The United States of America: I didn’t think I would be back again so soon, and yet, I found myself on a plane out of Albania to just the same place.
It was my younger sisters idea, to visit for Christmas and surprise my parents- a nice gesture, I thought. And I had been missing home since I had left over 2 years ago. We planned it all out together. Each of my siblings pitched in some $$$$ to bring me home on a flight which was helpful since I hadn’t any money to fly back. It was wonderful, in respect to some things. Seeing my family again brought me a lot of joy, while also reminding me how differently I see or understand things. How much I have grown and changed as a person. I wonder if they saw this. Regardless, this curiosity hasn’t been quenched just yet, and I wanted to see more places, met more people, and do more things; there’s just so much!
A series of things happened during my revisit home- I almost got into a gang fight in Philadelphia, I Hitchhiked many miles to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I volunteered on a campsite in Alabama, and I met my family back in Orlando to return home, home where I plan my leave again.
All of these things you can see in my youtube video here: Hitchhiking the US
What can I say? I find myself more and more drawn away from speaking. My desire to share my travels dims as a countless rain of experiences floods me every day- I journal less. I am less enthusiastic about telling others what has happened to me these past years. I thought I would grow into a man, at least that was the plan. But I’m not much brighter, wiser, a guru, or a sage. I am inclined to believe we are all like that, lost and without any real understanding. Maybe we don’t need to understand?
In any case, despite this gloomy realization, I can say without a doubt that Travel, for me, has infinitely changed my life for the better! Even when times are a bit tricky, as my experiences here in the USA, I have always come out of it with a good story, and as I get older, I am understanding that storytelling is a most honorable skill. The hitchhiking started slow and difficult out of Baltimore. People are afraid here in the United States, and by far it is the most difficult country I have hitchhiked in. Americans are terrified, like little children. Absolutely frightened out of their minds. When hitchhiking, we would be scoffed at, yelled at, sometimes have things thrown at us, and even the Police would come and try to intimidate us. right away on the outskirts of Baltimore, a Police officer confronted us while we stood of a side walk leading to the Highway onramp:
Him: You can’t hitchhike!
Me: Why not sir?
Him: *Rolls eyes* Because it is illegal.
Me, knowing that it is, in fact, completely legal in the state of Maryland to hitchhike: Actually officer it is legal, so long as we stay on the shoulder or the sidewalk.
Him: Do you see the clothes I’m wearing?
And so on until we walked one block away and stuck our thumbs up again, getting a ride to D.C. Surprisingly, a high number of police men either do not know the laws regarding hitchhiking in their state, or they know them but pretend they don’t either way- Bad Police Men. We tried to be respectful most of the time, but we stood our grounds with further encounters.
We stayed with couchsurfing hosts, ate with them, listened to their stories and more. a large variety of people hosted us: strippers, swingers, christians, atheists, veterans, the homeless, immigrants, young, old, the well traveled, and the homebodies, Liberals, and trump supporters. But an even greater sphere of persons picked us up while we stuck up our thumbs on the road. Swinger Tom, a man who met his wife at “an Adult Party” he said as he winked at me. honestly he was one of our favorite rides. other than that, he gave us other gems of wisdom such as, “Adolf Hitler was an evil son of a bitch,” and “This is my pimp hand!” There were other amazing rides- Crystal, an older woman with the spirit of love who gave us more food than we could eat. Gunny ‘Bandanawitz’ a reckless dead head who thought it was a good idea to show us a video of his wife’s farting asshole. Yes, you read that correctly, and we were shocked to say the least. Three young juvenile southern girls, the most southern girls you could possibly imagine, breaking down in the middle of the road at night at the stop light, cars flying past us, pulling a homemade gravity bong out of the compartment offering us to smoke.
You see, good people are good no matter what their beliefs are. While hundreds of cars passed us everyday, we always got to our destination… Except once outside of Florence SC (Thanks again, Connie, for rescuing us!!). Most of the time, we were picked up by people who had hitchhiked in the past, or by foreigners. Mexican workers, Brazilian tourists. Rarely were we picked up by an American who did not travel. The reason for this is because many citizens here believe it to be dangerous. They don’t know us, so they decided not to give us a lift, even though according to studies and research, hitchhiking is incredibly safe, or at least no where near as dangerous as people believe.
