As the Christmas season rolls around I can’t help but notice the proliferation of articles on “The perfect gift for…..”. Whether it is the golfer, the outdoorsman, the photographer, or the traveller, it seems everyone has their own idea of what the perfect gift idea is. Don’t worry, I am not going to suggest a list. However it did get me thinking as to what is really important to us with our travelling lifestyle. We don’t travel particularly light, however this is everything. We don’t return to a base to stock up or change clothing choices. What is in the cases is everything we need to live. With airlines becoming stricter with their luggage weight limits, every item needs to have a purpose. The photo above is what we left Canada with just over two years ago. We have reduced our load even more since that time.

Wearable items
In addition to wearing extra clothing and utilizing all the pockets, I can lighten my luggage by about 12kg at check in. I have to put it back in my carry on before security, mind you. All part of the game when necessary.

Some people claim they travel with just carry on, and I believe that is admirable, it is absolutely unrealistic for us. Carry on is pretty well universally limited to 7kg. My camera bag weighs more than that. As you can see in the above photo I can usually get past check in by carrying extra items on my person. Is that right? Probably not, but I have yet to have anyone give me a valid reason for the 7kg so fair is fair in the game of gouging for payment on luggage in travel.

However, the focus here is on items we find to be very important to us. My camera equipment is very important to me and I could lighten my load by switching to a mirrorless camera, however that is a very expensive proposition so that won’t be changing in the foreseeable future.

Coffee press
Our $6 coffee press that we acquired in a K-mart in Brisbane Australia is a vital part of our daily routine. I am more than a little surprised that this one has lasted more than two years of constant travel.
Juicer and Jigger
Because we don’t by souvenirs due to our luggage limitations our practical purchases become our souvenirs. The jigger was given to us by friends travelling to see us in Belize and the juicer we purchased in a market in Rivas, Nicaragua.
Folding Frames
These folding cardboard frames get set up whenever we are in a location for more than a couple of days. They are great at protecting the photos and provide an excellent and simple way of displaying them wherever we are staying. These are our handsome boys.
Poached Egg Cups
In Albury, Australia we found these fantastic silicone cups for poaching eggs. We love poached eggs but the vinegar and water thing simply was not working for us. Such a treat to have proper poached eggs.
Bag Clips
I know it is mundane, but when humidity is high and bugs are present, being able to properly secure your open bags of rice, sugar, crackers, etc becomes quite important.
Backgammon
While we were in Albury, Australia Karen reduced our load by making a backgammon board on a piece of material. It works brilliantly and we use it nearly every day.
Bluetooth Speaker
We enjoy having music playing in the background from streaming sites or listening to local radio stations to find out what is going on. This speaker we picked up in Bangkok after our original one finally packed it in. Sound is significantly better than what we get from our computers.

We started with talking a bit about tech and I’ll finish with that as well. Most of the items I have mentioned are very inexpensive yet contribute greatly to our comfort while we travel. The last items are anything but inexpensive but frankly are vital to us. If they stop working or are ever stolen it will be a top priority to replace them ASAP. They also account for a lot of weight. Though I am holding out hope that Apple will add a few more features to it’s iPad Pro and I may just replace my laptop with that. Not yet though.

iPad with Otterbox case
Karen’s iPad 4 is the planning workhorse. It gets a ton of use and just keeps ticking. And a shout out to Otterbox cases. When the first one started falling apart they delivered a replacement free of charge to where we were in Bangkok. Also our streaming site of choice right now is Accuradio. A great variety of genre.
Macbook Pro
Last but not least is my MacBook Pro. I got it because it is superlative in working with photos and video. Even when the hard drive crashed just before we left Vietnam I was able to go to an Apple store in Hong Kong and have a reasonably priced solution worked out for me. Now it runs off of the external hard drive you see here. A bit slower, but still works like a damn.

Living as a nomad has it’s challenges and certainly one has to make sacrifices. However we find with a few essential items, day to day life is just as comfortable as if we were sitting in our own living room in Canada (if we had one). We have found that most things simply do not hold that much worth once you leave them behind.

Happy travels.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

3 comments on “Travel Essentials

  1. Jim Richards

    Peter and Karen, First off, happy new year – hope that 2018 is wonderful for you both and your families in every way imaginable. I’m enjoying your blog, and found this one resonated well. Interesting that nutritional tools can be so essential (but we all know that an army marches on it’s stomach) along with the extra curricular games and music (we have to keep it fun)! Really, just wanted to reach out and say hello! Keep the photos and stories coming!

  2. Practical, honest, to-the-point and relatable. Thanks for this resource Dad, it’ll come in handy when I get to my own world tour

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