Thailand Travel Stories, Page 18

Backpack Tailor

Backpack Tailor
Yesterday, I finally made the shell or body of my Windmill Backpack design, I now have one Backpack that is 20 percent finished.

I will go to Taiwan on the eleventh of September, I truly need a Backpack that is up to minimum standards for a travel Backpack.

Rangsit, Thailand
Thamasart Rangsit University Apartment Hotel
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack

Here is the minimal shell of the Backpack I am trying to design and make, and so far, I am very happy. I now have a backpack to use for my trip to Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.

As you can see, this backpack so far is very simple looking and I hope it remains that way as I add the other 80 percent of features and benefits. A Travel Bag needs to be smooth so it does not catch on airport luggage carousels, door handles, bus doors, people, and any other sharp object. It cannot be wider than the human body or walking becomes a problem, I am not out in the wide open outdoors, I am on planes, trains, buses, and automobiles.

The material is a 500 Denier Ripstop Spectra fabric, very durable and similar to Kevlar. The zipper pull is the Padlock type, however the end product will have YKK Hasp Zipper pulls.

This is the person who sewed up this bag, it is truly amazing how fast this bag was sown together. I would guess he spent less than two hours just making this shell. However, I had already cut all the parts, engineered them and stayed right with him while he was sewing.

This is the shell or body of the backpack, more or less this is like making a racing car, I think you need to make the body, then add all the features and benefits slowly so you can see how they will look on the actual frame.

I have learned many lessons about designing my own bag, I now know for sure what a person needs is a tailor, not a bag maker, but a tailor. The man above is not a tailor, he does not make clothing, he repairs clothing. I more or less was the tailor, I cut all the pieces and he sewed them together.

I have had zero luck with allowing any company to cut the pieces, they just are not capable of engineering a bag. Companies that make backpack, copy backpacks, they very seldom actually make a new backpack. The workers in the Backpack Factories are not skilled labor, they are people who repeatedly sew the same pieces many times per day. There are few designers of backpacks on the planet.

I now have a system for making the first sample that is working, this has taken me years to work out. In the end, to make a great backpack, I must learn everything about being the Tailor for a Backpack.

I guess I am finding another career.
“Backpack Tailor.”

One of the reason I am traveling presently to Taiwan, Korea, and Japan it so search for the perfect fabrics to use on this backpack so I can produce the first 100 finished products.

Backpack Tailor

Misanthropist Love Travel

Misanthropist Love Travel
Are you somebody who hates people; somebody who hates humanity, or who dislikes and distrusts other people and tends to avoid them.

If so, then become a traveler, you can avoid intimate relationships, and if by chance, you do get close to someone by accident, you just leave, no worries as you leave saying,
“I am a traveler, I leave, that is what I do.”

When you do not share a common language, it is like two dogs smelling each other, there is no need to care, unless the other dog wishes to bite.

Rangsit, Thailand
Thamasart Rangsit University Apartment Hotel
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine over yesterday, discussing the word Gajin in Japan, or maybe Farang in Thailand when it hit me…

“I know why people think Thailand people love them.”
“I know why people would think Japanese people love them.”

A true understanding of a culture comes only with intimate relationships within that culture.

A Misanthropist would love to travel, for example, I speak very little of the Thailand language, and Thailand people speak almost zero English. It is amazing place, there is almost zero need to ever talk with a Thailand person. Yes, you can point and say something like
“Chicken Fried Rice.”

Then hope they understand, or just expect the Thailand people to say,
“Same Same.”
When something else comes, and you say,
“But Different.”

There is no meeting of the minds, only meeting of the cash.

I speak Spanish and French, and many words in Thai, Portuguese, and many a Hello in many languages. I like people, therefore I must learn the language, and at least meet them halfway.

However, as I said, Travel is great for people who despise friends, to not want commitment, want to be free of any intimate social problem. You can truly be anonymous, a true nothing with the world.

I know of many a person I have met on the road who do their best to not talk with anybody, they just go about their day, and nobody can bother them because there is no shared language.