We made our way from Baltimore to Jacksonville to New Orleans to Talladega to Orlando. We stopped in Talladega to do some volunteer work on a semi-sustainable campground where we learned to build structures, create campsites, plant gardens, and a whole lot more. There was some drama with one of the authorities there, but even her insecurities and fears were able to teach us somethings. Patience is a virtue not easily given, especially when one is attacked unfairly. And yet, it didn’t bother us so much, only that we were sad for her own sake, and despite this we had such a wonderful experience. I have brand new ideas for my own home someday, and we met lovely people with lovely stories, some of whom we influenced to travel there own way, some we stayed with later, and some we loved.
As for Mardi Gras well, let’s just say that Mardi Gras is its own bubbled world. I don’t think I can describe it.
Financially we had some troubles, as is expected when one only works three months out of the year. There were times we wondered if we would be alright- something I already knew to be true since my time in Spain. And now that we are heading back home, has been proven. If anyone is reading this: whatever you are experiencing in life, do not worry. Everything will be alright as long as you breath and remember who you are and where you are. The Universe will take care of you, and you will be alright. as Jesus said, What will worrying do for any of you, add a single day to your life? No, even the sparrows and the birds of the air do not worry and their needs are met daily.
Life goes on. It always goes on whether we want it to or not. And now it goes on further for us to Ukraine, Canada, maybe the Pacific Crest Trail, maybe South America, I don’t ever really know, do I? I don’t think any of us really do. I often ask myself, do I even want to know, or is the purpose of life precisely to not know, and therefore be surprised by a beautiful sunrise somewhere?
Who the hell really knows? I’m off to drink some chocolate milk and see friends and family again before we fly away for the second time.
I’ve heard it said that a person is never their true self unless they are sure they are alone; if this is true, then I must truly be a lunatic.
I have found myself, when walking in fields completely absent of others, reciting and reenacting whole musical scores such as “Jack’s Lament,” from The Nightmare Before Christmas or “If I Were A Rich Man,” from The Fiddler on The Roof. I leap from fences and logs and stumps, thrusting my hands to the sky, becoming quite animated- which made it all the more embarrassing when I walked right past someone I hadn’t seen. C’est la vie.
The Netherlands was a fun country. Rotterdam was cool, Amsterdam was overrated and smelled like tourism, marijuana, and sex but it was the ghostly sound of Dutch that seduced me. I love the way they say good morning, sounding like “Huda Morgen,” with a windy whisp of the throat and tongue on the R. And oddly enough, I thought I could understand them, even though mentally I knew that I didn’t. Such were the similarities between our respective languages.
It was in Amelo, far east, where I met someone that ended up more than a traveling acquaintance. Linda became my friend, and I actually spent more time at her place than I planned!! A first for me, as I am usually constantly moving. She introduced me to her Italian friend, and I cooked spaghetti with my homemade vegan recipe. Frederico said it was perfect, a great feat apparently, that a real Italian enjoyed a traditionally Italian meal prepared by an American.
As I live and breath, my favorite part of traveling is meeting new and interesting people who are willing to share their life with me. I have felt this multiple times with many, a sort of vulnerability that makes possible the great connection I feel- like a secret knowledge we share together. This is still somewhat of a mystery for me, however, and maybe I can understand it as I grow.
I have felt the first pangs of loneliness while sitting in a campsite in Amsterdam. I knew they were destined to come sooner or later- you can´t expect to uproot one`s entire life and not feel even the least bit lonely. But come the morning, I felt quite alright, and ready to take on the world once more. I regret nothing of leaving. I truly feel alive, a little anxious, but blessed all the same. Solitude is a gift, and I recieve it gladly. But it is still okay to miss people now and again.
I walked across the German border and took a train to Munster. Not sure where I should stay, I began walking towards a green splotch on my map (a possible Forrest?) and took a small break in a thrift store; I hoped to find a book in English, as the one I had was almost finished. In broken German, I tried to ask for one when a woman of about 50 or 60 spoke. “I have a book in English in my home if you’d like. It’s one of Steinbeck’s, but it was too complicated for me.,” she said. Of course I accepted. I made myself comfortable and waited for her return. A bad smell lingered on my clothing, and my thoughts were filled with doubts- “where would I sleep? It was getting late. What would I eat? Where can I clean my clothes” and so on. Upon returning, the woman gave me not Steinbeck, but a small collection of short stories, and then offered me a bed for the night.
