4 feet 2 mouths

walking and eating our way around the world

Archive for the category “Spain”

The Joys of Packing (by Carmen)

We often get asked how we handle packing up our stuff so frequently and carting it around the world.  The answer has two parts – 1) Packing cubes!  These are essential to for quick organization and way easier than any rolling method. 2) Take as little as possible.  Easier said than done.  But the benefits of being able to pack in under 15 minutes and have less weight on your back are very rewarding.

In order to make do with less I like to plan ahead.  For the typical travel stuff I have a list I always turn to when I start packing.  As for clothing, I have given a lot of thought to what I will bring for the next 6 months.  I have to be ready for everything: hot and cold, tough hikes and long urban walks, casual bars and nice dinners out.  To cope I’ve created what I call The Ultimate Packing List. I’ve even illustrated parts of it (yes, Nathan teases me about this).  I enjoy making the list because it makes me feel more prepared and ready to take on the world.

So I’ve decided to share The List with you.  I consider the list to be pretty minimal despite the fact that it looks long. But after reading blogs on no baggage travelers, maybe not!  At first it seems like a lot but the quantities of each thing are small so it does pack down to less than 15 pounds each (excluding the trekking gear).  And the packing cubes are essential for keeping all the small things together.  During our Camino de Santiago trek, we will be carrying the bare minimum while leaving much of the list in storage.  Afterwards, we will send back the trekking gear relieving a fair bit of weight.   Without further ado, I present…

8 Months of gear (camping stuff to be mailed back)


  • Clothing
    • Carmen
      • Top
        • 2 tanks
        • 2 short sleeve
        • 3 long sleeve
        • 1 cardigan
      • Bottom
        • 2 pants (including one zip off pair)
        • 2 shorts (one of them for running/sleeping)
        • 1 skirt (turns into halter top)
      • Dresses
        • 1 simple black dress
      • Outer
        • 1 fleece
        • 1 rain jacket
      • Accessories/Other
        • 1 scarf
        • 1 thin belt
        • 2 bras
        • 7 pairs underwear
        • 5 pairs of socks
      • Shoes
        • flip flops
        • sandals
        • sneakers
        • hiking boots
    • Nathan
      • Top
        • 3 short sleeve shirts
        • 2 long sleeve
        • 1 tank
      • Bottom
        • 2 pants (both zip off into shorts)
        • 1 runningshorts
      • Outer
        • 1 rain jacket
      • Accessories/Other
        • 3 pairs underwear
        • 5 pairs socks
      • Shoes
        • flip flops
        • sandals
        • sneakers
        • hiking boots
  • Toiletries
    • Shower/Bathroom
      • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash & sponge
      • Face wash
      • Razor & shaving foam
      • Toothbrushes, floss & toothpaste
      • Toilet paper
    • In Room
      • Microfiber towels
      • Brush, comb, flat clips, headband & hair ties
      • Chap stick
      • Deodorant
      • Lotion
      • Sunscreen
      • Bug repellent
      • Contacts, liquid, extra contacts & case
      • Glasses
      • Band-aids & blister block
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Make-up & remover
      • Medicines & prescriptions
  • Electronics
    • Camera, charger, case, guerilla pod & extra battery
    • iPod, splitter, charger & ear buds
    • iPad & cover
    • Nook loaded with guidebooks
    • Flip video camera
    • Outlet expander
    • Adaptors
  • Travel gear
    • Passports
    • Eye patches & ear plugs
    • Inflatable neck pillow
    • Money belt
    • Waterbottles & steripen
    • Headlamps
    • Small notebook & pen
    • Cards
    • Locks (small, large)
    • First aid kit
    • Sewing kit
    • Ziplocks in a variety of sizes
    • Laundry soap, travel clothesline & sink stopper
  • Trekking gear (just for Camino de Santiago)
    • Tent (mailed home early after 10 days)
    • Sleeping bags (mailed home early after 10 days)
    • Sleeping pads (mailed home early after 10 days)
    • Trekking poles
    • Ponchos
    • Platypus 2L water bag
    • Knife
    • Dirt shovel
    • Matches
    • Hats

What Now? (by Nathan & Carmen)

Returning to San Francicso

Nathan’s favorite restaurant: Sol Food in San Rafael

When we initially thought of traveling for six months to a year the idea was more of a dream than a reality.  Traveling internationally becomes an addiction, some call it the travel bug, but our need to travel became a living necessity after our first trips to Europe.  The symptoms are rather subtle at first: excitement to review photos, enthusiasm when returning to our jobs and enjoyment to fall back into the routine of ordinary life.  Fast forward a couple months and the restlessness initiates the ideas of another big trip start forming.  We typically settle the anxiety through a scattering of weekend trips and hiking adventures.  Eventually the urge to travel becomes so intense that we busy ourselves planning the destinations of our next multi-week exploration.

