Travel: What I Pack

Posted by in Travel, Travel Product

Smart wheels and the return of the pack.

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MOBILE HOMES

This piece was originally published in September 2017 but I soon found it needed an update and links. Depending on whether it’s a short break or a full on global relocation I will pack accordingly. In the latter instance however my three bags are my home; a house on wheels (minus the proverbial kitchen sink). 

Changes to full service airline baggage rules means that I now need to reconfigure some of the contents for flight and some are now charging for more than one bag even if the combined weight is less than their limit! Sometimes common sense does not prevail in the art of travel. And while travel may be some way off, here’s a breakdown of what this nomad packs on the unknown and rocky road we call life.

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BAG (OR PACK) ONE (CLOTHES AND UTILITIES)

The classy black and lime green four wheeler housed my clothes. It weighed between 13 and 14kg but felt a lot more! It was great on shiny airport floors but not so great on old town cobbles or gravel, at times I longed for a pack! I also packed a few tote bags which are good for smalls or as a laundry bag.

To keep the weight down I have only a few winter tops and no jeans. Likewise with shoes; one office pair, one pair for leisure and one pair of summer sandals (Reebok in this case). Truth be known I’d rather some Merrell’s but at the mo these are a luxury I can’t afford. *These are not affiliate links but should be! Oh, sun cap – a black Nike.

The front pocket was a worry (think dodgy airport personnel) but carried light teaching props and a beautiful computer case which I barely used (see bag 3 below).

*UPDATE 2020 This bag was very expensive, and lasted about 2 years. Granted it wasn’t made for the knobbly streets of old town Europe but I expected more. You can read about my thoughts here. As of 2019 I’ve reverted to using a pack by QUECHUA (on the right above). After so many years with a wheely bag, walking with a pack on takes some getting used to. Tote bags are still useful!

Bags and pieces; the art of being a digital nomad.

BAG TWO (UTILITIES)

A duffle bag with wheels? Good in theory but too wayward! Difficult to control especially when faced with kerbs! It scuffed easy but was lighter than its pale green predecessor from Cardiff Market which was retired in 2017.

The Kansas II was ideal on short to medium jaunts and aside my sleeping bag housed my kitchen stuff (colander, cutlery, a small cooking pot) as well as toiletries and first aid, sewing equipment and a washing line. Weight when full, around 7kg.

*UPDATE The Kansas died in Barcelona, all will be revealed in my IBERIA UNKNOWN book. The sleeping bag, toiletries and first aid, sewing equipment and a washing line are now handled by the pack!

BAG THREE (TECH)

The third bag is for tech, this was during my final year in China a nice Swiss Win bag. While the shiny Swiss badge was beautiful it wasn’t the best purchase. For starters the interior had excess space which to me was totally unnecessary. The exterior outer pockets were zip-ups rather than mesh (another mistake as mesh is better for holding water bottles and umbrellas).

It housed smaller cables, memory pens, my laptop (MacBook Air) and other essentials like a light coat, scarf and beanie if I got caught short weather wise. When I’m not travelling, the tote bag used for my laptop doubles as a shopping bag for groceries.

Tech on the road.

In 2017 while back in China, the old Swiss was replaced by another American Tourister, a smart grey day pack. This lasted the longest but ultimately conked out one night at Faro airport and I decided to utilise the small grey CARTINOE laptop bag I’d been overcharged for and barely used. The umbrella has also since bitten the dust and I decided it wasn’t worth replacing it in the UK with high winds and rain.

UPDATE 2021

I am now down to two bags, the QUECHUA pack and the new CoolBell tamper proof tech pack which will be my carry on and day to day bag, a snip at £8 (it retails between £23-30) though the USB is broken it doesn’t matter too much and I’ve had fun trying to figure out what’s going to go where. The plus is I am now configured for post-pandemic travel.

I hope this is informative to would be nomads. In a parallel universe I own a nice apartment, have a stable job and all the rest but really in light of things, despite the risks, the minimalist life suits me and in my opinion is better than the text book of 9-5, a mortgage and pension schemes (that may never happen).

I am continually striving to make things smaller and lighter – if any fellow nomads have any tips/suggestions please get in touch.

PLAYLIST AND CREDITS

Thanks for reading here, should you be interested in my work; principally writing, photography, and teaching, check out the MEDIA page, and/or the UNIVERSITY page for my teaching ethos. 

Meanwhile, stay tuned with things here at Kulture Kiosk via THE ATLAS or on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where you can see some of my photos from around the world. Blog originally posted September 2017. Playlist and credits follow…

PLAYLIST
Leaving – Pet Shop Boys
North – ABC
My Bag – Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
Nomad Land – Michael Hedges
East of the Sun, West of the Moon – A-ha
Leave it All Behind – Perry Blake
Where I’m Calling From – No-Man
Life on Your Own – Human League
Moving – Supergrass (not normally a band I’d cover but the song was relevant in the early days of my UK and European travel).
Wanderlust – David Sylvian