02 January 2012

Pack only the essentials

Experienced travellers say you need far less than most of us put into our suitcase. As our departure date draws near, we are assessing and revamping our gear, looking to pack the true essentials. But it's tough to pare down, knowing we will be on the road for 11 weeks. What items are really essential?

My iPad - purchased in October - has quickly become an essential piece of gear for me. It's loaded with music, maps, guidebooks and some books to read along the way. Maybe the most important app will be the Wi-Fi Finder! We already know there are at least six places to scoop a free wi-fi connection in the Amsterdam airport where we spend a bit of time in transit.  

We've managed to keep our electronic gear to a minimum, but after doing some research, we decided it would be worth taking an international cell phone. This Samba Blu phone is tiny. The qwerty keyboard is microscopic! It won't add to our weight, but certainly will add to our piece of mind.

iPad or hardcover journal?
Is that a travel journal there in the photo?  It is.  When we put pen to the page in a private journal, we tend to record our thoughts and feelings without editing. Online, in a post like this, it's a different matter. I've always travelled with a journal, and I suppose it might seem like "belt and suspenders" to keep a paper journal when I can easily record events and observations on my iPad. Old habits persist I guess, and maybe it's a way of following some advice from a friend. She told me, "Holly, forget about all the electronics and just enjoy your holiday." I know there will be times when being fully "unplugged" will be a meaningful part of the experience, but for this trip, I'm going to try to strike a balance. 

Must get back to packing ... and pruning out the non-essentials.

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