ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go boxers

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls – My Gear

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls

Many people have asked me how I could just leave my job and seemingly travel perpetually. How can I afford it? How do you find places to stay for free all the time? How do you find places to volunteer? All questions I’ve received by email, and now I’m sharing the secrets in a series of posts about how The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls and what things are like behind the scenes.

My Gear

Well, back in August I wrote a post about what gear I was taking with me on The Happy Nomad Tour. You can go back and see it here. I don’t know how much everything weighs, but I’d guess between 30-40lbs/13.6kg-18.2kg.

You may be astonished to find out that I really haven’t added anything major! Similarly, I don’t regret bringing anything. I have only used my tripod once, but I’m hoping I’ll start using it more. I haven’t used my SteriPEN yet, but I know I will need it in the future and it takes up almost no space.

ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go boxers

ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go boxers

In Houston I accidentally left behind one of my two pairs of my cool underwear, then in Medellin Colombia the other pair. My first day in Leon, Mexico I left my Kleen Kateen in the taxi by accident. In Baños, Ecuador I left my razor in a bathroom and now I shave holding the cartridge in my fingers. On New Year’s Day 2012 in Venezuela I left my watch at a hotel and in Medellin I had to rescue a pair of special shorts. I’m not forgetful or absentminded, so I surprised myself with these mistakes. But I didn’t get upset with myself. Crap happens!

Initially I only brought two pairs of socks thinking I’d wear my sandals all the time. Well, I don’t know what it is, but if I don’t wear socks in my sandals they start to smell horribly!

Teva Omnium Bunjee Cord Closed Toe Sandals

Teva Omnium Sandals

Never in my life have I suffered from foot odor. But I think these sandals don’t breath as well and it makes for a bacteria paradise? Not sure. But rocking a pair of socks in my sandals not only looks AWESOME, but keeps my sandals from stinking and my Achilles tendon from blistering.

In Mexico I bought two more pairs of socks, and then three more in Guatemala City. So now I am good to go in the sock department. In Mexico I also bought another collar shirt and another pair of jeans. I should have brought two pairs of jeans from the start, so starting the trip with one pair of jeans and one pair of shorts was silly. But now I’m comfortable.

I stupidly assumed I would hit warm weather the whole way down south. So that guided a lot of my packing decisions. When I arrived at Maya Pedal in Guatemala, I realized how wrong I could be. So I bought a hooded sweatshirt from a Ropa Americana stand in the market in Antigua for $2.50. It has gotten far more use than I realized it would get!

Teva Waterproof Shoes

Teva Waterproof Shoes

Otherwise, my parents sent a package of stuff to Bogota for me. I did order a pair of normal-looking shoes that are waterproof. Dealing with the rain has been a pain in the butt as it has followed me from Mexico all the way down into South America. I sometimes had have to rotate between my shoes and sandals daily as each dried out, but due to the lack of sun and high humidity, they were never really dry.

timbuk2 lightbright swig laptop backpack

Timbuk2 Backpack

By the way, my small Timbuk2 bag and big REI backpack have been absolutely perfect and this trip would have been much more difficult without a great way to store all my stuff conveniently – especially since my Timbuk2 backpack is waterproof. Having had the bad luck of experiencing the rainy season pretty much since I got to Southern Mexico, it has kept my important stuff safe and dry.

So I don’t know if my initial gear list is for everyone, but it’s worked for me pretty darn well so far for me!

Anything Else?

If you have any more questions, put it in the comments below and I’ll either answer your question there or write a new post covering it.

7 replies
  1. Jessica Green
    Jessica Green says:

    I wish I was as philosophical about leaving behind stuff as you are. I’ve found that having so little means each thing I have is significant. Carrying everything you need with you through lots of comings and goings is not easy (at least for me). Teaching in Panama, we change classrooms (not the students) and have to carry all of our supplies with us. You learn to work with less and to improvise, but still it’s difficult…

    Reply
  2. Jessica Green
    Jessica Green says:

    I agree, but I hesitate to stop valuing things like brushing my teeth or being able to call home. As North Americans we live in a consumer culture that does place things over everything else, but at the other end of the spectrum having little requires vigilence and having nothing requires a degree of sacrifice. One day I hope to be more monk-like, but right now it wouldn’t be helpful. I enjoy your blogs!

    Reply
  3. Happiness Plunge
    Happiness Plunge says:

    No, no. Of course. I value brushing my teeth and calling home too. I just don’t worship an iPhone, for example. :) It’s just striking a healthy balance between the material world, and the non-material world.

    Reply
  4. Pat Suit
    Pat Suit says:

    I only wish I was 20 or 30 years younger! Sounds like a lot of fun! Of course, my spanish would not hold up as well…

    Reply
  5. Happiness Plunge
    Happiness Plunge says:

    Yes, I can honestly say I’m having the time of my life. When I got to Mexico my Spanish was pretty bad. Now it’s pretty good. A little patience and hard work goes a long way :)

    Reply

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