Category — Gear
I’m the first to admit it’s a bit twisted to talk about the gear we’re buying for this trip so soon after I’ve written about how good it feels to get rid of our belongings. What can I say? I’m a walking contradiction.
Not to mention a gadget freak.
So here are some of my “finds” – gear that may or may not be useful on our trip.
The ASUS eeePC (below left) is an amazing little computer – not big enough to be a workhorse laptop – but definitely more useful than a Blackberry-type device.
The Nokia E61 (below right) is a very nice unlocked quad-band phone. I’ve installed a MaxRoam world SIM card and TruPhone software that provides the option of low cost international calling over wi-fi networks.
The Leatherman Wave. 18 Tools. A Million Solutions. Say No More.
Dani found the SteriPen – a UV device that will sterilize water. Not something to use every day, but when you need it, you really need it.
This little gadget is truly amazing – the Aiptek HD video camera. It shoots nice quality HD video and fits in the palm of your hand. Best of all – it cost just $140.
Finally, there’s the IronKey, an encrypted USB flash drive that comes preloaded with Firefox. It facilitates safe web surfing in Internet cafes and helps to protect your passwords. It may not be foolproof, but it does give another level of protection.
July 14, 2008 12 Comments
My girlfriends all want to know: How many pairs of underwear am I taking on our around-the-world journey?
In my whole life, including all the slumber parties I attended as a girl and lingerie-themed wedding showers over the years, I have never talked so much about panties as I have in the last month.
In making a packing list for the trip, I began to understand the obsession with underwear. We’ve got to pack light because we intend to carry our belongings onto the plane, so every item we can delete from the packing list is a bonus.
Plus, lugging big bundles of clothes, cameras, computers, and books up arduous hillside trails to get to the family hostels we’ve booked won’t be easy. (In my imagination, the accommodations are always up arduous hillside trails…)
All along, I hadn’t worried about underwear heavying up the load. A few handfuls wouldn’t take up that much room, right? And what could be more important than a clean foundation?
But seeing everything actually stacked up and laid out for packing is alarming. Even the tiny mountain of cotton briefs can’t be entirely justified. For help, I turned to what has become our travel guru — the BootsnAll website.
On the BootsnAll discussion boards expert travelers debate underwear strategy in detail: I read about favorite brands, the pros and cons of cotton, and whether to go with thongs (that’s a no) or a modest boxer style to make “quick, public changes of clothes go more smoothly.” (Yikes!)
I have learned that, as with technological leaps in electronics, there has been great progress in underwear technology. We are advised to avoid, for this kind of journey, our dungarees and cotton clothing that could take hours and hours to dry on makeshift laundry racks and clotheslines.
Instead, experienced travelers buy cleverly engineered cloth that wicks moisture (essential for those hot days), offers sun protection (not as critical in undergarments to be sure), has odor control (a definite plus), and is made from recycled fibers (gotta be green!).
The other day my friend Laura gave me the perfect gift, a product that makes the following pitch:
“Seasoned travelers save room by packing just one or two pairs of our underwear. They wash one at night and wear the other. Great fit and comfort in the most important layer you will put on.”
Call me old-fashioned: I’m opting for two!
June 1, 2008 16 Comments
A year or so ago I participated in a conference call with several different organizations working together on a project. An everyday occurrence for me and millions of other “consultants.” But there was something memorable about this call.
Forget the difficulty coordinating time zones – think about the technology involved in that call. Yet nowadays, we take it for granted.
A similar experience: Last summer, I had to reach a client on a fairly urgent matter. I dialed his regular U.S.-based cell phone number and was connected immediately. Again, nothing unusual about that – except he was walking through the medieval quarter in Tallinn, Estonia, when he answered.
With these recent experiences as context, I was determined to find the best “phone solution” for our trip. My goal was simple. I wanted us to be able to make inexpensive local calls in each country we visited and make it easy for friends and family to reach us wherever we were traveling.
After months of research and some modest real-world testing, here’s what I learned.
March 10, 2008 3 Comments