Travel Light: Travis Goes to NZ

Dedicated to Travis

So you want advice on how to travel light. The primary tip I picked up at the REI presentation was actually unspoken—visit someplace warm so you can wear nylon zip-off pants and tank tops. It looks like you’ll have to reroute your ticket from New Zealand to the Sahara. Cool.

You say you want to travel light but not be a dirt bag like me. Well that will take some planning. But I want you to know that I did throw in extra socks and underwear on our last road trip (even used one of them).

Travis, you seem to be a cotton guy rather than a man of the synthetic cloth. This will weigh you down and take up space, but I think you can work around this flaw by playing to your strengths—color coordination and gearlessness. I have instructed your friends to pack for you—3 pink shirts, 1 bright green sweater, 1 black pair of black Korean hiking pants, and 1 pair of jeans or casual khakis. They’ll also be replacing your bike with a crate of rocks (Folgers style). You may also pack a jacket and your gloves, 3 books (journal, guide book, Bible), but no underwear, socks, or a towel—just spend a few bucks to buy them there and donate them to a homeless person at the end of your stay.

The pounds that the box of rocks will save as compared to taking your ride can be offset with items such as basic toiletries, an MP3 player, multiple pictures of us, and a calling card.

Find a thrift store when you have a base camp; get a sweatshirt and an old knit hat to keep you warm and help you blend in. You don’t want to be pegged as a tourist everywhere you go (the shame). Complain about American travelers as often as possible, even when you’re walking alone. You’ll need to lose your accent to really pull this off, or learn sign language (just not American Sign Language).

Your camera is the tough issue. That and the laptop. I vote no on the computer and yes on the camera. NEVER use those disposable cameras. You’ll not only look cheap and have terrible pictures (believe me, I know about both; I’ve been using them for years), you’ll also ruin the environment. And I hear Al Gore will be vacationing on the islands this year. His daughter will never go for you if she sees you stealing the environment from her grandchildren. You won’t want a digital SLR for this trip. Your current machinery will do fine. Try to keep your hats on straight for future modeling jobs.

You will still need your wing-tips and silk tie for church. I’m not sure if they have Men’s Wearhouse or not, so you might need to stop in Paris en route. Tough call.

Night life. This presents the biggest challenge to packing light. Bottles of cologne, hair gel, mouth wash and body glitter. Rolls of cash. Stacks of mirrors. You might have to trash the whole discotheque jive and take up a TV addiction. A plasma widescreen will be lighter and pack more easily than all that goop. Meditate on this.

Are you planning to use your Timbuk2 bag as your carry-on and day bag on the island? Good idea.

Security. While not relating to weight, it is important nonetheless. Trust no one. Not even the homeless person you leave your skivvies with. Tip: Have the airline attendant sample the apple juice before you take it. She may be slipping you some sleeping pills. You’ll wake up on a foreign tarmac in a tub of ice with a killer ache in your thorax and a note that reads, “By the time you regain consciousness, your pancreas will have been sold on the Moroccan black market.” Trust me, I know.

Avoiding the native night life as mentioned previously will also prevent this same scene from happening in the local pub. Protect the pancreas at all costs. You have been warned.

Food. You will need to eat at some point while you’re in New Zealand regardless of whether you’re there for one month or six. In addition to trusting no one, you’ll also want to trust nothing. That fork could be coated with MBACC (Malevolent Brain Altering Chemical Compounds). That glass could be ringed with PECC (Pancreas Evicting Chemical Compounds). That toilet seat could be covered with $#!* (Some Horrible Intestinal Thing).

Health. Eat lots of garlic. A Google search was unable to find statistics relating to the estimated number of vampires on the islands, which leads me to believe they may have already gotten everyone. I smell a Transylvanticular cover-up conspiracy. Regular garlic should not only keep your immune system firing on all blanks, whatever, but you’ll also keep your hemoglobin on the inside. Not much you can do about a zombie apocalypse. Sorry dude.

Brush. Floss. Wash. Wipe. Shower. Pick. Scratch. Privately. Disinfect everything. Disinfect everyone.

I think that about covers it (a travel sheet is optional). Follow my travel-savvy ways, and you’ll be smellin’, lookin’, eatin’, and partyin’ fine.

Don’t adopt a child or incessantly recite Hobbit lines. Both stopped being cool last year. “My precious. My precious.” Yeah, not even a little cool. However, one travel website did say that it is polite to refer to all strangers as Bilbo. Give that a go.

Okay, be sure to tell me all about it when you’re finished. Hope you find yourself so you can settle down, get a cubicle job, get married, and finance a second mortgage to pay for the triplet’s higher education.

This rant has been sponsored by the good folks at One Bag.



  1. Wow!! That was awesome. Thanks. I’ve been patiently waiting. I’m looking forward to the pink shirts!! whatever.No really thanks. Yeah I’m having to narrow a lot of stuff down. My friend that hiked the AT did show me this: Can stove. Rock on.I’m taking the camera, ditching the computer, dissasembling the bike so that I can fit it in the smallest possible box, buying socks and undies there, and going to try to limit the clothes.good stuff. Thanks jeff.

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