands of Christmas Lights-it definitely helps if you have really young campers who might still be afraid of the dark or for “flashlight time”

Obviously each camp is different and depending on where you’re located will adjust what kind of clothes you’ll be wearing but this is just a basic guideline for those embarking on counselor-ing for the first time.

Enjoy your summer!