Friday, 15 August 2014

Inventory: Starting Point

I've seen these things on reddit and other travelling websites and always thought they were cool. Also, on my last trip, my inventory list RPG-style was one of the most popular posts.

So here's mine, at starting point. More or less accurate, with a list, details, tips following!

Just click here!
(Sorry for potato quality)

We'll start from the top left, since this is how I read (probably how you read too. If not, holy shit! I have exotic readers! Or people who read way too many mangas).

1- Rainproof/windproof Camo jacket. I bought this in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for $10. There's nothing to keep me warm in there, it's pretty much just plastic. I love it, it weights nothing.

2- Black "meh" hoodie. I try to keep my black clothes to a minimum because I don't think that they separate laundry types in hostels and the likes, but I don't have a colour hoodie (at least if I have everything in colour they can just throw everything in the same load with minimum impact). I also bought this shirt for the sole reason that it would be hilarious to have a shirt that says "meh" when you're pictured in front of medieval castles or jaw-dropping scenery. I don't expect to wear it often in asia but it should come in handy in England and during cold wet-season nights (had some pretty cold ones in Laos last time).

3- Boxers. Nothing special about them, except that they're coloured and not 100% cotton. Try not to wear 100% cotton underwear as you can start chaffing when in warm countries. That can lead to heavy discomfort and in some cases, itchy fungus between the thighs (they call it athlete's crotch). I also met a dude that was sweating heavily from the buttcrack and a mushroom developed there! SUPER itchy and hurtful apparently. He had to apply a cream 3 times a day and sleep with no underwear on. Both of these things can be quite annoying when you sleep in dorms. He couldn't go anywhere so he lounged at the Hostel for weeks, losing precious travel time. I promised to not tell anyone so no, I won't tell you who it was.

4- Green and Red bandana headbands. I can't get over how useful these were last time around. I will probably buy more of them as I like collecting them. They're great wrapped around your forehead for sweat. Too hot? Dip them in cold water and wear them around your head or neck to cool down. Too sunny? Wear them ON your head! Some drunk guy in your dorm is walking around with the lights on? Pull it down over your eyes! It also served me as impromptu plate, book protector, or wrapped around a fresh tattoo to keep the sunlight off. They take minimum space and weight nothing. Love 'em.

5- Green Marley tanktop. A gift from Ben. Originally purchased in Thailand, passed on to me in Laos.

6- Long-sleeve button shirt. It's warm but you can pull up the sleeves or open it up when it's warmer. Sometimes you just want to keep the sun off your skin. I might end up throwing it out but I doubt it. Fun fact: apparently it looks exactly like my friend's dad's shirt that HE wore around the world, more than 30 years ago.

7- Swimsuit. On my last trip I took an old one which ended up ripping at the spot you don't want it ripping at. The 2nd one, I bought during my last trip. It was fugly and the net was giving my parts a rash. The 3rd one I bought was stolen. The 4th one was too big but I would still wear a lot, it's a great excuse to go commando when it gets REALLY hot. The one on the picture is nice quality, great size. A nice swimsuit is important, folks!

Back to the left, 2nd row:

8- Jeans. I might end up throwing these out or making shorts out of them. Last time I brought them and didn't wear them AT ALL. They are hot, and heavy. I will wear them in England though and that is why they are going in my bag at the start of my trip. They can be useful when visiting sacred sites, however, as sometimes they don't let you walk in wearing shorts. Useful at border crossings too - for me anyways - because they let me dissimulate my leg tattoos. Les tattoos = less questions.

9- Montreal Canadiens pyjama pants. I might end up throwing these away. It's mostly comfort stuff and to make sure I don't freeze at night in bamboo huts. Can also double as warmer garment if I'm hiking in cold mountains (what I plan to do in China).

10,11- More underwear. 3 pairs in total, the maximum I will allow myself to carry in total during this trip. I tend to wear these 2 days in a row and go commando or wear my swimsuit when it's laundry day.

Right underneath the headbands. 12- Black winter hat. You never know.

