The Fuji X70 is coming out next month and its about to make your travel life a whole lot more Zen. It will save you tons of space in your pack. In fact, if your pack is as lean as mine, it is the last big weight saver you will make for awhile. Life is a journey of understanding so indulge me here mate, and you'll see why the X70 should be in your pack.
Its about time for me to throw my hat in the ring of "lessons learned from backpacking". Google it and you'll find no shortage of lists, but we all know simplicity is the key to happy travel, right? Here are my 3 most important things you learn on the road:
1. Your place in the world- Science helps you understand how insignificant you are. Feeling old? Are you at the age where you have to wonder how long you have left in the game? Emily Shaller is looking for the origin of life 10 billion years ago ithrough the Primordial Ices of The Kuiper Belt. Just dropped your new cell phone? Some guy in a white lab coat just discovered a subatomic particle that explains the existence of...well, existence. These things may rock your world for a time but lets face it, Its still pretty easy to escape and get caught up in our own small version of reality.
There is no escape when you're navigating the everyday backpacking world. Ever had to purchase a metro ticket in Moscow at rush hour, find a meal in a rural town in Vietnam, or cross a border at night with 4 guys trying to rob you? Your world is subordinate to everything, all day long, every day. And it's awesome.
2. Your limits - A public toilet in rural China, that third failed trip to an embassy to get home, eating blood stew with eyeballs because you can't offend the family you are staying with. Great fodder for war stories but there is much more to these tales than bragging rights. You really learn your limits...and they grow.
3. Appreciation - Every day in the backpacker world is free of routine and burden. Its about looking for people and things to appreciate, places to inspire and time to reflect. People living on a dollar a day are happier than a lot people you know at home yet they are honored to give you food.
On the road , kindness is sustenance and appreciation is survival.
Thats my list in three. You will know when you have learned the ultimate lesson from backpacking...when you are ready to take the pebbles from the hand of the master: When you get home and live like you travel. -Joe
I can still remember the smell of a new Lonely Planet guidebook. The buzz I got from reading the history of a country from the eyes of a backpacker. When they started putting out suggested itineraries, I though it just couldn't get any better. But then I started trekking for months on end...discovered quick dry clothes, smartphones and online airfares. The idea of hauling around a book for each country was unthinkable.... and so... vinyl.
There you have it. This is the only electronics I carry (aside from an occasional trip with my Fuji XT-1 camera). Everything I carry must fit in my 35L pack. No checked luggage or second bag. No way. If I can't carry it on my back for a whole day it doesn't go. Please note: I'm a big fan of "Look Up" and put that phone down but used sparingly, these toys will enrich that year long trip like never before.
Every once and awhile something comes along that makes traveling a lot easier. I'm not talking about a cruise ship or tour bus, rather an app for your mobile that cuts logistics and planning time down. Lets face it backpacking brethren, those "been to hell and back" travel stories are cool to tell - but who doesn't want to spend more time contemplating those ancient ruins and less time on that ugly bus ride?
Check out the website Rome2Rio and especially its mobile app Fetch My Way. Enter the origin and destination then sit back in amazement at how far this technology has come. No paid endorsement here, I'm just being very grateful for a solid free app.
I just finished a logistically difficult trip through the micro-states of Europe and it was a blessing. My path was this: Barcelona > Andorra > Monaco > Milan > Lichtenstein > Slovenia > Venice > San Marino > Rome > Calabria > Cyprus > Turkish Cyprus > Lebanon > Kuwait. Now that's a pretty typical trip for me but I used to feel more like Hannibal planning the conquest of Rome than Lara Croft flying to Angkor in her Jeep. I usually follow it up with common sense and apps like Expedia, Mein Fernbus, Captaine Train, and lots of airline apps (Emirates, Cebu Pacific, Easy Jet, etc...). Of course I also use several other apps like Triposo and Viber but thats another story for next time. Happy Trails! -Joe
The spirit of Angkor brings out the beauty in everyone.
Fujifilm X-T1 - 60mm Macro f/2.4 / 1/400 sec ISO200, SOOC JPEG
Beautiful country and people... Iskanderkul is where Alexander the Great ended his quest of the world and turned home. It is said he could find no way beyond the Pamir mountains. I have it on good word he actually just couldn't go another day without toilet paper and a good meal...
Fujifilm X-E2 - 18mm (21eq) f/5.6 / 1/950 sec ISO200, SOOC JPEG
This sleepy little mountain town is not a model train set or a toy camera Photoshop effect. We took a side trip here from Merida, which IMO is the best adventure travel destination in Venezuela. The ride was the archetypal "old rusty jeep hugging a windy cliff ". We lost traction at one point and the back corner of the vehicle slid off the road. You know its for real when the driver panics. Not cool...at all.
Olympus E-P1 - M14-42mm at 29mm @ F/5.6 - 1/160 sec ISO 100 SOOC JPEG
Ta Prohm Temple is an icon of pop culture from the Tomb Raider franchise. What sets it apart is the massive trees growing into the ancient walls. Beyond the obvious draw was this Khmer nun's pride in her faith and temple. Her happiness that we stopped to talk was as rewarding as the temple itself.
Canon 5D Mark 2 EF135mm f/2.0L - 1/125sec @f/3.2 ISO 500
Subotica is a charming place just south of the Hungarian border. I got off the train for a well earned night's rest and was surprised with warm hospitality and a classic automobile festival. The American muscle cars, vintage Volkswagens and this Mercury classic were a wonderful contrast to the small Serbian town. Needless to say, I stayed awhile..!
Canon 500D - 24mm f/1.4L @ f/ 1.4 - 1/640 sec ISO 100 OOC JPEG