The TSA's ridiculous limits on liquids and gels have had at least one beneficial side effect: you're forced not to overpack heavy liquid-based toiletries that you don't really need. You can buy just about anything anywhere; it's not like people in China don't brush their teeth. Plus, it turns out that there's good alternatives out there for things like shaving cream. On short trips, it makes sense to pack your toiletries in advance; if you're going to be spending months between airline flights, bring the bare minimum and plan on shopping locally.
"Heaven, heaven is a place,
A place where nothing, nothing ever happens"
-- Talking Heads, Heaven
This may be the only time that I offer fashion advice on the blog.
In August 2009, I visited North Korea for five days with a Koryo Tours group; it was an incredible experience and probably the most intense week of my round-the-world trip. I didn't travel to North Korea because of the threats they make, or because of Team America: World Police, or even because of the incredible show that is the Mass Games (though all of those things were important). I traveled to North Korea to find out what people are like under such different circumstances, and see a little of how they live day-to-day. I hope to write more about that myself one day, but, for now, here's some good reading on the twenty-five million people living their lives in this tiny corner of the world.
Here's a part of your plan that's easy to overlook. I'm very thankful that I haven't had to use most of the stuff on this list, but I always appreciated having it around. If you're going anywhere outside of major cities in the developed world, this list is for you.
Just another day in Egypt.
Get away from it all.
It hurts me just to write that cliché. The fact of the matter is that after two or three weeks on the road, you're going to realize that just because you're traveling, you haven't lost your basic need to keep in touch with friends and family, whether it's your parents ten thousand miles away, or someone you just met at the hostel.
It's more than possible to travel around the world with only one bag. (Heck, it's possible to do it with nothing more than a good pair of pants, if you're so inclined). For me, I know that I'll fill up whatever space is available to me, and that's why I'm starting off with a review of the best carry-on backpack available yesterday, today, and hopefully tomorrow: the MEI Voyageur.
I'll also review my trusty Manhattan Portage DJ messenger bag.
Have a North American or European passport? These days, just about any country in the world will welcome you -- for ninety days or less.