Underneath that, and then to the right:

13- Red Belt. In the buckle is a bottle opener, super useful. Last time I had a leather belt with holes but my weight fluctuated a lot (lost 50 pounds in total) so this adjustable belt is better for me.

14- Montreal Canadiens T-shirt. It's getting old so I don't mind throwing it out at some point but it'll remind me of home. Also a conversation starter.

15- Black dress pants. These are for the British wedding. I might keep them instead of the jeans since they are lighter. They are less durable however and I don't know how they will fare against hostel washing machines (on my last trip the t-shirts I started with lost ALL colours over time. That is also why you shouldn't bring fancy clothes or ones that mean something to you. I lost one of my favourite band shirts like that). I was also invited to a lot of Laos weddings on my last trip and I plan on staying there 6 months this time around so they should be useful, as you shouldn't wear shorts to a wedding (even if on a small, super laid-back island) and jeans can get hot.

16- Brown shorts. I bought sturdy black shorts for the trip but the buttons keep falling off. I don't want to have to deal with that over there. I still have my trusty camo shorts from the last trip but they go down to half my tibias. These brown shorts go just below the knee. Less fabric means it'll be less warm. The shorts also pretty old so I don't mind throwing them away when they get ripped. I found them in a box of my brother's old clothes when I moved back to my parents.

Under that:
17- Black dress shirt. I'm invited to a wedding in England and that's the shirt I will be wearing, I don't feel like renting a suit or wearing somebody else's shirt. I will probably keep it for museum and temple visits or when I feel like hiding my tattoos or looking nice, to make a better impression on the locals.

Back to the left! From here, it'll be more of a vertical flow.

18- Blue sunglasses. Last time in Laos I bought 40 pairs of these sweet fake Raybens to sell when I'd get back home. I'd carry a few pairs with me and sell them to my friends in order to have money for beers. I also went through 4 pairs (the pink ones) while landscaping, they were my protective eyewear. This is the last surviving pair.

19- Under the glasses are a small notebook, a bigger notebook and a sketchpad. They take a LOT of room but I'm going to be doing most of my writing in these. I plan to be less "connected" to Bragbook and the internet in general this time around, these will help me stay off computers.

20,21- Headlamps. They use AA batteries. SUPER useful. You can read with them in the bus, overnight train, bamboo hut with no electricity, etc. I'm bringing two pairs in case one breaks and for impromptu buddies.

Underneath that:
22- Pens, pencils, crayons. Like I said, I plan to write a lot but also draw, sketch.

23,24- Sharpeners and erasers. I will probably just bring 2 sharpeners and chuck all these in a tupperware.

25- Red necklace wallet. I don't know how else to call that. Super useful. Put your money and emergency info in there. Also harder to get pick-pocketed. Last time around I pretty much walked around with my money right in my pockets and ended up "losing" a few bills at a jungle dance. Not pictured: waterproof neck wallet. Bought it in Bangkok during the water festival for something like 15 cents. It's transparent so people can see how much money you got in there, which I don't like, but your passport fits, which is great when in airports and the likes. Easy access, ya know?

26- Books on Laos language. Half of my trip will be spent on Don Det and I plan to be able to speak Lao by the time I'm done. Also necessary for a future project involving Laos.

27- Stormtrooper with removable helmet. This little dude was with me last time around! I had a plan to photograph him in front of famous landscapes but felt kind of silly when I was trying to position it in front of a temple with the monks pointing and laughing at me. He is the one pictured in the background of this very blog! Great at following orders, not so great at aiming. Yes, he's a little short.

28- Playing cards. I thought about bringing Settlers of Catan: travel edition or Cards Against Humanity in order to make friends in hostels (everyone's on their iPads/laptops! So boring) but the weight and size threw me off. You can also learn new games with a simple playing cards (Germans know tonnes of drinking games).

29- Asia iPod charger. I got this in Bangkok since the last one I owned burned out due to the power outage difference. I hope it still works.