“I invite you in because you have a good energy in you, and I hope that somewhere someone will help my own traveling son as I help you,” she explained. This isn’t the first time I’ve been told I had “Good energy.” A French man asked me where it came from and I honestly didn’t know what he was talking about. The woman gave me beer, cheese, bread, and other food that night. She helped me clean my clothing, and I slept like a baby.
Hannover was amazing: I met a group of couchsurfers and found a place to stay there after my CS plan fell through. Tip for anyone wanting to use it: Make sure you confirm everything so you don’t misunderstand like I did. All of them were interesting, to say the least. Garret, the guy who helped me, had hosted hundreds of people. There was a Frenchman who, “Didn’t know why he was in Germany.” He was quite hilarious, with a snarky and sarcastic sense of humor. Rebecca, a German shoe maker who invited me for tea the next day was an intelligent and kind woman. Upon meeting her she said, “You’re English is very good!” Which gave us all a laugh because I should hope it’s good- it’s my native tongue!!
I made my way to Berlin to meet with Claudia, one of the coolest, most chill persons I’ve ever met in my life. Actually, she reminded me of my dear friend Alex, and I told her as much. She took me to “The REAL Berlin,” where tourists don’t often go… Ever. This tour included three spots: Tippie Land- a homeless community where you can set up a tent and stay in, Kopi- a punk rock squat, and Yaam an African hang out. Kopi was amazing. The sign on their door read:
“We will not tolerate Facists, Racists, Sexists, Homophobes, Tourists, or Cameras.”
There was a drunk Italian man, fat, with a head too large for his body equiped with a winter hat way too small for his head. Other memorables would be the loud American girl, pierced to the nines, who sleeps in graveyards for their cheap and peaceful qualities, and a Finnish rock musician traveling around Europe.
After playing music with Claudia the next morning, swapping the guitar back and forth, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and bought my self a small guitarlini. Decked me 130€ but if I play on some city streets… 😀
I gathered by things and made my way to Karstadt, where, after missing my train twice, I met my first workawa hosts! They took care of six horses: Santos, Argus, Akazie, Arik, Abbe, and Aiva. I spent the next two weeks (ish), shoveling horse crap into buckets, painting doors, cleaning stables, and antagonizing the pet dogs (Not really, but come on, faking fetch throws is classic). One of the dogs, a black and white poodle named Nemo, seems to have taken a liking to me; whenever I would play the guitar, he would find a way to stroll over and lie down next to me. This, as you can imagine, made me feel quite cool. The other dog, Mahjo, was far too cool and highclass for my rugged ways. But after sneaking her some delicious treats, she warmed up to me.
At one point, I was playing the guitar and this huge, fat cat waltzes right up to where I am. It looks at me, and I look at it, and this must have signaled the creature. It jump upon the table in front of me, and steped right over the guitar and found its way comfortably resting in my lap, purring loudly, rubbing its head against me. Thanks a lot, cat. What did I do? The same thing any one who has been chosen by a cat does- pet the crap out of that thing and earn more purs. Teddy was his name.
Steffi, the daughter, works with training horses via positive reinforcement: a system of training that I can definitely support, with no beating, whipping, or otherwise painful wazs of mistreating the animals. She uses a clicker strategie and took the time to give me some basic lessons. I now feel quite confident that I can teach a horse (or any other animal) that a click means a treat, and a treat means I liked what you did, which then causes the action to resurface again and again. I learned so much from this workaway, that I am quite excited for the next ones. You can see her website here. Its in German so beware.
I am back in Berlin, spending a few days here before I head towards Poland and the Zakopane mountains. Packed up my bag again, ready to hit the road once more, only this time I am a little more musical, and know a little bit more in this world of endless knowables. Till next time, share this post, subscribe, comment below.
Hello, people! Sam here- and wow; these keyboards are killing me. The layout is completely different, ah well. I do apologize for any mistakes made.
I got to France and it has been quite the sight indeed. I went to a hostel and completely crashed- sleeping for 12 hours straight; explored the city, ate bread, wine, and cheese in scenic view of the Eiffel Tower with a woman I met named Orsola:
And I later met up with a group of vegans who were having a pot-luck dinner in which Couchsurfers could join- so of course I did! and I met some of the most amazing people there like the Woman who collects peoples love stories around the world, the Ballet dancer, and others. Everyone was truly great, and it has been my favorite CS event to date.
The next day, I began walking North towards Belgium and every French person I met was quite kind, contrary to what I was told by many, but perhaps this was because I was trying to speak in French.
