I went shopping…

And it’s made it all seem VERY real!

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I’ll be honest…Cotswold Outdoor isn’t somewhere I’ve ever felt a compulsive need to shop in before, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…right?! And what’s the first thing a backpacker virgin needs? Well, a backpack of course! 🙂

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Not very stylish is it?! Before my trip I’d done a bit of browsing on their website and had convinced myself I’d be getting this, that or the other one! I basically wanted one that was pink, or at least had some kind of colour in it! How wrong I was eh?

I entered the Reading branch of Cotswold Outdoor and after venturing upstairs to look at the rucksack section it became clear I was already very out of my depth and going to need more than just a little bit of help. So back down the stairs I went to smile sweetly at an unsuspecting shop assistant to ask for just that!

The lady who was available to help me, whose name I didn’t quite catch sadly, was incredibly helpful. Having originally come from The Netherlands and travelled Australia a bit herself she was able to advise upon what rucksack size would be best for not only my own size but also for the kind of things I’d be getting up to and where I was planning to go.

My hopes of a large, colourful rucksack were squashed pretty much the minute my back was measured. Small. Narrow hips. Curvy spine. None of the pretty ones stood a chance of aligning to my back. Plus I looked like some sort of armadillo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle crossbreed. And I’m not afraid to admit that I definitely can’t pull that off. Which I’m totally OK with! 😉

So instead I left the store with this Osprey backpack, with a two-year warrantee included simply for signing up to Cotswold Outdoor’s free loyalty card! Win!

Initially I’d only gone in to purchase the rucksack, a sleeping bag liner and a travel towel, so even though I clearly left with a bit more than that I still succeeded in purchasing everything I’d gone for… 🙂

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As my rucksack has no pink in I figured it’s OK the towel is! 😉 The sleeping bag liner was my mum’s idea after having read an article by the BBC F1 presenter Suzi Perry. As she travels with the BBC on a budget there’s no denying that some of the hotels the crew stay in are not the most desirable, and so having the luxury of a sleeping bag liner between bed and body is a nice comfort. Considering hostels are part of my plan, The Mothership and I thought this may be something of a necessary luxury!

Considering I work in retail I’m very aware when sales assistants begin to try and add on products for the sake of making a big sale. However, when the lady began suggesting a few dry bags to help with keeping dirty laundry separate or protecting electricals from the rain it didn’t feel like that at all.

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It’s silly how something so blindingly obvious never actually occurred to me until now. I guess that helps to prove the naive element of my travel plans!

The final item that was bought is what’s referred to as an ‘airporter’. This was the only time the alarm bells started ringing in my ears about being sold something unnecessary, but (and you can call me a mug if you like, I don’t care!) it sounds as if it’ll genuinely something that can protect the rucksack when being handled by baggage handlers at airports, or on long coach journeys to prevent snagging with other people’s luggage. At this point another customer actually joined in our conversation, and vouched for ‘airporters’ too – and he wasn’t being paid to sell it!

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So all in all, I’d call that a success! And it’s definitely made me feel a bit more prepared, scared and excited, along with reinforcing how soon it is until I leave!

So with those thoughts in mind, this book caught my eye as we left the store…

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Needless to say, I will be downloading this onto my Kindle as soon as I possibly can! 🙂

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