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One Month In Italy

Zeke, the filmmmaker behind many of our videos, documented a 30 day trip through Northern Italy with his wife and son. In this post, Zeke shares an essay about the reasons for the trip, as well as the videos he captured: how his family packed for the trip, their favorite travel hacks, and their tour of Italy. 

The Videos

Episode I: How To Pack For 30 Day Trip Without Checking a Bag

Episode II:  Zeke's Top Travel Hacks

Episode III:  One Month In Italy

The Essay

Ten years is a long time. That’s why my wife and I wanted to do something really special for our 10 year anniversary. We took a 30 day trip through Northern Italy with our 7 year old. With our 7 year old? Yes. Turns out, spending a month in a foreign country, changing towns every 3 to 6 days, and bringing along a 7 year old can sometimes make 30 days feel longer than 10 years! Of course, that’s nothing a bit of gelato can’t fix!

We started our adventure in Venice. Now, as a filmmaker and an entrepreneur, I’ve traveled all over the world, but Venice is unlike anyplace I’ve ever seen. At times it felt like we were in the middle of movie set, or a weird dream. Other times it felt like if we sneezed all the buildings would crumble to dust around us. Everything was beautifully old. The buildings and bridges that carry foot traffic over the canals are held together with what look like iron staples. There aren’t any cars. I mean, none. No bikes—at least, we didn’t see any. Everyone, and everything, moves around on foot. Everything about Venice was magical.

From Venice we took the train to Bellagio. If I could pick any place in the world to live all year long, it would be Bellagio in the summertime. It had all the magic and charm of Venice, but with 100 times the beauty. The town climbs out of a giant lake that is surrounded on all sides by mountains. Stunning. There’s no point in me describing it in detail. Watch the video. One of my favorite moments from the entire trip was when we were taking the ferry boat from one side of the lake to the other. A massive rainstorm rolled in on top of us. It turned the lake black. Most people on the ferry ran for cover, but I decided to stand out in it, getting soaked and soaking up the incredible views that surrounded me.

From Bellagio we went to Milan, then up almost to the northern border of Italy where my wife had planned a surprise. After a long drive, we started winding up a hill and arrived at a castle. Like going from one dream to another, we got to spend two nights IN a castle. It once belonged to one of the first kings of Italy. There are only a few guest rooms there, so it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.

We were in Italy during Ferragosto, a holiday where most places close and most of the people go away on vacation. This was perfect for us as it meant small to no crowds almost everywhere we went. Enough stores and restaurants were open that we never went without. We were in Parma at the height of Ferragosto. So instead of crowds, it was mostly empty. The food in Parma was—never mind. I don’t want to rub it in, and it’s making me hungry just thinking about it. Parma was lovely and charming and that’s where our 7 year old realized that he and his friends at home all dress like slobs—his words (superhero T-shirts and silky basketball shorts). He decided from that point forward he wanted to dress sharp like the people he saw all over Italy. We bought him his first suit and that was that. It’s almost a year later now, and he has worn a blazer and a tie or bow tie nearly every day since. If you look close in the video, you’ll see the moment he went through this mental change. It’s when he’s trying on a suit for the first time. It’s become so much of his personality, I’m really happy that I caught the moment on film.

There’s really too much to write about: a 14 hour lightning storm in Tuscany where we stayed in a 500 year old tower, a view of ancient ruins from our balcony in Bologna, the food—everywhere. So much more.

During the few moments a week that my brain isn’t focused on what’s in front of me, it quickly drifts off to vivid memories from our 30 day trip through Italy. The moment is always followed by a deep feeling of peace and happiness. A smile. I’d do the trip all over again at least 100 times.

You asked, so here's a list of some of the bags and accessories that Zeke and his family took on their trip. -- TB Crew

Aeronaut 45
Night Flight Travel Duffel
Synapse 19
Shop Bags
Spiff Kits
3D Clear Organizer Cube
Side Effect
Key Straps
Clear Organizer Pouches
Q-Kit
Packing Cubes
Clear Quarter Packing Cube
RFID Passport Pouch

17 comments

TB Crew

We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.

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17 comments

  • Cheech

    Great videos! What camera did you use to film them?

  • Charles

    So… the bags are cool and I admire the ability to fit 30 days into those carryons. But how many mere mortals are going to spend over $1800 on their luggage?

    Here’s my tally:

    Time Item Cost
    0:20 Synapse 19 190
    0:20 Night Flight 190
    0:22 Double Organizer Pouch 15
    1:21 3D Organizer Cube 27
    1:51 3D Organizer Cube, clear 32
    2:03 Stuff sack #3 ? 20
    3:21 Aeronaut 45 295
    3:21 Large Café Bag 75
    3:23 Spiff kit deluxe 55
    3:53 Spiff kit standard 45
    4:25 Stuff sack #4? 23
    4:50 3D Organizer Cube, clear 32
    5:03 Clear organizer pouch 14
    5:13 Packing cube shoulder bag 34
    5:35 Packing cube 21
    5:50 Packing cube 21
    6:20 Shop bag, large 50
    7:09 3D Organizer Cube, clear 32
    7:23 RFID Passport Pouch 25
    7:30 Stuff Sack #1 17
    7:38 Q-Kit Mini 15
    7:50 Clear organizer wallet 17
    8:40 Synapse 19 190
    8:40 Pilot 160
    8:47 Aether Packing Cube (A30) 22
    8:54 Packing cube, pilot sm mesh 21
    9:10 Aether Packing Cube (A30) 22
    9:22 Stuff sack #3 20
    9:50 Side Effect 50
    10:21 Shop bag, small 35
    10:55 RFID Passport Pouch 25
    11:00 Pocket Pouch 10
    11:04 Coyote Organizer Pouch 10
    11:07 Organizer Pouch, mini 10
    11:30 Key straps, 3 15

    TOTAL 1835

  • mizizzle

    Hi there! What did you use to secure the zippers on your bags? Would love to know. Thanks!

  • Janice Vetter

    Love this!!!!

  • Zeke

    @Beth Thanks Beth! The biggest woman’s hat and the boy’s hat were both from Sunday Afternoons and the other hats were from Helen Kaminski.

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