Let’s get it out of the way right now: with a guitar in tow I am officially a waste-my-time-waiting-for-checked-baggage traveler. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. I built a freakin guitar and I get to play it anytime, anywhere, everywhere! :)
Now to the updates.
If you haven’t read my complete list of gear, it’s all here: Travel Light, Travel Anywhere: The Ultimate Light Packing List
Most of that stuff has treated me well, but some of it is falling apart.
The Stuff That Needs Replacing
My Icebreaker BodyFit 150 shirt is developing tiny holes all over! I look like I got in a fight with a cat.
Oh, speaking of cats, I saved a baby kitty from drowning in a pool within my first hour in Chiang Mai! Besides saving my own cat after the hurricanes in Florida 5 years ago, this is one of the highlights of my life. If I could handle it emotionally I would volunteer at animal rescue places instead of just sending money, but I get too emotionally attached to the critters.
Baaaaack to the story at hand: I hand wash all of my clothes so there is absolutely no reason this Icebreaker shirt should be falling apart after 7 months. Or maybe that’s just the lifespan. I don’t know, but I’m definitely going to try a different (vegan) travel shirt when I officially retire this one.
The IceBreaker BodyFit 200 does not have holes in it, but it is far too thick and I have worn it maybe 5 times in India and Thailand.
My 3rd, and last, shirt: the Patagonia Capilene 1 is getting oddly discolored. It looks bad.
So Icebreaker and Patagonia shirts are a no-go for me from here on out. Suggestions?
The Patagonia Lightweight Endurance Quarter Socks are on their last legs. The heels are almost completely worn out. I actually picked up a pair of completely synthetic socks at REI just before I left for India. I haven’t worn them much as they’re just there to replace the first pair of Patagonia socks that gets the heave-ho.
The Smartwool Adrenaline Light Mini Crew socks aren’t faring much better. One sock has a tiny hole on the heel that I’m sure will grow with time. But on the whole, the Smartwool socks feel more sturdy than the Patagonia.
I stopped wearing my Vibram Five Fingers, which cuts down on sock usage, after I hurt my knee running 4-5 weeks ago in India. But now my knee is better so I’ll be wearing them more. The only way to get the stink out is a machine wash and they start to stink really quickly. Still not sure what to do about that.
My lone pair of pants are holding up well as far as the material is concerned, but they’re stained and even 2 machine washes didn’t get the stains out. This is why I wish travel clothes companies would come out with darker colors. I never wanted these khaki colored pants to begin with, but dark travel pants are near impossible to find. Especially when you’re 6′ 5″ and need a long inseam.
I’ve actually strongly considered creating my own line of travel pants in only dark colors and with strictly zippered pockets. I’m not passionate enough about it to actually follow through so I’m throwing the idea out there for you. :)
On To The New Stuff!
Amazon Kindle 2 – Holy wow I love this thing! What I don’t love is that the books aren’t DRM free, which means if I get a different eBook reader in the future I can’t transfer the books. Lame. I love Amazon’s MP3 store for the lack of DRM, why did they mess up the Amazon Kindle eBook store? Dummyness. (new word?)
The Kindle is great because the screen has no back light and my eyes don’t get tired no matter how long I read. It really is just like reading a paperback, only without the page flipping. I’ve read it in the bright sun with no problems and actually ran into another guy reading a Kindle on the beach in Goa, India.
Biggest selling point for me (the reason I bought it actually): You can download eBooks from something like 65 countries directly to the Kindle from the wireless Kindle store (it’s $2 extra to get the wireless delivery internationally, free if you transfer via USB). In addition, there is a basic Web browser and Wikipedia search function. I used this when I was having trouble with Internet in India to check e-mail. No additional charge for that!
iPod Touch 32 GB – I told myself I wouldn’t replace my old iPod Mini until it broke. Well, that thing is a workhorse and I’m convinced it will never break. I gave it to my Dad. Even put Lady Gaga on it for him, hoping one day he’ll click play and his mind will be blown. :) (He’s reading this, btw.)
So why did I get the iPod Touch?