I suppose if you Sister, Brother, Uncle, Aunt, Mother or Father wants to move to another country to live, ask yourself,
“Does this person hate people?”

Misanthropist Love Travel

Exploring the World Slowly

Exploring the World Slowly
I have now walked over to the same small market here near Thamasart University about 10 times. It is very small with two 7-11's in very close proximity, however this is normal in Thailand.

I was strolling back and as I passed a bus stop, I thought to myself,
“If I was a normal tourist, I would have already learned everywhere those bus goes.”

Rangsit, Thailand
Thamasart Rangsit University Apartment Hotel
Monday, September 1, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack

I was talking to Jeroen, my travel agent in Bangkok as he outlines a possible trip to the Middle East, something like eight countries in less than one month.

I said,
"I cannot do that, I do not even like those countries and it is too quick."

I remember sitting in Riga, Lativia listening to a USA boy say,
“I visited 19 countries in 17 days.”

Such is life of the Summer Vacation tourist in Europe.

I am walking back slowly to my Apartelle, I am looking at some houses that are squatting on what appears to be swampland. This is interesting to me, I truly am curious to understand how the world thinks, and how they live.

I am wondering, maybe I am now visiting what the average person would say is boring, nothing, nowhere-ville Thailand. I feel like a hermit walking around in my own solitude, I talk to about the same number of people as I do on Khao San Road, as I do not really have desire to talk to people there. Here I have made a couple of say hello friends in the a Market.

I walked farther, a man said,
“Where you go?”
“Bye nai Kalp?”

I thought to myself, oops be nice, say hello, that man is just being friendly, this place is so different than Khao San Road, where when they ask, where you go, they only want to make money, this guy wanted to be friendly.

Exploring the planet slowly, I realize for me, there is no other way. I am planning a trip to Korea and Japan, I will only be in each country about two weeks, normal for me is two months. I feel negligent, I would love to spend two months in each of those countries, however I have no clue if this is possible, I do not know if I can afford to live in these countries cheaply.

I have decided some of the expensive countries on the planet I will visit and take a lick, if they are good, I can return later and take a bite.

I really have nothing better to do, then just stop and look around, I have realized the world is big, I will never finish it, it is not possible to understand the whole world, maybe I should say,
“I am enjoying the world slowly.”

Exploration is a strange word, it seems to mean something new, however really it is only the exploration that happens in me that is new, the world for the most part has been explored already for hundreds of years.

Exploring the World Slowly

Frog Hearts

Frog Hearts
I walked across this pedestrian bridge that spans a 10 lane superhighway and went to the market. What do I find in the midst of the soon to be first world country of Thailand.

Frog Hearts, then again, maybe liver, spleen, or something else, I really do not speak Thai, so I am guessing.

Rangsit, Thailand
Thamasart Rangsit University Apartment Hotel
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack

This frog is alive, it waved it arms out just as I took this photo, sort of creepy and to think, this frog is for sale.

The Frog Legs are wrapped or tied around the body, I am not sure, maybe this keeps these live Frogs from hopping away.

Hmm, Toad or Frog, maybe Bullfrog.

Frog Hearts

I Love my Backpacks and Gear

I Love my Backpacks and Gear
A reader wrote a perceptive comment about Backpacks and Gear today on another Blog Post, the comment explains the intimate relationship between a travelers and their gear.

I will let you read, before I comment.

Bangkok, Thailand - Khao Sarn Road
Monday, September 1, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack


HI Mr. Andy,
I do not think some folks quite understand the relationship you may have with your backpacks. Given how dependent you really are on them. I still have my old duffel bag after 30 years of faithful service. Its my luggage of choice even now for just playing tourist. Its the same mentality with tools or perhaps your favorite truck. hehe. A man becomes almost emotionally intimate with such things that serve him well. On the flipside when it turns out to be junk, its a feeling a betrayal or disloyalty. I do not understand why all the loud colors on backpacks. It even seems the cheaper the make, the louder it is. Matter of fact, I do not understand why anything to attract attention, to indicate many compartments or nooks for a thief to fantasize rummaging. After your years of being on the move, Its probably not quite the traditional meaning of packing that you do. Its more like putting things away.