But France had a sort of creepy vibe to it. There was a three day period in which I saw very little people. All shops were closed, all doors shut, it was very strange. I would walk into a forrest and get the most peculiar feeling, as if I zere being watched by something in the trees. And I woke up once and had two mysterious bite-like marks on my neck-
In 30 years from now, I will realize that I havent grown a day- Vampires anyone? At one point, during the weird three day period, I got lost and walked up a mountain and found some cool stuff, like this super great ravine/fire pit/cliff, that, to add to the creep factor, had about 50 condoms thrown everywhere
And then I came across this water fountain- it was so truly refreshing after being lost in the mountain for days that I drank and drank, and afterwards I felt very sleepy. I wanted to take a nap, but I was still feeling that strange, almost fairy tale-esque thing, and I remembered a story of the Hero that took a nap but woke up years later- well I didnt want that soooooo, I left.
And literally every church here has a chicken on top of the cross. You all think that I am playing, but no; I am totally serious:
After walking about 100 Miles, I began to hitchhike. Because I was sleepy. Oh, and because of a night of uh, lets say fun. I was sleeping in my tent when I was suddenly awoken by the distinct sound of walking. A deer, perhaps? No. No sooner had I begun to wonder did I hear three very clear and unmistaken sounds- Sniffing, Snorting, and then Squealing. Pigs. Or more concerning, Boars. I clentched my knife and waited for about 15 minutes before they left me alone. Maybe they were just curious.
I have been couchsurfing more often, and everyone has been so kind, generous, and interesting. I ended up singing Karaoke- Disney songs dubbed in French, with another group I was playing guitar and singing in a park picnic. One guy there started playing In The Jungle The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and while they sang their version, I sang mine.
“In english the Lion is sleeping?” they asked.
“Yes, of course.”
“In the french version, the Lion is dead!” and a hilarious laughter followed before one man chuckled, “eternal sleep,” and more laughter ensued.
I realize now that the Vagabond life is not separate from a simple one. Everyday I wake up and follow the same routine of 1. Pack up, 2. Eat, 3. and begin walking. Everyday I ask myself the same two questions: What will I eat today; and Where will I sleep. And in this way, complications have virtually vanished from my life all together. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the differences between a homeless person and a worldly vagabond. I had gone to a church and during the service I smelled something terrible and after investigation realize embarrassingly: It was me. A man had been standing next to me, but moved his seat hahaha. Both I and the homless, we smell the same, look the same, do the same things, sleep in the sane unorthodox areas, and very often I feel that passer-bys think me to be some sort of drugged and dangerous hobo. Tell me in the comments what the differences are, because I’m having a hard time figuring it out.
Bonus round: Notre Dame Catherdral in Amiens:
I eventually left France and headed into Belgium. I tried hitchhiking, but the Police said that I was reported by people and was not allowed to do it. Darn. So, I have been taking the train- an extra 6 Euros per day. The Dutch don’t joke with their sweets either!! My goodness, chocolate for breakfast. I ordered a croissant and bit down into it, but to my surprise I discovered it to be filled with nutella!
But if France felt like a fairy Tale; Belgium looked like one.
While walking in the city of Ghent, I took a break in a small stadium wherein there was placed a piano locked inside of a cage. Some children were playing it rather obnoxiously, and I began to eat my lunch. As I consumed peanuts, Nutella and more, an elderly couple, I would guess around 95 for they could barely walk, slid past the instrument while it was unoccupied. The woman led the man to it, and he must have been slightly blind as he stumbled quite a bit. He sat on the bench and rest his hands on the keys- I watched curiously. He at once began to play the most beautiful piece of music I have ever heard in my life, and with such grace. His playing must have had a profound effect on my soul, for no sooner had he begun did I find myself weeping; not tears of sadness, but tears of joy. Such was the complete and utter perfection that came from that piano, and from such an old person- weak and fragile. I quite shocked myself- I didn’t know why I was crying so.
A crowd had gathered, and when he finished, we gave a great applause to which he jumped in fright- he did not know there were so many. He bowed, and played a few more. Many people played that day- all beautiful to be sure, but none as near perfect as the old man.
On a more joyful note, I finaly ate a real Belgium waffle with the help of Sarah!- Life goals hahaha
And with the help of my friend Dylan, I was able to meet these guys, who helped me out a ton and were honestly so great:
But right now, I’m taking a train into Rotterdam in a few minutes so, until next time. Thanks for reading, leave a comment below, share and subscribe- See you!!
