Once the decision of going out for a long-term adventure was taken (read Why Travelling for understanding the reasons we decided to embrace this challenge), an inevitable concern arose our minds. How to put our home in a bag? Especially taking into consideration that our adventure was planned for several months, maybe years...
Our first concern was to choose the perfect backpack. Back problems made us consider to choose a trolley instead of the typical adventurous backpacker who embarks in this kind of trip. After long hours of research on the internet, comparing more than a dozen of different brands and bags, we discovered a mix of the both, the so called wheeled backpack.
Having this in mind we could have the best of two worlds. Firstly, for long and straighter distances, a trolley would spare our back. On the other hand, for more adventurous and uneven trails one could easily set the traps and go on the way.
We found some brands providing such type of solution, such as Samsonite, Roncato or Eagle Creek.
We ended up by deciding to go for an American brand, Osprey, the Sojourn 60 model. This decision was made taking into account the quality of the product, the robustness of the back support and the inside structure of the bag, filled with different sized pockets.
The organisation inside the bag was also very important. After all, it will be our home for several months!
One of the main ideas covered in other blogs is the disorganisation a bag can easily become. To make sure everything would be of easy access, we bought small travel bags, with different colours, sizes and formats. The idea was to include in each bag a specific type of clothing (for instance, trousers, t-shirts or underwear) and memorize them by the colour/format of the bag.
This allowed us not only to keep an organised and categorised system which maximised a more friendly experience, but it also freed up much needed space allowing us to include additional content when compared to the first trials.
Nonetheless it was extremely important to keep in mind that only the essentials should go into the bag.
Now, what is our definition of essentials?
The first thing to understand is that it was impossible to take all that we (thought) we would need for such a long period of time. We had to focus on the practical side of things.
Naturally, one should adjust to weather conditions, local dress codes and even type of travelling, among others.
In our case, we will mainly face hot and humid weather, travel in a backpacking style with hopes and dreams of sharing adventures with local communities and other fellow travellers. Moreover we will experience the burning sunset of amazing beaches hand in hand with the the chaotic mixture of highly populated asian cities as well as fantastic trekking landscapes.
For this reason our clothing choices were based on shorts, T-shirts, dresses and similar solutions to better withstand the hot temperatures. For the trekking adventures, tennis shoes were crucial, as well as a jacket and wind protection coat for the high-altitude regions. Finally, we did not forget to take clothing covering the entire body (trousers, long dresses/skirts and a scarf to cover the shoulders and arms), not only to respect local cultures (for the applicable countries), but also to protect ourselves from mosquitos' bites.
We also avoided taking stuff we know we could buy during the trip and probably at a lower cost (for example, shampoo or laundry detergent).
Additionally, we tried to replace the books, the notebooks and all the paper documentation that contribute to the bag weight, for a tablet filled with apps meeting similar needs. For literature we suggest iBooks or Kindle; to write a journal we recommend Day One app, to have a record of all travel expenses Trail Wallet is a good alternative!
Items not to forget when travelling to Asia for a long time
Comfortable, easy to wash and easy to dry clothing
International plug adapter
Extension cords (allows you to recharge multiple items at the same time)
Passport photos (useful for the country visas)
Camera (best way to keep the trip immortal and evoke the best memories)
In case you want to know more about the best way to prepare a trip and obtain further bag tips, we highly recommend you to read a book from a Portuguese traveller, Gonçalo Cadilhe, called The World Is Easy. The book is organised in three parts: before, during and after the trip. The first part is certainly full of useful experiences and suggestions regarding this topic.
"I would gladly live out of a Backpack if it meant I could see the world."