We have started the process of buying equipment for the journey. Not that we need something very special, but those boots that were near the end of their life-cycle anyway, have now been put back in the closet, and taken off the ever growing list of things we need to bring along. New boots and shoes have been bought.
My initial plan was to bring along my beloved Converse Chuck’s. But I am now convinced that they will have to stay here. Instead I bring along a pair of much lighter Nike Free running shoes, which can also be worn just as “normal shoes” when I am not in the mood for boots. Modern running shoes are not my preferred footwear, and for me they are normally reserved for running. But having tried these highly modern plastic-foam-wonders, I have to admit they are quite comfortable, and they do add a refreshing change from the leather boots or Converse Chucks that I normally always wear. So, the Converse are back in the closet, and we have now all agreed on three pairs of footwear for the journey: Good, solid (but not heavy) leather boots, running shoes and then a pair of sandals. I never knew that you could actually get hiking-sandals... And then of course, a pair of flip-flops for the beach. We have also gotten ourselves some good insoles, just to soothe the worst pain from tired and swollen feet. We are not 25 years old anymore, and not getting younger either...
We have spoken to many experienced travellers, who are used to travelling in Australia and New Zealand. They all say that we should completely forget our usual, european vanity exercises when it comes to clothing during the journey. People around there are quite easy and relaxed when it comes to that, and they do not notice if shoes and jackets match or if the scarf has the right contrast color. They simply do not care. None the less, we actually have made sure that the colors match. Or, Alexandra has. Anton and I will most likely go into the category “unknown style” or “special”. Doesn’t matter at all. I have learned that everything goes nicely with black. So my jacket is, of course, black! The running shoes that I previously mentioned are orange... The things we do for comfort!
Another really useful purchase that Alexandra just made, is a pair of trekking pants. The kind where you can unzip the lower part of the legs, and thus convert them into a pair of shorts. The fabric has been impregnated with some anti-bug/mosquito “stuff” and there are pockets everywhere! And the color fits nicely with the running shoes... You know, in the trendy, “contrast” kind of way... Needless to say I had to salute her choice, while I started thinking about my own cargo/army-pants that I have based my entire tour-wardrobe on. Maybe it’s time to wash them and see if they still fit? If not, I need to start thinking of alternatives!
We have agreed that each of us bring t-shirts and underwear for 7 days. In addition to that comes bathing clothes (I do not imagine we will wear much else in Thailand!), plus 1-2 pair of jeans, long sleeve shirts and a couple of knitted pullovers for cold weather. If space allows we can always bring a few extra pairs of socks. Our departure has been delayed by approximately 3 months, so the seasons have also changed, and thus the need for clothes. But as none of us are completely crazy about plus 35 degrees celsius and stinging sunbeams all day long, I actually see this as a positive side effect. In northern Australia it is warm all year round (compared to our standards!) and we will not arrive in southern New Zealand until spring has kicked in. But pullovers and socks will definitely be needed along the way. We will also have to buy some things locally. Anton will grow out of most of his wardrobe during a one year journey, so it is inevitable.
In the local outdoor/trekking store we have been gazing at some standard equipment and tried out a few things. I need a back-pack and we have made a list over smaller things that will make our life easier. For example bed sheets, made like sleeping bags, and pillows. When leaving on a journey like this one, you have to accept that not all things can be like home. A certain lack of comfort must be expected. But when small pillows that you can just fold in a small bag are available, then they have to be tried out! Only time will tell if they are worth the money. The sheets are for hygiene purposes, but should also keep away most of the mosquitos. I do not like sleeping in an “envelope” because I cannot just stick out my foot or leg for cooling, but I do see the purpose and agree that we need to have them.
On the technical front we will also have to accept limitations. Computer and mobile phones will come along, as will the iPad, loaded with entertainment for Anton. The flights are long, and I hope (naively?) that it will save us some quiet hours on monkey-class over the Indian Ocean. But it will be quite a bag, as we will also bring a DSLR camera and lenses with us. I also own a tri-pod for photography in limited light. But it is a cheap model, and if it cannot come along, I will either buy a new one at some point or simply live without it. Finally I had to buy a new external hard-drive that can resist hard weather and some bumps. My nightmare is to either have the computer stolen, or to have a hard-drive crash, losing hundreds if not thousands of pictures that we cannot re-produce. Better safe than sorry!
We had hoped that Anton would not be needing his buggy when our departure day comes. More and more often he prefers to walk with us. But we have listened to the many people advising us to bring it along, and I now tend to agree. We want a pleasant journey for the whole family, and he simply cannot yet cope with our pace. Furthermore, he still likes to nap in it, which could save us a few cups of coffee in the local cafés we will come across.
So the current luggage status is as follows:
•Alexandra’s back-pack, 45 liters (Check-in luggage)
•Anders’ back-pack, 70 liters (w/trolley wheels) (Check-in luggage)
•1 day-pack for shorter trips, 20 liter (Carry on bag)
•1 small back-pack for camera and other technical stuff, 20 liter (Carry on bag)
•Antons back-pack, 3 liter (for Lightening McQueen, Finn McMissile and a few other cars)
•1 sports-buggy with large wheels (Check-in luggage - of course!)
We will have to make a “test-packing” of it all before we leave. It will most likely turn into a somewhat painful exercise, where some hard priorities and cutting away will have to be made.
We will keep you posted!