The quote: Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to except for heaven and hell, and I have only a vague curiosity as concerns one of those (Mark Twain)
What `s inside his backpack?
This new section is dedicated to those who agree with that "in order to travel happy, you have to travel light" and above all , to those who wander around the world carrying huge suitcases or enormous backpacks that make the backbone crack when you sling them on your back. Of course you can't learn overnight to get rid of what is really superfluous, only experience will show you how to do it, like sparing a towel (I'll explain that to you later).
Those who have seen "Bagdad Café", will remember the surrealistic scene in which a german woman finds herself stuck in the Nevada desert carrying a huge suitcase that, on top of it all, contains all of her husband’s clothes, who has just dumped her. Something like that must have thought those who saw me a few years ago in Jamaica, when I was climbing the Blue Mountains with a wheeled suitcase that obviously wasn't properly working in the rough and steep paths of those mountains. That was a non-scheduled trip and my luggage wasn’t the most suitable, so that day I learnt once and for all to travel light.
Sometimes I see an expression of surprise on the faces of the people that come to collect me at an airport or bus station, because they think that the backpack I carry is only my hand luggage. Not at all. My backpack has been reduced with time, and now it weighs 14 Kg. at the most and it has a volume of 50 Liter. Aside from that, I carry a small day pack and a quilted bag for the photografhy stuff, that unfortunately increase the total weight up to 18 Kg.
When you intend to travel for a long time and through different kinds of wheather, I reccomend to dress onion style: in layers. You don't need the thick wool raincoats and pull-overs anymore unless you plan to go to the Antarctica or the Himalaya. The special clothing for trekking is the best choice, since it combines lightness and thermal protection, it dries very fast and it is transpirable and waterproof. Of course, it’s not the most suitable to go to a party. You have to give special consideration to the footwear, since it can completely ruin your trip; you have to try and wear it for a while before setting out, and it has to be very comfortable and adapted to the the terrain you intend to walk.
I’m going to tell a little secret to those who travel with underwear for 4 weeks: there are some magical shops called “Laundries”, where you bring your dirty and stinky clothes and in an hour you get them clean, dry and smelling good, all that for only some coins. My liking for lightness doesn’t carry me to the point of doing the same as Nicolas Crane, an (excentrical) englishman who walked his way from Santiago de Compostela to Istambul with only 3 socks that he was conveniently rotating, each day washing one of them , so that the maximum time he would wear one same sock was 2 days, a rather hygienic method compared to what one can see around these days.
My equippment contains:
- 1 pair of hiking boots
- 1 pair of leather sandals suitable for walking (with clasps)
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 1 short pants
- 1 long pants
- 1 transformable pants long / short
- 2 pairs of hiking socks, one thick, another fine
- 1 long-sleeved thermal undershirt, transformable (by rolling the sleeves up)
- 1 cotton undershirt
- 1 jumper or polo shirt
- 1 transformable long-sleeved shirt (by rolling the sleeves up)
- 1 polar shirt
- 1 polar waistcoat (bodywarmer)
- 1 raincoat of gore-tex
- 1 cap or hat
- 1 pair of gloves of gore-tex
- tweezers, string, scissors, glue, needle, thread
- firs-aid kit
- toilet kit
- swimming towel, the type you can dry it, wring out and doesn’t smell
- 1 pareo to use it as a towel on the beach
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 water bottle
- 1 book, to give away when finished or exchange it.
- 1 money belt or waistbag for carrying the passport, checks, airflight ticket and travel notebook.
- 1 sleeping bag
- 1 bag-type silk sheet
- 1 telescopic walking stick
My photografic set is made of:
- Digital camera Sony with 5 CD’s recordable.
- Reflex camera Olympus with a single 28-200 lens.
- Plenty of color / b w film and slides, kept in the plastic boxes for slides.
- Binoculars Olympus
- MP3 Digital recorder Olympus.
I’ve always said that I will consider myself a real traveller the day I can get rid of the weght of my photography equipment, and, most of all, of the worries of it being stolen, and travel only with my sight, but presently, I am incapable of recording only in my mind all those unforgettable places and pictures that I want to share with you all.
See you soon!
Translated by Luis Gómez Pérez
Madrid, 29 October 2002
Published: 03/01/2008 00:00