Maybe you have seen those tool pouches that are unrolled and instant access to everything in pockets designed for specific tools. When done you put tools in place and roll up like a cinnamon roll. Your main back pack seems similar to me. You open it only when you are at destination, then you open it like opening front door to your home, not like raiding the refrigerator. The front pack I would think to be the biggest problem child

Anonymous Post on this post.
The Backpack a Thieves Paradise


This is true insight into the relationship between Backpacks, and other gear we spent time with on a long journey. I remember when I loaned a plastic drinking cup to Tom on the River Napa on a trip between Ecuador and Peru. He had it in his hands, and in less than two minutes, dropped it and it went into the river, never to be seen again.

He said,
“It is just a cup.”
I said,
“I have been carrying that cup for three years.”

I have gear at home I my parents house, that I have retired, decommissioned and I want to hold onto as souvenirs, the long age memories of a the way it used to be.

When I purchased my first pack, I went in the gear store and said,
“Give me the cheapest bag you have.”
--- What a mistake...

Little did I know, I would travel to about 30 countries and use that bag daily for about five years. I truly fell in love the bag, we had some good times together.

My first backpack was similar, almost the same as the one in the post where the anonymous reader commented.
The Backpack a Thieves Paradise

However, as the reader said,
“when it turns out to be junk, its a feeling a betrayal or disloyalty.”

If you read my the Backpack Design Survey then you will see, there is a curious question from a person who is endeavoring to make the perfect backpack.

Would a large duffle bag work good enough?
Like an Army bag, big, one pocket.

Why do I ask this question, in a way I want to learn if the people who complete the survey understand the goal of a backpack.

My answer would be,
“Yes, in most ways, a big Army duffle bag would work just as good if not better than a backpack.”

The goal of backpack is to carry your gear and for a traveler, not like a hiker, it is to protect your gear from theft. The duffle bag does this almost perfect.

What is the goal of a hiker or trekker bag?
To carry comfortable supplies and gear for long walks, treks, hikes or climbs.

This essential point right there is truly missed by 99 percent of travelers, tourist, hikers, trekkers and other people who think they know either activity because they did it for a short time in their lives.

I sometime what to say to wannabe traveler,
“Just buy a suitcase, and you will do better.”
“Just buy a duffle bag until you have a clue what you are doing.”

I would truly love to have a good Army Duffle bag in my possession right now until I get my bag finished, every backpack sold near Khao San Road in Thailand is made for hiking, not for travel, and still the market demands thes silly type of bags.

What has happened to me, I have traveled for too long, I have seen too many people robbed, I have seen the eyes of people who have their bags stolen. I person know what is like to have my bag destroyed many times by Luggage Handlers on planes, Taxi drivers, or that well intended person who wishes to help me as enter a hotel.

I want a bag that can withstand a person touch, I am not going to destroy my best friend and travel companion, my backpack, however I am positive other people will.

I tried to make this point in another post, hiking bags do not get touched by other people than their owners. While a traveler or tourist bag is continuously mishandled by everyone who get near it.
Travel Versus Mountain Backpack


There was an excellent American Tourister Commercial Clip where a gorilla throws around a bag, here is for fun.


IF no video here, you need to read on the Blog, and not by email or RSS feed, click here: Travel Journal


If I could impart one glimmer of wisdom to a Traveler, a person who wishes to go travel the planet about gear and backpack. I would hope they would watch this American Tourister Commercial Clip over and over and over again until it sinks into your extremely thick sculls. This is how your bag will be handle, watch the Gorilla, when I see anybody get near my backpack, I want to scream.
“You are a Gorilla.”

I have to continuously fight with people who want to grab my computer bag….