Carmen on Barcelona steps (2006)

Returning to California meant some big choices.  While there were seemingly endless possibilities of what to do next, for us, it really came down to two.  Option 1 is to settle down somewhere and start job hunting.  “Somewhere” is still to be determined which is both scary and exciting.  Option 2 is to keep going and take the full year off to travel, explore, meet new people, hike, and eat delicious foods.  After much thought, financial analysis and discussion, we decided there was really only one responsible choice.  We simply had to find out what was behind door number 2.

Carmen enjoying a rosé and a perfect lunch at Prune in NYC (2011)

New York street art and bicycle (2011)

So we finally committed to a full year off.  Woo hoo!  Then the challenge was to figure out what the rest of the year includes.  First we made a fantasy list of all the places we would ever like to go if money and time were no object (i.e. the fun part). Next we cut down that list to what we could realistically do (i.e. the less fun part). Now we are in the midst of doing all the planning required to make the dream come true.  The rough itinerary for the rest of the year is as follows:

  • Summer 2012 :: USA
  • September – October 2012 :: Europe
  • November 2012 :: India
  • December 2012 :: Southeast Asia
  • January 2013 :: China

The blog continues! And we will be sharing and documenting the details right here for everyone to enjoy.  Here is a teaser of the things to come:

Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park (2010)

In 2010 we hiked embarked on a week-long expedition into the canyons of Southern Utah.  We discovered majestic scenery and seemingly painted landscapes.  Our enjoyment of the canyons of Cafayate and the beautiful rocks of our Salar de Uyuni adventure enticed us to go and see one thing – The Grand Canyon.  There will be more hikes, more food and more red canyons.

New York density (2011)

Chicago highrises (2011)

Our United States tour will continue from vertical cliffs to vertigo skyscrapers as we explore New York City and Chicago with friends and family.  From there we trade in the tallest buildings for the tallest rows of corn, Nebraska here we come!

Hiking with Manish in Muir Woods (2010)

Having a laugh outside Bouchon Bakery

We return for the best of California summer where we will be posting about the best spots in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  You can expect hiking and all of our favorite restaurants.

Gaudí’s Casa Batlló (2006)

The real excursion happens in September.  With our passports in hand, clothes freshly laundered we will be climbing aboard another jet plane for another five months of adventure.  First stop Spain.  There are just some activities that would never happen unless we took a year off to travel.  Thus, let’s put a our four feet to the test as we will be walking 500 miles across northern Spain on the Santiago de Compostela trail.

Nathan on the Thames (2010)

London’s historic architecture (2006)

Spain is not the only European place we want to see.  We’ll tie in our favorite city, London, France, Germany and some great wine excursions along the way.

Indian lunch while in Singapore (2009)

But nothing will be as bustling and exciting as what we expect to find in our next country.  We are both excited and almost giddy to begin our exploration of India.  We can’t wait to experience the intense flavors, markets and crowds that are unlike anything we have ever seen.

Thai cooking by 4FEET2MOUTHS (2011)

Our love of Thai food and our love of our Thai friend brings us to this beautiful country.  From boat-side street food to dancing octopus we will be trying to stay cool while eating chilies in Thailand.  Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam will conclude our exploration of the Indochinese peninsula.

Shanghai nightscape (2009)

Pan-fried Soup Dumplings at Yang’s in Shanghai (2009)

Asia would not be complete without seeing more of the wonders of China.  Carmen and I fell in love with the authentic and varied cuisines during a vacation in 2009.  From then on we have been obsessed with Sichuan cuisine.  We are looking forward to hardcore negotiating at the markets, mouth numbing delights from street side vendors and, of course, much hand waving and pointing.

Hong Kong density (2009)

Dim sum craziness in Hong Kong (2009)

We could not forget Hong Kong!  This city packs a punch with more fifty story buildings than anywhere else, delicious food and a perfect blend of East and West.

The Great wall of China (2009)

How about that for a year of travel?  We will explore four continents, over sixteen countries, all the while creating profound memories.  As much as possible we are going to try to meet up with friends along the way.  We will walk, we will eat and 4FEET2MOUTHS travels on – see you on the road!

Forbidden city cauldron handle (2009)

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