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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's in my backpack?

A collection of SIM cards from around the world, several mobile phones, a Canon G10 (cracked screen and all!) and a swag of notebooks among other things, but you can find out more by visiting Matador. Although I have to admit, I don't really use a backpack unless I'm going on a bushwalk or trek, but I always keep one in my Samsonite. But I won't tell you more here. You can drop by Matador and check out the interview and the gear I haul around with me. Also take a look at their chats with other travel writers, photographers and podcasters as part of Matador's ongoing series: What's in your backpack? And do have a look at Terry's post on his back-up process on the road, which saved me last week when I had to replace my Mac. Back to work for me... busy week ahead.


Sandy O'Sullivan said...

Oh I LOVE the story on what's in your backpack... I love the whole packing thing... what to take, what to leave etc. I'm far too old and fat to manage a backpack... and for almost all travel I do, I need a laptop bag anyway, but the spirit of the backpack is there. It's just better organised into an actual suitcase.

I confess I thought of you when I bought a new 63 inch the other day, and just couldn't do the spinner... they are just too heavy... so I got just a standard light 3.3 kg Antler that is deeper than most of the size (I pack my camera case... I know, the risks!!!!! But I figure, I'm insured by work - bugger, now I have to go and touch a lot of wood). With Antler, they are alright, they don't hold up to a huge amount, but then mostly my stuff doesn't have to... they still keep shape and look okay a year in, and two years in the life of one of my suitcases, is the equivalent to their seven years of warranty.

The whole 'what do you take' stuff is a constantly fun moment of the travel for me... guessing at what will come my way. I don't take everything, I DO remember that places that I travel to have stuff... like when do I stay anywhere that doesn't have crappy shampoo? I can leave that, my hair isn't that precious... but making sure I have the right adaptors is key. That kind of thing. Oh and clothes of course. I have that capacity to look incredibly daggy very easily, so sometimes this has to be countered by really planning the look in a way thats easier when you're able to eject dagginess from the suitcase.

I like the idea that travel can make you over, and can simplify things, and packing is the best example of this. I LOVE Matador's ongoing series for this reason... inspirations!


marina villatoro said...

i try never to use a backpack, especially in central america. there have been over 100 different and creative ways of robbing them or from them. so i try to minimize everything so it's on my person. it's interesting how minimally we can actually leave the house these days, even when traveling.
The Travel Expert(a) and an Expat with a Twist

Lara Dunston said...

HI Sandy - I'm exactly the same as you. The backpack only comes out at times a backpack is needed - bushwalks, treks, etc - and it's big enough for those and small enough to fit in the Samsonite, which is absolutely perfect for me.

I'll have to investigate the Antler, but we've had a few Samsonites now and they're hard-wearing and long-lasting, although ours are in need of replacing now. Yep, a good go-everywhere adaptor is essential - absolutely! I should have mentioned ours actually... :(

Hi Marina

You are so right. I did the same when I was in South America. I had a smart leather backpack actually for day-to-day use and that was fantastic because it was practical during the day (I was doing research, so it was all laden with books) but it was stylish enough to take to restaurants and bars etc in the evenings if I didn't have time to go back to the hotel.

Although we can't do the minimalist travel I'm afraid - it's just impossible when we're working, because Terry has a whole photography kit he needs to take if he's shooting a book, and I have notebooks, cameras, research materials I gather throughout the day, etc. Holiday-ing is another thing and I love to travel with little then!

Thanks for your comments!

Carlo said...

if only i could travel like you.

Lola said...

Thanks so much for contributing Lara. It's been generating a lot of traffic as well :)

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Carlo - I think you would want to travel a lot lighter than I do. :) Thanks for your comment!

Hi Lola - no problem - anytime - glad the traffic is coming in!

jen laceda said...

Hi Lara,
You know what, I just actually wrote a post about the state of our lives now. We've been living out of boxes for the last 2 years because of a messy 20-month-long renovation with a BAD contractor! The only things that keep me, my husband and our 2 y.o. girl sane, are our technology...laptop, iPods, blackberry, cameras,etc. Essentially, we are nomads on our own turf--moving & living at familiy's & relatives'. But technology keeps us sane! If not for blogging and all these tools, I wouldn't know how to deal with stuff. (We're taking legal action against our contractor now). Just wanted to thank you and Terry for the inspiration and for keeping me informed and entertained! It's very cathartic for me, which is good! :)

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Jen

Thank you for the kind words. You are too sweet. But that is such a good point about the technology! You are so right! That's the same for us. We are always travelling, and the only constant apart from the clothes in our suitcase is our technology and what it enables us to do and see and keep and learn.

Some people like to "switch off" when they travel, but for us, we live on the road, our lives on the road are no different to off the road - we have downtime obviously - but the technology is a vital part of our lives.

Good luck with your legal battle too!

Erin Reese said...

I can so relate to the contents of your pack - similar to my life! Great to see another sister-writer out on the road. Thanks, also for checking out my Bindi blog :).

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Erin - I'm glad you relate! Although you wouldn't want to see what else is in there - Matador was only interested in my techie/writer contents, but there's all kinds of other stuff in there. Ugh! And thanks for dropping by CTG also!

franki durbin said...

Easy... my iPhone (which is my life), my Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 which is a my indestructible wide-angle 10x zoom, ridiculous megapixel camera, water, water, water, my Clarins UV40 Sunblock and Aveeno positively ageless spray (50SPF) for body. I also love having a sketchbook. You never know when you might be inspired to sketch or draw or write. I also love carrying a cashmere cardigan & more fabulous (less walkable) shoes in case you need to be a bit more dressed up on a moment's notice. And...of course gloss!

Lara Dunston said...

I can just picture you now, Franki - very cute in your cashmere! ;)