What I take and WHY…

 

First things first, I like to eat.  I’m a very picky eater as well. So snacks and water are always at the TOP OF MY LIST.  Let’s start there:

 

Waterbottle:

1. Make sure you drink it before the airport security so you don’t get rushed and try to drink it all really fast and choked and look stupid when you cough it up.  Yeahhh.

2. Now you can sleep on the plane and not have to have water served to you at a specific time by the flight attendant.

3. Saving $3/bottle from NOT buying it at the airport or other tourist destination is AWESOME and really adds up if you’re walking 10-12 miles a day wandering and drinking a TON of water.

4. I do have a PREFERRED WAY to carry a water bottle on my backpack. Check out the picture below. Picture A is PREFERRED, while Picture B will get you weird looks.  I’ll explain.  I had it like Picture B and while I was walking through the isle on the train/bus, it was swinging and hitting people AND the metal bars. It was making a lot of noise because I had my headphones on and STILL HEARD it…pretty embarrassing.  Picture A keeps the bottle up and out of the way while not allowing much movement.  Petty, but important. It’s harder to grab bottle and get a drink if you have it like Picture A but it’s a small sacrifice compared to being unpleasant in a foreign country.

 

Picture A:                                                                                                     Picture B:

 

A                                                                B

Granola Bars:

1. Great for late night snack when you’re in the middle of nowhere or take a cheap airline who does not give you a snack!

2.They don’t go bad like other snacks and pretty durable in my backpack if put in the right spots. I have taken a few out that I literally had to “funnel” in my mouth because it was mostly crumbs but happens rarely.

3. Great for super early mornings as well, when I’m taking sunrise shots and leave my hostel at 4:30-5:00am and nothing is open. I learned that the hard way, starving, waiting for the “Golden Hour” colors in the morning DYING for some breakfast food. “The first time is a mistake, second a choice.”

4. Last but not least, they’re super cheap. I think a 6 pack is like $3. $.50/piece isn’t bad for some good calories/energy snack.  Get those WHOLE GRAINS!

 

Headlamp:

1. Perfect for LATE check ins at the hostel when you don’t want to turn on the lights and wake everyone up. DON’T BE THAT GUY/GIRL!  I’m already making enough noise with my tripod and 2 backpacks settling in, lol.

2. My phone was dead and it was 2am in Belgium when I lost my phone in my hostel. Not worried, I didn’t have to turn on the lights and look around, I had my headlamp and everyone stayed asleep and didn’t hate me!

3. Early morning hikes, 14ers, or anything else where it’s a poorly lit area. West Coast United States does not have anywhere near the amount of street lights that the East Coast does, prepare for that.  Most of the time your eyes adjust to the moonlight you’re ok.  But just in case it’s cloudy, it’s ALWAYS good to be prepared.  “Fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail.”

4. To “light paint” objects when shooting SUPER early in the mornings and it’s kind of dark. I used it to “light paint” an abandoned tank on this beach off the island of Puerto Rico named Flamenco. Another use is a focal point for auto focus in the dark.  Bonus!

 

Pens & Paper:

1. Going OLD SCHOOL here.  Screenshots are AMAZING and are extremely helpful and I use them often. We also have notepads on our smartphone but smartphones die…often. It’s a WiFi world out there when you’re traveling.  Everyone has stood around bars/restaurants looking for that FREE Wifi that you have to just “check in” to that place and you’re CONNECTED!  It’s a beautiful thing.  While I have the connection, I write EVERYTHING down on paper.  I draw maps and little scrap notes because you never know when your phone is going to die and/or you don’t have the Wifi anymore.

2. Often bus and train numbers don’t change throughout the day, so if you look up your route in the AM, it’s probably same bus/train number just a different time of departure/arrival. Don’t depend on this TOO MUCH as they do change, but it’s better than not being able to communicate with anybody and having a dead phone. You have something to work with. Saved me, twice.

3. Expenses and Inspirations. I keep a tight budget when traveling. Writing my expenses down lets me see where I’m spending/ saving the most.  Let’s me analyze them very quickly.  As for inspirations, it’s funny when things “come to you”.  I’ve found more times than not, I forget that super clever thing I was thinking/said only hours before when I swore I would remember.  Dammit!  Wish I had that pen & paper.

 

Spork:

1.  My spoon/fork and I met by fate.  I knew there had to be a better way to eat my yogurt parfait then the little tiny folding spoon they give you…if you’re lucky! Then I saw it, right at the checkout line.  Right then, I knew I had to add it to the Tumi Pack arsenal.

2. For the obvious reasons, spoon side for Ben & Jerry’s and fork side for protection! I kid, I kid. Hostel cooking mostly, but convenient it’s all in one little instrument.

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