Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ugly Americans

More on gear
Duct tape
Bert advised me to take some duct tape by taking a partial roll of duct tape and squishing it down. I’m going to try that but am concerned about the weight issue – I am not a strong guy. If it was my buddy Bert we were preparing a backpack for I’d toss a baby grand piano on top of a couple weeks worth of clothing and feel confident he could carry it. With me, well. I’m going for ultra light even for short trips. We’ll take a look and see what we can do with that.
Well, I’d asked my buddy Travis about army ponchos. He gave me the sad “Gosh you are old” look and told me that these days, soldiers wore ‘gortex’. He explained that it was a lot more form fitting. I’m thinking I’d like the style of poncho I had during my military days. I like this kind because of the eyelets in it that can be used to rig it as a tarp and the ability to cover my backpack with it. Always try to be prepared for the worst weather you can be. There is nothing worse than having all of your crap in your bag completely drenched. It’s not as severe as if we were camping out (no plans of that – my health isn’t that ducky) but it’s still not that hard to avoid.
Glass case
Some good advice from Felbrigg – he says Put your spare glasses in a rigid case when you travel. You can then stuff that case with extras, a couple of dollar bills, q-tips, the diamonds you lifted in the airport gift shop,etc...” He seems to know me pretty well. Not sure what I’d put in the glass case yet – I am worried about scratching the lenses. Money may not be a bad idea.
I was thinking it might be a good idea to get some mini-carabiners. On the bag I got, I was looking at the connection pieces and they appear to be of fairly weak plastic. It should stand up well enough going from hotel room to hotel room for a month, but carabiners are pretty cheap and would be a very easy ‘in the field fix’. Although they seem to be on Amazon, I’d rather go and select the exact size I need through messing around with them to make sure they’ll fit on my bag. Plus, they are light – good deal. Again, with these I’m going to look for (maybe find, maybe not) drab colors. I want to blend into the background as much as possible. Sure you blend less as it is pretty obvious you are a tourist but the less you stand out the better. When you’re traveling, don’t be the guy with shoulder length hair, ripped up blue jeans and a ‘Jack Daniels’ t-shirt. In a Moslem country. Don’t be that guy.
London lockdown day
The group got together via skype prior our normal table top roleplaying game and talked about the first part of the trip – London.
The group has decided that February 1st 2011 is going to be the end of procrastination day. Anyone wanting to go will either know by that day or make their own hotel arrangements. For people from the HC (Heroic Cthulhu) games and boards it’s pretty much an open invitation to come meet up with everyone and hang out. Right now for the trip, we’ve got two people locked in – myself and Pete. We’re hoping to get Jana as well but we’ll have to see how her situation goes. In London, we’re going to meet up with Richard and possibly others – hoping for lots but we’ll have to wait and see.
Plans have been made that we’re going to be in London from the first of April (some slightly before) and leaving on the 5th of April evening. From there, it will be Rail & Sail over to Amsterdam. That strikes me as a very nifty way to travel.
Travel in general
One thing I always tell people with regards to travel – buy a ticket right away. Putting your money on the line mentally moves you from ‘will I go’ to ‘I am going’. If problems come up while you are in the ‘will I go’ phase, you won’t go. The problems will stop you, sap your money and distract you from going. If you are in the ‘I am going’, your whole mindset is different. “Yes, I will attend his funeral but I must make the bus/train/airplane by 4PM so I will have to leave early.” Or, “Wow, I just lost my job.” If you haven’t bought a ticket, then you won’t be able to go. It will shut down your trip. If you have already got a ticket, you’ll be looking for extra ways to get money and thinking “Well, at least I don’t need to worry about getting back to work soon.” Most people would like to go on an interesting vacation ‘someday’. That mythical beast is usually five years out, comfortably far out and never ever comes. Buy a ticket – it just may change your life.
Logan’s plans after this trip
One of the things I’m wanting to find out on this trip is ‘can I live out of a backpack with very minimal gear for an extended period of time?’ I am thinking I can but I want to test it out. If I can, I’m looking at dumping literally everything I can and going and ‘walking the earth for a spell’. I want to do some very leisurely travel in countries I can actually afford to live in. I’d have to dump everything or pay for a storage shed somewhere and I’m not sure where I’d end up living eventually. It might be good to just make a clean break of my possessions. If I get a laptop (gosh, they are a lot cheaper than I thought) with wireless, I’m thinking that I could still do gaming – my only other passion – while traveling around. That is on the ‘seriously pondering’ portion of my brain. Looking outside at the snow coming down, I’m thinking ‘Crap – I could be in Algiers right now. Instead of ‘feels like 1 degree F and is snowing, I could be in 64 degree F weather having wandered south for the winter. This is possible for me to do! My wanting to go out and wander around is not fueled by any sort of romantic notions of not being tied to materialism. That’s dirty hippy thinking there. I am wanting to see the rest of the world, however. I am curious as to how people live, their history, their culture. We’ll see how that goes. The close to a month long trip coming up in 82 days from the time of this writing is a good experiment for that.

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{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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