After a lot of frustrating calls to embassies for EU countries and mixed answers from all sides- I finally got an answer to my questions on how to travel through Europe long-term. Drum roll please:
You Can’t! Ta-daaaa
Unfortunately, you can’t as far as I can tell. If any country is apart of the Schengen, Agreement- The countries in Blue-
– they share one Visa. However, they don’t all share the same entry prerequisites. Let me break it down for y’all:
If you are an American Citizen (and some other countries, but I’m focusing on me here), you may:
- Enter the Schengen Zone without a visa for up to 90 days. You may travel throughout the entirety of the Shengen area wherever your feet take you. Yay!
- If you wish to stay longer, you must apply for a Long-Term Schengen visa which is specific for each country, not the entire Schengen zone. This means that you can enter, say Germany, for up to a year (or if you are a student, longer).
- But! If you would like to go to France with the same visa, well tough luck. You can’t. You have to apply for a specific French Schengen visa from your home country. Not cool.
In my opinion, this defeats the entire purpose of the Schengen visas. But whatever, rules are rules and I’m just a lowly foreigner, who am I to disagree? I’m nobody. SO! It’s up to me to find loopholes… as best I can. I have created this wonderfully professional photo to explain what I’m thinking:
I would spend 2-3 months in both Ireland and the United Kingdom because they’re rebellious and at this point in time unconnected to the Schengen Zone. Once I hit France though, I’ll have three months to get through it, along with Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Poland. After that, I can spend 2 months or more in Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine in order to spend the 6 month required absence to RE-ENTER the Schengen territory. I can run through those bottoms ones, and exit into the lower European nations. I can use another 6 months rummaging in them until I hit the 6 month mark for a second, giving me permission to obtain an additional 3 months in Schengen.
I would have to really book it to get down to the port and catch my ferry to Morocco, but I can do it. This isn’t ideal, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Any article of clothing that you have not put on yourself in person. This includes:
- Shoes (VERY Important)
- Socks (With Shoes)
DO NOT buy these items online, it will save you a lot of money. For example, I had bought some shoes for 109.00 but when I put on my hiking socks, I realized they were far to small. For those of you who are familiar with hiking, small shoes can result in loss of toenails, blisters and more (For a great guide to buying the right size shoe, click Here).
I strongly suggest, in order to keep from wastefully spending like I did, to go to a store like REI and try on your stuff before you actually buy it.
When traveling, short-term or long-term, it is important to have a list of everything you need before you leave. This reduces your anxiety, stress, and money. If you buy things you need in advance, you can find cheaper options. I made this mistake with my Filter, Pants, and Shirts. I’ve since corrected my them.
In total, the bag on my back will weigh around 12 pounds, not including food or water. All items on my person add up to about 8 pounds. All in all, if I assume my food weighs 5 pounds, my entire weight will come to around 25 pounds.
This here is my Checklist of all the things I think I will need when I am traversing the globe. If you have any suggestions, go ahead and leave me a comment.
|Pack: Osprey Talon 44 (Blk)||Packing||149.95||2 lb||1|
|Tent: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2||Packing||303.95||2 lb, 4 oz||1|
|Therma Rest Neoair Sleep Pad, (Lg)||Packing||179.95||1 lb||1|
|Sleeping Bag||Packing||Free||3 lb, 9 oz||1|
|550 Paracord 50 feet||On Body||4.39||5 oz||1|
|Clothing Stuff Sack||Packing||Free||1|
|Compression Stuff Sack (Med.)||Packing||Free||1|
|Rain Pack Cover (Grn)||Packing||21.99||4 oz||1|
