I have wanted to travel since I was a little girl. I would call up the airlines and ask them how much to fly from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angles, California (or a million other places). I am so sorry to every single person that spent all of that time on the phone with me as I was dreaming up where to go and how I would pay for it!

Creating adventures for myself and our family is still one of my top priorities and what we save for. I also want you to know that there have been many times in our life that by booking a trip we said no to so much to make it happen. Sometimes you just have to say yes to see what you are now willing to say no to.

Over the past 16 years of our business I have had the biggest honor and privilege of traveling with many of you all over the US and abroad. I have dreamed with you in Monet’s garden, picnicked at the Eiffel Tower, toasted each other as we were sailing into Budapest, were present sketching in more than I can count little and big chapels all over the world, wandered flea markets, had the best conversations at cafes, have kayaked with you along Lake Como, have ridden bikes through vineyards and past windmills and have woken up early on a foggy Amsterdam morning to witness the brilliance of Van Gogh. This life of making art has given me adventures I had only dreamed of.

One of the most common questions I get when I am traveling is about what clothes and art supplies do I pack. Today I will share what clothes and necessities I pack for extended stays. You can read Part One HERE. If you are traveling with your family I think you will enjoy my post, Traveling Well | Tips for Extended Adventures with your Family.


This past summer we enjoyed an extended four week stay along Lake Como and then ended our trip with an additional week in London. This was the first time we had stayed so long in one place as we were adventuring and we loved it! We got into our daily routine but in Bellagio, Italy. We had food shopping days, markets days, we figured out when the grocery stores were open, what speciality shops were our favorites, the days we would go to the florists etc. Our day to day life in Bellagio was so much easier when we purchased a little market cart with wheels (just like Kelly and I used to have back when we lived in Washington, DC).  I can promise you that our market cart did not look anywhere as cute as this one shown but this is the one we use here at home for all of the farmer’s markets. Shopping in the markets, creating your own picnics and creating dinners at your home away from home really adds to feeling like a local.


We walked absolutely everywhere while we were in Italy and only a few days in I purchased a leather backpack so I could pack a linen market bag, water, books and art supplies and have my hands free. If you know you will be out for long stretches at a time I can’t recommend this enough. This is not the exact backpack I purchased in Bellagio but they are very similar.


Extended travel means the possibility of packing for different kinds of weather. This past summer we were surprised (and sorely under packed) for how cool it was in Bellagio during the beginning of the trip. We had been there the same time the year before and it was hot so we made the mistake of assuming (you know what they say) and left jackets and heavier sweaters at home. Because it was going into summer it was very difficult to find warmer clothes in all of the stores. I will never travel again without a trench coat and a sweater for those cold nights and rainy days.


Traveling (when I am not teaching) is a huge opportunity for me to read more (and I am already a big reader). I usually pack a few books for each week we are gone. Jack and Maddy are the same way and our luggage weight often shows that! I always have a book on me. There are so many moments when you want to stop at a garden, cafe or just have a moment to rest that a book is so much more rewarding than on our phones.


My favorite part of traveling is living life the best I can where we are at. That will mean walking to the market, picking up fresh flowers, reading at a cafe, making art out and about and even having a picnic. I recommend bringing a basket or bag with you that allows you to carry whatever you need as you are enjoying your adventures. I always welcome picnics, reading outside and of course making art that I like to include a thin blanket into my basket that can be spread out on the ground. I have found that Turkish towels make for the perfect travel blanket. I always pack an umbrella and if it is pretty that makes it even better. A basket also can double as your picnic basket wherever you go. I love to include the blanket mentioned above, a few vintage French linens that I pack with me (yes, I love pretty things that much), a small wooden board for meats and cheeses and even one pretty little knife. The rest I find wherever we are like glasses from where we are staying, a good bottle of wine, food from the local deli etc. I am packing to be open to experiences. Now, can’t you just imagine your local lunch in the garden, face to the sun, art supplies or books around you and just living?


The more time I spend in Italy the more I am noticing the beautiful style of the women. You will see women in long dresses with nice tennis shoes. They look so pretty and feminine and they are also comfortable because of all the walking they do. You will see this at the markets, out at the cafes and on the ferry.   I leave the fancy shoes at home and pack for walking everywhere (and being comfortable).


During the last extended stay we would go from kayaking to the cafe to dinner. While we were out and about all day sometimes I just wanted a small purse for the essentials. For those days when you are doing more active outings I would suggest a small purse like THIS.


If you need a curling iron, an electric shaver etc. then you will want to make sure you purchase a dual voltage option. I have never found my regular curling iron to work with a converter while traveling in Europe. I have friends that have burned off chunks of hair or blown out the circuit. This is the curling iron I travel with and it was been amazing.


I also wanted to add a few things that are not included in the image above. In Italy many of the homes we have rented have washing machines but it is rare for anyone to have a dryer. Because of this you will find most homes have a clothesline and even a collapsable option in the home. You may even find that you are in a space without a washer or at a hotel so I always, always travel with a block of laundry soap for any laundry I can do in the sink. This has saved us more times than I can count. I have also found that the Italian liquid laundry detergents are HEAVILY scented and I absolutely don’t like that. This block soap will save you in this way too if you don’t like scented soaps.


If you are planning to travel for an extended amount of time and go to multiple locations you will thank me for this! All of my makeup and skincare easily fit in THIS. Because the sides fold down I didn’t unpack anything while we were in Bellagio but when we went to a market in Milan I just zipped it up and when we spent a few days in Venice I did the same. It was so easy to pack these essentials and move them from one hotel to the next.


I want to feel like I experienced an area. Where do the locals go for a cappuccino in the morning and cocktails at night? What park is the perfect spot to read and eat our lunch?  My favorite thing is to pick up my groceries, fresh flowers and make our temporary home feel homey. When I know the names of some of the locals before I leave that fills my heart up! I made a first connection and can’t wait to come back. So, of course I want to pack the right clothes but I want to get a taste of a place by LIVING there even if it is only for a few days or weeks.


I will keep adding to THIS list and will include little things when I can think of them that are travel musts.




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