Backpack through Europe from the comfort of your home

Graduate student Xuehui (Alice) Chao works the virtual reality system for ANTH 399, currently in development, in Davenport Hall on Sep. 19, 2018.

Brian Bauer

Graduate student Xuehui (Alice) Chao works the virtual reality system for ANTH 399, currently in development, in Davenport Hall on Sep. 19, 2018.

A lot of you are probably finalizing plans for backpacking trips through Europe or other exotic countries after graduation. In anticipation of these exciting experiences, I thought as someone with extensive knowledge in this area I would share a few affordable items that will make a world of a difference on your journey to self-discovery. 

VR headset

Vicariously experience the backpacking trip through Europe or the last few weeks of studying abroad through the Oculus VR device. This way, you avoid paying the near-zero current cost of airfare and prevent pesky tourists like yourself from photobombing the pictures you were going to post with the original captions in a foreign language you had in mind. 

A Lawnchair

Reconnect with old friends in comfort by procuring an ergonomic foldable lawn chair for sitting in their driveway and touching base while at least 6 feet away from each other. I see a lot of pictures of people sitting on their cars and while that is an option, I do not imagine it being a tenable way to stay comfortable for extended periods of time. 

Wi-Fi booster

With each member of your family trying to make power grabs for all the bandwidth available in the house, you gotta stay one step ahead: install a Wi-Fi signal booster to give yourself priority over the fast internet connection. This precludes you from the frustrations involved with a laggy connection when binge watching substantive Netflix programs, such as Too Hot to Handle and Love is Blind. 

Subscription to a home workout video service

Peloton is a good example that comes with a lengthy free trial. With gyms being closed, this is the best way to ensure you’re in the shape you want when you return to Kams or the newly renovated Red Lion and attempt to rekindle flings from last year that ended abruptly. 


If you were thinking of getting a pet to fill a void from being forced to stay inside, opt for a lower-maintenance throwback Tamagotchi device. You will get the same level of fulfillment that comes from taking care of another living thing without the issues that come along when potty training a new pet. 

Discrete Flask

Get a thermos. Normally it is used for water, but dedicate it to filling it inside with the beverages your parents would rather you not ingest in front of them and your younger siblings. While everyone else thinks you are making an effort to stay hydrated, you are bringing all the happy hours we missed out on into your living room. I’ve also noticed firsthand it makes 24/7 confinement in close quarters with your family much more bearable. 

I hope this list has been constructive or given you inspiration for other potential last-minute purchases you might need to make before you depart. Lastly, make sure your passport hasn’t expired, and stay safe!

Noah is a junior in Business.

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