June 23, 2011

This season, less is more.

This season, less is more.

No, I’m not talking about fashion. It’s time to think about packing again.

I know you don’t want to. I know those hockey bags have probably been mean muggin’ you for weeks. But you can only tell them to eff off for so much longer before you will eventually have to dig them out and start filling them up.

That's everything we own.
I think I have said this before but … we normally travel with five hockey bags, a BOB Revolution stroller, and a Britax car seat. That’s a whole lotta baggage for two adults and a toddler. It’s too much baggage, really. So my goal is to eliminate one hockey bag and minimize the amount of crap that gets jammed into the others.

It’s easier to pack less when you know what you’re in for so if this is your first trip across the pond, you can find more detailed packing tips here and you are welcome to email me with more specific questions. I will write more about airline restrictions (tips and tricks), traveling with small children, and getting settled in the coming weeks.

Here are my essentials:

Crest 3D Advanced White toothpaste, children’s toothpaste, Proactive’s 3-step facial cleansing system, and deodorant.

That’s it.

I told you, less is more.

If you’re like me, you will want to make your new home feel like home. Wait. Give it a month and make sure this is where you will be for the season. I hate to rain on your parade but things don’t always work out. It’s bad enough when you get das boot. Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want an apartment full of crap to deal with too.

I hate them. Linden loves them.
By no means do I know everything there is to know about packing or moving. I learn something new every season and while I will always share those things with you – I don’t have all the answers and what I share is generally just what works for us. If there are things you just can’t live without, try to bring them; a few of the comforts of home can make all the difference. But for the most part, know that you will be able to find everything you need if you just do a little exploring.

Note: If you are traveling with a pet (especially to Germany), you might find these tips helpful, even if just as a starting point.

There are, of course, a few things that are more important than toothpaste or the 903,475,234 other things you might want to pack though. So I thought I would share some of the things that I wish someone would have told me before I left for Italy in 2009:

Keep an open mind and embrace both the culture and the experience. You might not love it. You might not like it. But give it a chance.

Learn the language; or at least enough to get by. A good goal is to be able to greet people, ask for directions, and order at a restaurant. People will be a lot more receptive to you. If you’re moving for hockey, put yourself out there and befriend a few of the European hockey wives or girlfriends. You will be amazed by how much you will learn from them.

Educate yourself on the country’s history. Grab a book or stop by Wikipedia. Every country has a story and that story matters.

Be mindful of current events; and know that emotions and tensions are still running high. Not everyone is as fond of us as we are of ourselves, and sometimes you have to first show people that they can’t judge a book by its cover before the judging actually begins.

Overall though, just be prepared for a new adventure.

Because life is about to get exciting.


  1. I love this post! It's very informative and you gave great tips for first timers ... or those of us who need a reminder about the fine line between being proud to be an American, and just being plain 'ole ignorant!

    I'm interested to see what you're cutting out of that 1 hockey bag!!

  2. I just tell everyone I am from Texas, not America :) Less is definitely better, that is for sure!! Great tips about being over in Germany! I can't wait to see you full embrace everything there this season, and to follow along on ya'lls great year. You know what, I just know it is going to be one for you. Because you deserve it :)

  3. Love what you have.Our circumstances are different as we are military.

    I can't agree more with get involved with the community. From festivals to food to museums. Rick Steves books are fantsatic. Will tell you where english tours are. Who to contact and where to go. They are updated yearly.

    If someone ask if you are american say yes and just on vacation. I know alot of military people say they are canadian and have learned the anthem for canada.

    Bring a GPS! Even for the volksmarches they are fantastic!

    Cell phones go with O2 or Vodafone they are the cheapest.

    Be prepared for most things to be closed on sunday!That was the biggest shock for us. Most is stores close by 2100.

  4. Kym, there is a fine line and I while I don't mean to make this a controversial topic, by any means, I think it is an important reminder too. Sometimes I even catch myself thinking, "Why do they do things this way? It's so frustrating!" and I have to remind myself that I'm not in America and things aren't going to be done the American way ... and that's the beauty of the challenge, the experience.

    Lindsey, I use my state too. They love us. Or they assume I'm Canadian because the hubs is. I am proud to be American (most days) but I still think it's important to be respectful, ya know?

    I am SUPER stoked to take full advantage of where we are. I planned to do that last season but didn't have enough time before we got das boot! I can tell you one thing: Hubs will not be worrying about me keeping busy the first few months. Kim will see so much of me that she will probably start locking her doors and my plan is to hit up Prague almost immediately!

    Sarah, I loved the list you posted on your blog. Some of those would definitely be on my list, too!

    I hate that the 'American' thing is ever an issue but the truth is that it is. I am sure you find that more frustrating than I do, given that you're a military family. And I hope you weren't offended by anything I said. (GO SARAH'S HUSBAND!) Generally, it's only been an issue when someone says or does something completely and totally ignorant.

    Too funny that you know people who have learned the Canadian anthem. I know it because my husband taught it to Linden - of course!

    We brought our GPS last year and tried to download the European maps online. BIG MISTAKE. I should maybe mention that in a post. Buy the cards before you leave, it's easier!

    I had 02 with my unlocked iPhone in Germany last year and it was AWESOME. I had unlimited calls with Germany and could use the Skype app to call home from wherever I was!

    P.S. I love that you're on military time. 2100. ;)


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