After 14 years of travel, I have radically changed my packing method, it is strange.
“The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
The airlines are teaching me how to pack for world travel, I learned yesterday there was nothing in my backpack worth paying 342 dollars to own. I could choose an expensive airline like American Airlines, and pay 520 to keep the gear, or Spiritair.com for 178 and dump a lot of travel gear.
Adios Travel Gear!
Yesterday was an emotional day, maybe one of the saddest days in my 14 years of world travel. I have been going through all my travel gear, and throwing away anything that can be purchased in the next country.
Ooops, there goes 60-90 percent of the travel gear in the bag above. My idea of travel gear is radically different than other people, I buy travel gear in places like Walmart, and Walgreens, or a food market in Africa. For example, I carry 40 feet of nylon cord for a clothesline, and plastic clothes pins, and I really hated to throw them in the trash. But I truly can buy them again in Thailand, or West Africa, they are just convenient travel gear to have with me, I can buy upon arrival at the next travel destination. All this gear I carry has become inconveniently expensive to own.
Adjustment to the quote above
“The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you trash everything you own that you're free to do anything.”
- Andy Graham
I do Not Like SpiritAir.com
Ok, I am the same as the rest of you, I do not like SpiritAir.com, they are sneaky, slimy, sons of b....tches, but they are still 342 dollars less than United, American or Delta to fly from Guatemala to Detroit, Michigan. Providing, I have no travel gear or luggage, food on the plane, or other conveniences that cost 342 dollars.
When a person says, I will never take SpiritAir.com again, my incredibly mathematical brain kicks in, and starts talking to itself,
"Even if that sneaky, slimy SpiritAir.com wants 200 for my backpacks, it is still cheaper than American Airlines."
Well, my plane ticket from Guatemala to Detroit is 207 U.S. Dolllars one-way, and that included 33 USD for one checked bag.
520 minus 178 Dollars equals 342 dollars?
All the contents in my checked bag can be purchased for 75-200 USD, maybe some of the shirts or pants are difficult to buy. I am wondering how many people arrive at the airport, the airline says,
"you need to pay 150 for your bags,"
and they just leave them sitting at the check-in and say goodbye?
Convenience is an expensive addiction, a nipple with bad milk.
Please understand, this is another day of liberation from the USA culture. With each passing year I need less, and the less things I need to watch, own, and care for, the less petty my life is, and the more noble my existence.
Packing is becoming simple.
Luggage fees are a complete rip off. As a surfer, I have seen surf travel prices go through the stratosphere with the airline service charges and fees for boards. It used to be a board bag was one of two pieces of luggage and it was free. Over the years, it has gone from zero to $200 per board. The 4 board quiver I used to carry is now $800 x 2 (RT) plus regional carrier fees. I'll pay....NO WAY! I now have a two piece board that makes the dimensional cut for most airlines as a checked bag, plus Ive stash two boards at a friend's house. Buried a board at the beach one time. I also bought boards from tourists who didn't want to pay RETURN or need quick cash.
When it was two free bags, and I had a pickup at the airport, I used to max out on packing old clothes and stuff to give away in the 3rd world. Now that luggage fees are crazy... I buy the stuff Andy and other people bought at Walmart and dumped in the goodwill or Salvation Army containers. It wasn't sold at their thrift stores, and was bulk shipped in bundles to West Africa or the PI for stores on the Left Coast, and we buy it for 350 CFA in Libreville...or 15 or 20P in Manila. Then I give away stuff in the days before I am leaving. FREE! Sign also gets my loot down the road.
VISITORS TRAVELLING TO THE US TAKE NOTE: Garage/rummage sales are great places to pick up things on the cheap or even free on CRAIG's. Clothes for cents on the $... Stuff to outfit a road trip ... Mmight be a cultural phenomenon, with classic souvenirs for take home to your place. It's a bit better now, but a America is still very much a disposable society--we throw away lots of stuff that is perfectly functional.
You're right Victor, I live in the States, and from time to time I see good, and perfectly functional pieces of furniture right in front of their sidewalks, but for some reason they don't need them anymore! Oh well, Ces la vie.
Ps. This is for Andy please gives us some feedback afterwards on your trip to Detroit through SpiritAir.