30- Damaged iPod with earphones and cord. This little buddy was my favourite tool on my last trip. Internet access, camera, music player. It did fine for 6 months across Asia but I smashed it when I was back in Canada and didn't bother repairing it. It still works fine, I just can't play games on it any more, which is kind of a good thing.

31- World power socket adaptor. I can plug anything into anything with this, super useful. Kind of heavy though, sometimes it falls out of flimsy sockets.

32- Portable speaker. Not very loud but still fun when you want to have some ambiance, like music in a hostel bedroom. Instant party! Trust me. It's also rechargeable so no need to worry about batteries. I bought this at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh for $6 on my last trip.

33- Rolled solar power charger. I bought this thinking it was a great idea. I would charge my electronics with it to avoid burning them with the power outage difference. After a few tests I realised that it takes about 12 hours of sun to be fully charged and it only charges my Kindle for about 15%. Not a great trade-off... I will probably charge it under my room windows when I'm out during the day and keep the energy for Kindle power if I'm somewhere with no electricity and I feel like reading. It's super light and small so I don't feel bad about bringing something I might use.

34- Earplugs. Super useful in dorms or when sleeping in rooms with paper-thin walls where you can hear party tourists fucking each other loudly (yup) or locals up at 5 am going about their business. Or in buses, trains, planes, you get the idea. Sleep is sleep.

35- Kindle Fire HD + plugs. So happy with this. My dad's birthday gift. Last time I was carrying around the Game of Thrones books, which ended up taking a LOT of space and were pretty heavy. I would mail them home when I finished them. I should have just left them in hostels but they are SO GOOD. This Kindle is loaded with travel guides (I know, I said to stay away from these but they ARE useful) and books I've always wanted to read like Isaac Asimov's Foundation series and the Chronicles of Narnia. It's also great for the internet and I can store videos on it. Entertainment is great when you find yourself alone for extended amounts of time. With this, no dealing with space and weight consuming books! Merci papa!

36- Beer opener. I already have one on my belt, this one is for Ken at One More Bar.

37- Old Passport. I'm bringing this one out of paranoia, I really don't know why.

38- Peroxide. Part of the first-aid kit.

39- Comb. I plan on letting my hair grow. Just because you're travelling doesn't mean you should let yourself go and look like a slob. I saw people walk out of tin-roof sheds looking like a million bucks in the Philippines. Asians seem to judge people a lot based on their appearance and being accepted by them is very important to me. So, look clean buddy! Not pictured: nail clipper, scissors for beard trimming.

40- Webber cream. I have fresh tattoos that require attention and I also plan on getting tattooed over there. this is my favourite healing cream.

41- Echinacea pills. Will be transferred into a ziplock to save space. Great for general health, natural product. Not pictured: Gatorade powder packages. When you start feeling weak, drink this with your morning water. It's great.

42- Ninja Turtles band-aids. Also other band-aids of different sizes and shape in the box. Will be transferred into ziplock to protect from water.

43- Toothbrush. Last time I was carrying it in a ziplock and it got all gross from leftover toothpaste. This time I got the cool little head-box, should be cleaner.

44- Deodorant. Yo, you get stinky when you're sweating constantly. That stuff was surprisingly pricey over there. It was on special at the store so I got what I think should last me for a year.

55- Soap Box. Same deal as the toothbrush, last time I was carrying it in a ziplock and it got all gross.

56- Tiny towel. Don't forget to bring a towel! Most places include a shower in the room but no complimentary towels. Also, small equals less space used and shorter time to dry.

57- Tiny facecloth. I don't even use facecloth at home, this will be used for my feet. Last time around, after 2 months walking in flip-flops my feet got super dirty, dry and started cracking. It was super painful! The Thai doctor instructed me to just take better care of them and I felt like a fool. A good clean-up to remove the dirt in the shower did the trick and I had no problems thereafter!

Not pictured:
Baseball hat, great for shadow.
I will purchase a camera in Beijing.
My shoes.

Hope this was sort of entertaining and the tips made some sort of sense!

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