Backpacking Tips: What to pack

Apparently this is the only picture I took of my pack

Planning on traveling abroad and not sure what to pack?  I did a 30-day-16-cities backpackathon and here’s what I recommend:


This set of items will keep you prepared while keeping the weight down and even saving a little room for knickknacks bought along the way.  The liquids/gels listed will fit into a TSA-regulation-sized plastic bag so you can walk right onto a plane with your pack.

The key is to find as many multi-purpose items as you can, for example solid shampoo can be used to clean your hair, body, and clothes.  A bandana can be used to keep sweat off your face, blow your nose, temporarily cover a wound, or dry off after a shower if you can’t fit a hand towel in your pack.  Nail clippers can clip your nails, thread, zipties, and bags you just can’t get open.

A good rule when trying to decide what to pack and what not to pack is if you haven’t used it in at least the last week, if not the last couple days, you really don’t need it.  If you find yourself abroad and without some absolute necessity, it’s okay, you can always buy whatever it is when you’re there (people live there, too, you know).

Fellow nomads, did I miss anything really important?

Took a trip to Goa with 30 of my closest friends

I went to Goa for a few days with some friends from college. It’s an awesome place if you like hanging out on beaches, cheap shopping, riding motorcycles, and clicking pictures. Oh, and you can get a King’s beer for the equivalent of about fifty cents. Plz enjoy some snaps I took with my manual Pentax :D

I also set up a Flickr account because I’m really into conforming.

A cool video I made and a short update

Some of you have already seen this, video but I’m posting it anyways. I’m studying abroad in India right now and the program I’m here with wanted me to write a REALLY long big post for them about my impressions pre and post coming to Mumbai, but I thought a cool video would be more fun.  If I have time, I’d like to make some more videos while I’m here.  I’ll let you know if I do  8)


And now for the short update:

I just finished all of my courses and exams and decided to stay in India until Christmas.  I got a really sweet internship with a film and television production company, and I’ve been unsuccessfully hunting for an apartment.  It’s nearly impossible to find listings without posting a broker, subletting does not exist here, and convincing someone to give you an apartment for two months is basically a waste of time, but I’m still trying.  Wish me luck!

Also, I’m going to get better about posting now. I promise.  ;)

Just in case you forget how to count to 13 in Hindi

I got you covered.

1 – ek 8 – aath
2 – do 9 – nau
3 – teen 10 – dus
4 – chaar 11 – gyaarah
5 – paanch 12 – baarah
6 – chah 13 – terah
7 – saat  

This actually happened to me today

I was just minding my own business, strolling through an empty plaza and ignoring some dumb boy, when suddenly hundreds of people dressed in matching outfits popped up out of nowhere and started dancing in unison and singing about the dumb boy and me. Men playing instruments flooded in from nearby homes, women decked out in lavishly decorated sarees twirled in from the streets, and I couldn’t help but join in and have a few awkwardly long I-love-you-but-I-shouldn’t-but-I-have-to-but-I-can’t moments with the dumb boy.

It happens more often than you think. Proof:

But in all seriousness, this dance is called Garba. It originated in the state of Gujarat, and is most widely performed during a festival called Navratri, which is right around the corner. Navratri is a nine-night/ten-day festival in which people dance to Garbas and another one, involving sticks, whose name escapes me. I was told that these dances used to go until like 5am, which is a bfd in Indian culture. The dances are meant to worship the mother goddess, and people get REALLY into them (i.e. the energetic bunch in the clip above).

I had a dance lesson today so I could learn some of the moves in preparation for the festival. Let’s just say my teacher was pretty impressed with my natural talent and I’m thinking about going pro.