It looks like a normal day pack, I do not want to get robbed, I am not stupid, I do not carry bags that look like computer bags, camera bags, I am not going to volunteer to be one of the tens of thousands of people who get robbed yearly.

However, because it does not look like a computer bag, it looks like a backpack, people will throw it. I must physically fight with people when they try to help my with my bag, I never allow anyone to touch my computer bag, that also has a camera inside.

The reason I love the comment by the reader so much is because it explains to me why other readers comments, emails, and opinions are so anally loyal to their backpack. I see now that it is difficult for a person to talk badly or point out the faults of their best friend. I realize that many people truly are in love with that backpack they shared months of time with, and they was lucky, it never caused them enough problems whereby they wanted to throw it off the top of a building and kill it.

I have reader tell me daily,
“This is really a great bag.”

I want to say,
“Carry the damn thing for ten years, then tell me that.”

If you have never been with people who have been robbed, then in my mind, you have not traveled. When you see a backpack that has been totally destroyed by a airport baggage handler that looks like a gorilla, then maybe you are becoming a traveler.

Thanks for the great comment, I keep trying to explain to reader, do not fall in love with gear. There is always a better way, no my way, but your way. I would never want you to travel to the places I have been and see all the world I have seen. If you do what I do, I want you to make that decision on your own.

Sometimes I want to say,
“Go travel the world, go and see just how ugly the world can be.”
Remember for the majority of readers, you went on vacation, you did not go traveling.

The Backpack is a tool, when a better one comes along, I hope you can accept change.

I Love my Backpacks and Gear

The University Travel Room Experiment

The University Travel Room Experiment
I leave this morning to stay in a Hotel, that is also an Apartment, I am excited. I hope this experiment evolves into a great way to find cheap places to live in other countries fast.


To read this post, you have to pretend that you are a perpetual traveler and NOT a Tourist on a two week vacation. This is not a post about a traveling for a week or month, it is post about traveling for years. You are going to be far away from Tourist attractions and Tourist information, it mean to be immersed in one culture, the culture of the country you wish to visit

Bangkok, Thailand - Khao Sarn Road
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack

I find room often in a similar manner in tourist areas. I enter the city, take about any room, then walk around the next day until I find the best room for me, not for you, but for me.

I am going to move to a Hotel close to a University today, and I am hoping I can go find other apartments to rent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis in the same area.

The question is this?

Can I rent apartments near Universities quickly, cheaply and easily and efficiently? There price of the apartment room needs to be at least one-third the cost of a tourist room to be feasible. What I am trying to do is upgrade my living conditions while at the same time decreasing the my budget.

I need Internet in my rooms, presently in today's world, when I am able to find a room on Khao San Road with Internet in the room, it cost me 400-600 Baht, and 600-800 is the easy to find price, while I can easily find a room without Internet for 200 Baht.

This is annoying, the cost of a room with Internet on the planet is about triple the cost of one without. Hotels, really do not understand the value of this benefit.

I now want to do the reverse, I know that I can rent rooms in homes with internet for the cheap price of 200 baht per night, I can more or less do Home stays and have a cheap room and Internet.

I want to know if I can go more commercial, rent an room in an apartment building for a short term stay.

Are there rooms for rent in apartment buildings that are rent at one third the price of a hotel room, yet also give me Internet. I am almost positive the only Apartments with Internet in them, that are EASY to find, easy to have the INTERNET are near Universities.

The goal would be to do this when I am traveling to other countries. I find a University in a city I wish to visit. Say I wanted to go stay in Tokyo for two months CHEAPLY. I would go to Tokyo, rent a Hotel room, then furiously walk around in the area until I find an Apartment to rent for a month or two, or less if possible. I could live cheaply in Tokyo, avoid the gouge level pricing of hotels, and still be happy.

The Hotel work on a whatever the market will bear pricing, and so do the apartments. A tourist will pay ridiculous prices for a two week vacation, however you do not do this with an apartment.

I tried to be poignantly exact the other day with the travel agent, saying about my trip to Japan.

“The price of a room is always a big deal, you cannot just say 50 dollars per night is not a big deal.”

