Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Things He Carried

This is a first-draft inventory for the trip. I am largely limited by the Ryanair 15 kg (about 33 lbs) weight limit on checked baggage.

-Israeli Defense Force travel bag. Good sturdy black canvas that can be carried by straps like a duffel bag or slung on the back like a satchel.
-Canvas paratrooper bag. A versatile shoulder bag that will be ideal for just hoofing around the city and as a carry-on for planes. Thanks to Elizabeth Gager for driving me and my brother out to the Army-Navy store in Bethesda for these two items.
-Passport holder/document organizer. Ideal for keeping all my important papers from getting wet or crumbled.
-Old pair of steel-toed work boots. These are strictly for farm work. I might end up leaving them on the farm in Ireland, mostly because their weight makes them inconvenient to haul around.
-Sketchers Limited Edition. I got these shoes a few years back and they've been reliable friends ever since. They're lightweight slip-ons with a classy leather exterior and a sneaker-like rubber sole. They're an ideal fusion of style and functionality, and they don't scream "AMERICAN CHUMP: PLEASE MUG ME."
-Flip-flops. Eliminates the need for socks and provides style and comfort in warmer weather.
-I'm still wavering about exact choices here and of course I'll be limited by what I can cram into the bag. I'm planning on the maxim that each article should be multifunctional since I will encounter a number of different weathers, climates and work conditions. For example, t-shirts and polos can be worn solo or in combination with a sweater vest and a long sleeved shirt for extra warmth. Pants will probably include two pairs of stylish jeans, a pair of work jeans, one pair of shorts, and a pair of pajama pants that I can wear under jeans if things get really cold. I will probably get a lightweight North Face rain parka.
Personal Care
-Toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, contact case, replacement contacts (I use Acuvue 2s that last 2-3 weeks), glasses with case, body wash, shampoo, razor, shaving cream (no need to look like a dirty hippie), sunscreen, deodorant, vitamins (at my mom's insistence), pepto bismol, antihistamine, neosporin, band aids.
-Camera with extra batteries.
-Books. Something hefty like Dostoevsky.
-Tin Whistle. Maybe I'll earn some brownie points from the Irish by proving a basic knowledge of Celtic music. We'll see.
-Leather-bound journal. For taking notes

Noticeably absent is a laptop. After much consternation, I decided to cut my technological umbilical cord. I have many reasons, notably weight concerns (my Compaq could be used to bludgeon a baby seal), risk of theft, and increased hipster-cred. This is mildly liberating, but also damn frightening. My laptop is like a best friend who I don't have to talk to and a dog I don't have to feed. What will life be like without checking my facebook multiple times per day?
You, my reader, are probably asking yourself "how will we get blog updates if he has no computer?" Well, I'll have computer access at the farm and I'll be using internet cafes the rest of the time. I plan on writing my thoughts down in longhand in the paper journal and later transcribing into type. So I'm not totally weaning myself off technology, just making a reasonable sacrifice.

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