|TOTAL:||PACKING||$660.23||9 lb, 9 oz||1|
|Merrel Hiking Shoes (Tan)||On Body||109.89||2 lb, 6 oz||1|
|Merino Wool Cushion Socks (Gray, 1)||Clothes||15.95||2 oz||1|
|Summer Hiking Socks, Merino (Blu, 1)||On Body||18.89||2 oz||1|
|Kuhl Synthetic Polyester Pants (Gray)||On Body||56.99||12 oz||1|
|Synthetic T-Shirt (Grn)||On Body||21.53||5 oz||1|
|Longsleeve Synthetic Shirt (Blk)||Clothes||3.95||1 lb||1|
|Winter Scarf (Red)||Clothes||Free||7 oz||1|
|Ghost Whisperer Jacket (Blk)||Clothes||142.83||7 oz||1|
|Padagonia Rain Coat (Blu)||On Body||1.05||8 oz||1|
|Patagonia Rain Pants (Blu)||Clothes||Free||8 oz||1|
|Head Lamp Black Diamond (Grn)||On Body||23.95||1|
|AAA Batteries (4)||Misc.||Free||1|
|ExOfficio Boxer Briefs (2)||On Body||42.05||4 oz||1|
|TOTAL:||CLOTHES||$436.81||7 lb, 1 oz||1|
|Mini-Stove; Wood Fueled (and sack)||Cooking||Free||10 oz||1|
|600ml Titanium Pot (and sack)||Cooking||28.5||4 oz||1|
|Cleaning Sponges||Cooking||Free||0 oz||1|
|Titanium Spoon, Chopsticks (and sack)||Cooking||Free||0 oz||1|
|Bic Lighter||Cooking||Free||0 oz||1|
|Small Matches||Cooking||Free||0 oz||1|
|Homemade Pot Cozy||Cooking||2.05||0 oz||1|
|Sawyer Mini Water Filter||Cooking||24.95||2 oz||1|
|50 oz. Water Bottles (2)||Cooking||Free||0 oz||1|
|TOTAL:||COOKING||$55.50||1 lb, 5 oz||1|
|Toilet Paper||Hygiene||Free||4 oz||1|
|Nokia Lumia 1020||Misc.||120||9 0z||1|
|Sony Cyber Shot DW800 20 MP Camera||On Body||82.63||4 oz||1|
|Passport, 28 Pages||On Body||Free||2 oz||1|
|Solar Powered Charger, Plugs, and Cords||Misc.||23.95||9 oz||1|
|Gerber Knife||On Body||Free||1|
|Compass: Flat, Multi Purpose||Misc.||Free||0 oz||1|
|Mountain Climbers Clips||On Body||Free||1|
|Sewing Kit, Zip Ties||Misc.||Free||0 oz||1|
|Pencil Sharpener||Misc.||Free||0 oz||1|
|Moleskin Journal 193 Pages||Misc.||12.95||5 oz||1|
|TOTAL:||MISC.||$163.48||1 lb, 6 oz||1|
|Band Aids||First Aid||Free||0 oz||1|
|Pain Relief (10 Tablets)||First Aid||Free||0 oz||1|
|Diarrhea Medicine (12 Tablets)||First Aid||9.99||0 oz||1|
|Bandages||First Aid||10.95||1 oz||1|
|TOTAL:||FIRST AID||$20.94||1 oz||1|
|Estimated Worn Weight||On Body||_||5 lb, 4 oz||1|
|Estimated Bag Weight||Packing||_||15 lb, 8 oz||1|
|Estimated Consumable Weight||Food||_||6 lb||1|
|Estimated Total||All Categories||$1,341.22||26 lb, 12 oz||1|
Planning. And more planning. And if you aren’t planning and would rather be uber spontaneous, guess what? You’ll end up spending more than you would have if you had thought it through. I am learning this first hand.Take for instance my water filter. I hadn’t thought to much about it and naively purchased the Life Straw.
It’s light, its effective, it’s going to save me from the terrors of the Hershey squirts– Seems like a good choice, yeah? Wrong actually. Turns out that the Life Straw is only good if you have a constant supply of water! And if you bring a bottle, the opening must be long enough to fit the straw through, however bottles like that are often heavy or expensive.
I have since changed my stance and purchased what’s called a Sawyer Mini. It lets me screw on the filter to a variety of multi purpose bottles, or just a plain old plastic thing that you get in water packs. Point being: you should really consider planning your gear way in advance. What if I had already gone to Africa with that other filter? I’d be screwed, that’s what.
With this in mind, I took to the woods with my friend to test my rain gear. True to it’s claims, my rain cover protected my precious cargo on my back, and my lightweight coat and pants shielded my body. It is always a good idea to test your gear before you need it. My own backpacking checklist has changed at least 4 times! I ditch things that I don’t need, I add more on, I weigh and reweigh (new word?) until I am perfectly satisfied. I book my flight in advance, waiting for the cheapest options to save money (So I can travel further), and I can save cash, time, and headaches simply be planning.
Here’s the moral of this story:
Be spontaneous in your travels, but always plan your gear far before you leave.