“What you are saying to me is that paying 3000 per month with other expenses to live in Japan is not a big deal.”

I pay Hotel Rates every day of every year, I am not going to Europe and paying 100 U.S. per night to see Europe, I refuse to pay 3000 per month rent for a room.

This experiment is a cheaper way to test a theory then going to Tokyo. I know for sure during summer vacation in the USA I can find room in apartments near Universities cheap.

I am always looking for a ways to reduce the monthly cost of rooms. If you read our website you will notice, we focus on Home Stays and Apartment Hotels, we are trying to get this type of Travel Rooms to submit, so the world can afford to do more than go on a two week vacation once in their life.

I was not willing to do this experiment until I found a room already with Internet.

The University Travel Room Experiment

The Backpack a Thieves Paradise

The Backpack a Thieves Paradise
“The Backpack a Thieves Paradise”
- Jeroen of Nats Tours just off Khao San Road
---- August 19, 2008

Words of wisdom from Jeroen my Bangkok, Travel Agent with an office on the alley parallel to Khao San Road.

Bangkok, Thailand - Khao Sarn Road
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack

Jereon sees many backpacks, a continuous stream of backpacks walk by his office daily. I see a continuous stream of backpacks walk by me, however maybe a little more critical for me, I also live out of a backpack, it my home away from home.

I am again dwelling on features of a backpack, this backpack below is similar to the one I first carried for about 4-5 years. I truly liked that pocket in the top until,
“I was robbed when someone put their hand in that pocket and took money out of my neck pouch passport and money holder.”
- Robbed on Boat from Koh Samui to Surathani Thailand July 2002

I finally accept the Italian guy sitting next to me on the boat tell me a sad sack story about losing everything stole my money out of the top pouch pocket of a bag like the one below. I was tired, hot, and sweaty, I did not want that pouch on my neck, I put it in the pouch.

This bag below is typical, I am guess in at least 35 percent of long-term backpack have purchased this type of bag.

It is the Thieves Paradise
30-50 percent of backpacks traveler carry are like this bag.

I really loved my bag like this, it was easy to get into, I could put my guidebook in the top pocket. I could stuff it extra full, the pull string compartment would allow me to stuff a lot in this bag. It was simple to use. I could open them straps and clamp down a blanket or tent.

It was simple to use, it was easy to rob.

It is the only backpack that answer the question?
Where do I store my guidebook?

I truly hate this type of bag NOW, I believe the Airplane luggage handlers broke them clips at least four times. I finally replaced them with a pull buckle type mechanism and they still broke it. They just grab what is easy to find and throw the bag. Or maybe they just pull real hard, knowing the contents will go flying and all is fair game.

There is ZERO way of locking this bag, a Thieve Paradise.

If you would carry this backpack as your front bag, this pouch on top would be one of the best places possible to store a guidebook when entering a city. It would be right in front of your face. The problem is you have to take this backpack off… ooops

A thieves paradise, one robber comes up and bumps you, the other runs off with the bag because you needed to take the pack off to get your guidebook out. There needs to be a hasp type lock on the zipper so a person can lock this pouch.

This is a hikers or trekkers bag, not good for travel, it is a Thieve Paradise, the worst possible bag to purchase to travel

I went into a store here on Khao San Road to take these photos, I am sure all the backpack are fakes, no original brands. This nice girl was helping me, she squatted on the stool. I could not help myself, I had to take a photo. What do you think, does she look like she has some Chinese blood in her?

This is how you enter this bag, quick and easy, however there is no way to lock this bag.

I had a bag like this for about four-five years, by the time I was done, I had added many D-Rings to allow me to lock the bag. It is possible to lock this bag, however it just never seems to come ready to go out of the box, this bag is not made for travel.

Too many pockets, too many loose webbing straps hanging around, this bag has more toy adjustment than you can imagine. They all come out of adjustment, almost impossible to keep it adjusted because they all change. I sewed the adjustments solid on my bag, I was tired of trying to keep them correct.