1) I love music and with 32GB of storage I can fit almost my entire music collection on it.
2) I love reading and the free Stanza eBook reader app lets me read public domain eBooks when I’m waiting in line, on public transport, or just hanging out without my Kindle. There’s also a Kindle app if I want to read my Kindle books! It’s not great reading eBooks on this tiny thing, but for 1-30 minutes it’s perfect.
3) The Skype App allows me to use it as a phone as long as I have a WiFi connection.
4) The Wifi capability allows me to respond to e-mail and moderate blog comments if I so desire.
5) I wanted to get into iPhone/iPod Touch App development and that’s a little difficult without owning the device. My first app (iHeadlines: Instant Blog Headline Generator) is out by the way! I’ve had some good feedback about it so far and an article about iPhone App Development is coming soon. iHeadlines is only $3 right now so if you have a blog you should go get it ASAP. I am considering raising the price because at $3 it’s not going to even make development costs back. :)
6) Battery life. The battery life of the iPod Mini is 4-5 hours. I can listen to music on my iPod Touch for a good 20 hours before recharging.
7) Note taking. When a note doesn’t constitute using my pen/notepad I put it on the iPod.
Clif Bars instead of Organic Raw Food Bars – While the raw food bars taste better and have better ingredients they are also very melty. Clif Bars, almost all of which are vegan, don’t melt. They come from the future. Since sometimes finding veg options is difficult or time-consuming in a new place, I need some rations to hold me over. These do a mighty fine job.
Also, the book that Gary Erickson wrote a few years ago is a Freedom Fighters must read: Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: The Story of Clif Bar & Co.
Lenovo X200 (no link because I don’t really recommend it) – A very small, very light, fully-functioning laptop. This is not a netbook. I researched computers forever before finally deciding on this one. I was very close to getting a Macbook Air, but Apple is stupid and only put one USB port on that thing. Since I use my computer to recharge batteries, my Flip camera, and my iPod, I need more than one USB port. Sorry Apple, you’re not perfect. Yes, I understand I could use a USB hub. But if I’m going to spend $2k+ on a computer it better have what I want. The X200 was barely over $1k.
That said, the Lenovo X200 isn’t perfect either. I can’t get the Bluetooth to work (I want to see if there are any cool things I can do with the iPod Touch’s Bluetooth) and the Trackpoint mouse causes intense cramps in my right hand/forearm. There is no trackpad, which is what all other laptops use for the mouse.
I will sell this computer when I get back to the States and find something else. Maybe Apple will smarten up and put at least one additional USB port on the Air and I’ll become an Apple fanboy who believes Apple does no wrong (even though there’s a Genius Bar at every Apple store to handle all the problems with Macs haha). ;) (Sorry dudes and dudettes, just busting your Apple chops. I still love you.)
Pacsafe MetroSafe 300 – Similar to my old MetroSafe 200, except bigger (for the new laptop), and with better security features. I like it a lot, but it’s not perfect. It’s heavy by itself (due to the metal!). Add the laptop and cameras and my shoulder/back starts hurting pretty quickly. The strap is the problem. It’s too thin and digs in. I think that’s the problem with most messenger bags though.
Flip UltraHD Camcorder – I upgraded from my old Flip Ultra to the newer HD model and I’m glad I did. The video quality is great and it takes 2 hours of video instead of 1 hour. I’m a big fan of these little workhorses, especially considering they’re so cheap. (Get it used and it’s even cheaper!)
And that’s it. Not too much change, but enough to warrant an update.
Coming soon (err, eventually): ultra light packing for women. I have enlisted 3 awesome women (readers of this site) to hook me up with their light packing lists. Editing packing lists is a pain though so I’ve been putting it off for months.
Have your own light packing list? Link to it below!
Question about the items on my list? Ask below.
Want to buy an item from my list for your own adventures? Click the links above and Amazon gives me 4-7% per sale. (4% for electronics.) Usually that amounts to this site generating $40-$50/month in commissions from Amazon, which isn’t much, but you will never hear me complain about “free” money. :)