Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stuffing it.

Sabbath is over, at least for this atheist.  I'm in a forest green robe, pondering over my coming months with Jordan and the subcontinent.  I've said this to her but feel inclined to share: I believe this voyage will be my greatest undertaking yet.  As daring as my uprooting to Phoenix felt, sleeping on the floor of my step-brother's and knowing none, I feel like I can balk at the mood I once felt.  I'm delighted to be doing this with someone who rides the same tonal waves we emit.  She helps me forget how tone deaf I appear to everyone else sometimes.

I'm a minimalist.  Sometimes, when I acquire a lot more than I feel like I can chew through, I desert the material cache without guilt.  It's insensible for me to latch on to anything more than memories. I have less these days than the past and the list grows smaller.

In honor of my glutes and the small of my back, I'm going to try to pack as lightly as possible.  I will acquire little more than postcards and chatchkis over these next few months so spare space will need to accommodate little else.  I'm going to bring less electronics than I've had during previous vacations but the necessities of having the web and a phone are already taken care of there.  I'm following a stranger's packing list.  It's not that I lack confidence in my own but reading site-specific recommendations is more useful.  I borrowed this one from the forum.  I'm posting it, word for word so that you have can reference it too, should I see you there.

My Backpack - What goes in and how (with pictures)

I thought I'd contribute to the packing forum for the first proper time with a guide to what I typically pack on an extended (say 1 month+) trip in Asia.

The following is pretty much exactly what I've taken with me on a number of trips across Asia. It assumes a diversity in the climate of the places I'm planning to visit, but also that any extra items required for activities such as trekking may be rented on the road with no need to account for them beforehand.

It assumes that on occasion, I may actually want to look somewhat smart and acceptable for things like special occasions or night-clubs.

It also assumes that while traveling between places, I'm wearing the absolute minimum:

1 pair flip-flops (or thongs), 1 t-shirt, 1 pair underwear, 1 pair shorts and 1 money-belt (w/ passport, cash and cards).

Here is the 55 liter backpack I've used for the last 6 years:

It is divided into 5 sections: 1 at the bottom, 1 in the center, 2 smaller side pockets, and 1 in the lid of the bag. In the above photo, it contains the following:

Bottom section:
1 towel
1 pair thermal underwear
1 sleeping-sheet
1 pair shoes suitable for hiking (but not full-on hiking boots).
1 pair sandals
3 (unread or finished) books

Side pockets:
One side carries 3 pairs socks and 4 pairs underwear
The other side holds my phone, camera and ipod chargers, along with my belt.

Central section:
1 pair light trousers or jeans
1 light hoodie or fleece
1 long-sleeved shirt
1 pair shorts (normally use 3/4 length when traveling)
1 pair swimming shorts
4 t-shirts (including one with collar)
1 bathroom bag (see below)
1 shoulder bag (see below)

The lid
In this section I carry just my guide-book, and whatever book I'm reading at that time. I leave space in this part for things I pick up along the way, as it is the most accessible section of the bag while traveling.

As noted above, I leave space in the main central compartment for my bathroom bag (right) and shoulder (day) bag (left), which each carry a number of items:

I use the shoulder bag as a day-pack for sight-seeing, wandering around etc.

It carries:
1 iPod
1 camera
1 mobile phone
2 pens
1 note-book
prescription glasses
1 lighter
1 padlock (preferably combination)
1 antibacterial hand-gel
1 penknife
1 headlamp


My bathroom bag holds:
1 toothbrush
1 toothpaste
1 floss
1 razor w/blades
1 shampoo/shower gel
1 sun cream
1 mozzie repellent
1 roll-on deodorant
1 small medical bag, which includes:
(water-purifying tablets, painkillers, plasters, bandage, antiseptic solution, antibiotic powder, swabs)


What I don't bring:
I don't travel with a sleeping-bag, mozzie net or anything to deal with rain barring a rain cover for the back-pack which is in a hidden pocket at the bottom. But I generally travel in hot places where rain isn't such a problem. When it does rain, I get wet :D
When it gets cold, I layer up, with the thermals being particularly useful. Only in Nepal have I had to buy extra items, and that was in advance of a 2-week trek.

Note: for many people, the above will be either too much or too little. Everyone has their own preferences and style when it comes to packing. On my first backpacking trip around Europe 8 years ago, I carried an 80-liter bag which contained all of the above and a whole lot more, including a tent and sleeping-bag, and eventually a Moroccan rug. It took another trip after that before I hit upon the above as my ideal pack.
I've just trimmed my beard and will not scoff at paying Rs. 100 for another.  Canned shaving cream just sounds like imminent terror.  I'm bringing my bouldering gear and a flask. A mimikaki :
Anyhow, I can list off more but it's getting cumbersome and keeping me from actually packing the bag.  I've decided to take ~$200 to convert and $1800 on a Capital One Debit Card.  It should allow me to convert money at the thousands of ATMs in India without paying conversion or ATM fees.  I searched quite intensely last month for such a card. I'm budgeting around $25 a day.  Coming home with cash is obviously optimal but I'm prepared to splurge on better class train tickets or getting shitfaced.  

My anxiousness is going to make sleeping really hard these next few days.  Cheers melatonin.

1 comment:

i4k20z3 said...

A ipod, are you insane? Bring back the rio. =)

Hope you're flight in is going well.