This bag and 90 percent of the backpack I see are a Thieve Paradise, there is nothing stopping anyone from robbing them.

I think what happens is this, a person goes into a gear store thinking they are going to rough it, walking around a country. They eventually learn and know that roughing it, is putting a bag under a bus and sleeping 24 hour on an all night bus, it is not walking for days.

Little do they know, while they was sleeping, some little person was crawling around in the baggage compartment pillaging their bag.

I do not think it is the Backpacker fault, I think the Gear shops and Manufacturers have their head up their butt. They really have no idea what it means to travel.

Or maybe the do not know what it feel like to be robbed, I have been robbed two times, once with the little pouch, once by a pickpocket in Spain. For sure the most dangerous places to travel is Europe, the seconds is Central and South America, Africa next and Asia is the safest.

The more pockets on the outside of a a backpack, the more you will get robbed, and the less it should be called a Travel Backpack.

I think I am inventing a new genre of backpacks, the travel backpack line.

The Backpack a Thieves Paradise

My Love of Stereotypes

My Love of Stereotypes
I truly love stereotypes, I find them extremely useful tool in making decisions. I see the lumping together of individuals and labeling the group as one of my greatest skills.

Bangkok, Thailand - Khao Sarn Road
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Backpack Design Survey --- Backpack

We are told all our lives we should not stereotype, and let us be real, stereotyping in the mind happens in seconds, a person cannot go two seconds without making a stereotypical opinion in their mind.

The newscaster says,
“The Republican Presidential Candidate…”

The listener instantly lump this "Republican" into a box, then is anticipating the Republican Stereotypes to be explained by the newscaster in a what I would say is not intellectual and permeated with bias ways, truly spin Kings these reporters.

What I do with Stereotype, I make a good solid clearly defined stereotype.

I tell myself,
“Andy, this is stereotype you have made of this person.”

I now take my list of specific characteristics,

1. Big money
2. Support Oil Companies
3. Conservative, whatever that means.
4. Nuclear Family

Forgive me, I am not very good at Stereotyping Republicans or Democrats because to me they both seem the same.

However, after I have a list, I now know I have a bias, I am looking now to see where the person deviates from the list.

(Note, Michael Moore is the CHAMPION of using Stereotypes in a truly nasty, premeditated. manipulative way against people. He recognizes the biases of people, and feeds them, creating hate…, what a bad boy.)

Now, I always think of George W. Bush, when I read this.
“President Bush has already allocated approximately $2 billion in hydrogen highway research.”
Quote here.

I thought to myself, for a guy who is supposed to be supporting Oil Companies, I am not sure what he is doing, hey George, you did not do the stereotypical thing of Republicans.

Now here is a good example of how to use Stereotypes as a tool, you recognize your you own biases, you admit to yourself that you stereotype, then you premeditated see if you are passing judgment on a person. A great way to become objective and help to remove biases.

In the end, this is the problem with stereotypes, they put people in boxes whereby they cannot escape, they are forever in the role of the stereotype, even when a person reads or hears something against the stereotype, the stereotype still prevails.

Now, I will leave the Hotel room, go find a Stereotypical greedy, lying cheating Taxi Driver, and hope I can see the signs of this before I enter the taxi, then hope I choose the one that does not demonstrate the signs of a greedy, lying, cheating Taxi Driver.

Note, the taxi waiting outside the hotel, is 90 percent of the time a problem, they normally and generally are the nasty stereotype of a taxi driver. They are trying to prey on the naïve stupid, fat, too lazy to work tourist, being greedy the taxi driver is trying to get the big money stupid tourist to use their taxi. (I stay in cheap hotels, not many of these taxi drivers around.)

I need a good list of my biases to make a well informed objective opinion. I know for example, I trust Farm boys above City Boys, but that does not preclude a City boy from having a few morals.

A person tells me they do not stereotype, I think to myself,
"Wow, a person that will lies and say he doe not, a truly delusional belief system."

My Love of Stereotypes