Thanks to Andy I am ever so slowly breaking the bonds myself. I got rid 4 vehicles and a 10' x 20' mini warehouse jammed full of 1/3 trash, 1/3 flee market type items, 1/3 tools ($10,000 worth new) .. all of that in the last 7 days.
Id of spent months selling the tools... and rehabilitating the vehicles for sale, costing me a few thousand dollars in lost consulting revenue
I decided to take $2,000 or $3,000 loss on the tools instead... and dumped it all for the cost of hauling it off. The junk guy was over joyed. It took him and a helper and me 2 days to empty the mini ware house alone.
I am free of that now, it was costing me $400 a month in storage.
As soon as I realized that Im not going back into that business, or live in the US ...the decision was easy.
The junk guy was a 'burning man' affectionado.. he will put all that stuff to good use.. his artist girl friend can use the several hundred dollars worth of brushes, pallet knives and art supplies I left... I did not even mind parting with all but two of my unfinished paintings.
Now I have one tiny mini warehouse of stuff to get rid of... I will sell that by the time I move in April. Its still a hassle, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel at least.
From here on, until I settle somewhere, I am going to own 2 pair of pants, 4 shirts, 4 pair of sox, 2 pair of shoes, electric tooth brush, two net book computers, chargers and spare batteries some engineering reference charts...a bunch of flash drives. and water heater Andy style. It should all fit in a carry on roll around pack pack, cargo pants and cargo parka.
I bought a high quality speaking translator Franklin's eb 2170, gets good reviews for its live person voice function. I am going to practice with that till I leave for quatemala in April, then find a private spanish teacher, and spend 3 months there before I decide to travel.... or stay a while, planning on retirement options.
I could use some advice on the expat retirement scene, especially when I am too old or too nutz to travel easily... that might be less than 10 years away if I am not careful.
whats left of social security as it devalues should handle that in my last days... I suppose I could have SS send the money to a local bank, open a trust account to pay for my care as i sip my last pina colada... I am noticing already at age 71 that I am getting easy to take advantage of. I trust people, especially the younger generation.. I assume they are mature... ha....that seems to be big mistake, even if they are reasonably decent people.
Personally, I thought you packing list, especially the number of briefs, was extravagant when compared to other travelers. Lightening the load means fewer back problems.
I see you guys are avoiding the back packs with wheels... too much of a size and weight penalty?
Personally, i use the luggage with wheels.
Over the years, i originally started with a backpack. Then after a few years, i realised that it's just a vanity thing, lugging a backpack around, for people who want to not assoicate themselves as a usual traveler, but want to be seen as an adventurer, as someone different.
It's not how you take it, it's how you travel that counts.
So, i ditched the backpack and gave my back and neck a long deserved break.
Now, i have a case on 4 wheels, and wow, what a breeze it is to travel with.
Highly reccomended for those who don't have a burning ego of the "real travelers use backpacks" type.
I know i'm not hiking up any mountains, so why dress myself like i am?
Airline luggage fees are a real bind of travel.
I too have noticed over the 10 years of travel that airfares have risen out of proportion and luggage allowances have reduced.
But, travel now is different to 10 years ago, we have to move with the times.
Also, i don't blame the airlines totally....oil prices have risen so much, security needs to be much tighter at airports, cost of living in most countries has spiralled out of control...all of this results in flight prices and luggage prices having to rise.
Personally, i prefer to have people pay extra for their luggage, especially their excess luggage.
I'm a true believer of why pay for something if you are not going to use it...or rather, why should i pay for someone elses excess in luggage.
Plain and simple, i shouldn't pay for it, i should be rewarded with low costs if i travel light and those that travel with lots of useless and pointless luggage should pay for their stupidity.
Airlines = hotels you get what you pay for.
If you want the convinience of not being the buffoon who needs to pay excess at the airport, you need to pay a higher flight price...else, we would all be paying higher flight prices for no reason at all!
International flight travel has changed drastically over the past few years.
From the way you book, to the way you pack, to the way you pay.
My favourite airline is LAN.
I believe the best value airline has to be Air Asia.
In europe, it has to be good old Ryan air or Easyjet....if you book in advance and, once again, travel light.