If I look back at the most successful posts on this blog (and there are more than 500 articles published so far) they’re all emerged as part of interactions, not as standalone revelations or epiphanies. They became popular only when they were part of some challenge or response to other bloggers.
I don’t know if this is the rule on the internet, but it’s certainly true for this blog. For instance, 100 Ways To Live A Better Life, a blog post with more than 250.000 unique page views, was part of a challenge from another blogger. A quarter of a million people can’t be wrong.
So, I decided to take on challenges more often. Of course, I will apply some filters. I won’t engage in challenges I don’t like or in stupid link memes. But if there’s something that really rings a bell inside, I will follow. And that’s exactly what happened this morning when I read this blog post by Nina Yau, from Castles In the Air.
In short, it’s a challenge about your fundamental or non-avoidable luggage that you will be willing to take on a distant journey. I dig distant journeys. Been around the world twice, visiting Vegas, Japan, Thailand or New Zealand. Even came up with 44 tips for traveling long distance.
But enough with that. Let’s get back to the point. I split the challenge into 3 main parts. First one is about what I think it’s absolutely necessary to take on a journey. Things I can’t live without. The second part is what I call “nice to have”, things that would be cool to have, but not compulsory. And the third part is about what I will leave behind.
Things I can’t really leave the house without.
From a long experience I know these are fundamental. We live in a world which needs written proof of your existence. Without it, you’re not there. So, I usually take with me my identity card (in Europe I can travel only with that, I don’t need a passport), my driver license and my passport.
In the form of the most used currencies (USD, Euros) or debit cards. I own only one credit card and I keep it topped most of the time, just as an emergency package. The debit cards are used to carry cash in a little bit more flexible way. Never used traveler checks so far.
Basic Digital Gear
By that I mean: laptop, iPhone, iPad. I’m a digital nomad and traveling without any of these won’t make sense.
Pens And A Moleskine
Again, from a long experience I learned that you need to fill in a lot of papers when you travel and if you don’t have a pen handy you will lose a lot of time. The Moleskine is needed as backup if any other digital method of storing information fails me (out of power, broken, etc).
For maximum 2 days. A pair of bluejeans, two teeshirts, one shirt, 2 bandanas (I’m hearing my head shaved so I need a way to protect if from sun), socks and underwear. At any decent hotel you can find a DIY washing facility so you don’t need to carry any extra clothing in your luggage. But I still think I need to be covered with clothes for at least 2 days.
A Pair Of Shoes
Only one, and I prefer Caterpillars. They’re good on pretty much any terrain (urban or hiking) and they’re very resistant. I seldom carry more than one pair of shoes in my luggage.
Basic Self Care Stuff
Tooth brush, tooth paste, soap and that also includes some fundamental meds (antibiotics are hard to get in some countries, for instance, and a band-aid never hurts) and sunscreen. After getting burned a few times on some of the most strange meridians of this globe I decided I will never leave home without it.
I have a Crumpler which went all over the world with me. But if I didn’t have one I would pick a backpack which can accommodate at least 2 days worth of me: clothes, self-care products and digital gears, and yet will be still easy to carry.
Nice To Have
Things that I usually take with me if I know where I’m going to or if the initial research gave the impression I could.
It’s a nice to have equipment but also requires a great deal of attention. So I don’t consider it a fundamental gear.
Local Phone Cards
Not necessary if you’re going there for the first time (and kinda hard to get it in advance) but if you know you’re going there at least a few times per year (like I do with New Zealand) it’s good to have one handy. Prepaid phone and internet cards.
I kinda hesitated if I should put it this under unavoidable, but I think you can do without it, and get one pair when you’re at your destination. But again, if you travel a lot and if you’re in some very sunny countries (New Zealand or Australia would be a good example) you need to have a very good piece of equipment with you. It can make a lot of difference.
A jacket, a pullover, stuff like that. Just in case the weather goes bad on me.
To Leave Behind
Everything that doesn’t really matters.
In fact, all you need is a bed for the night and some tables and chairs every once in a while. You can get those at motels or restaurants.
I did a few trips by car, but it proved to be more cumbersome than I thought. Now, even if I go pretty close, I do it without the car.
Of course, it’s impossible to take it with you. As much as I love taking care of my vineyard and my cherry tree and my flower garden, I am somehow relieved to leave it back.
Of course. Who needs that, anyway?
I like to cook and I do it quite often. But when traveling I’m again relieved to not take care of that.
These are not technically objects, but they do take a lot of our time and it feels good to leave them behind. Or at least I feel good to leave them behind.
If you really look at the items you have when you travel, it isn’t that much. Life should really be a holiday and enjoyed as such.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.