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Bag Packed 2

September 8, 2012

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Way back in April, I wrote a post called “Bag Packed,” in which I went through the contents of my bag early in the trip. At the time I took those pictures, I was on Tioman Island, only the second stop of the trip. At that point, I was carrying everything with me that I brought from America and Korea other than an iPad stylus and a pen that I had already lost. I may have even been carrying clean clothes that had yet to be washed on the road.

Much has changed in the last 150 days or so. Plenty of things have been lost, trashed, sent off, and acquired since early April. It’s safe to assume that my current bag is a little smarter and a whole lot lighter.

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My shirts on my last day in Hanoi. I bought two more that day, but one of them ripped the first time I ever wore it. Of my original shirts, I think I trashed 3, lost one, and sent one back to Korea. I also bought three as gifts and no longer have them, bought one that I lost, and bought four in this pic that I still have.

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All of my pants. The gym shorts and board shorts have been with me all along, the cargos are the third pair I’ve had. I sent all my long pants back to Korea since I never wear them. I figure after not working for six months, there is really no longer any reason to own a pair of long pants. I also took a picture of my two pairs of socks, my two quick-dry towels, and my draws, but I decided not to post it since I own a rather embarrassing lack of draws.

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This bag o’ stuff mainly stayed sealed in the bottom of my bag for the latter portion of my trip, since it’s mostly stuff I just use at the beach.

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The stuff in that bag, plus my jungle hat. Both hats are, as expected, in far worse condition than they were in my original post. My jacket sleeves are here, which I only used in Dalat, Kalaw, and the Cameron Highlands. I used the inflatable cushion on the beach quite a bit. In fact, the cushion combined with my yellow quick-dry towel and my daypack made for a decent impromptu beach lounge so that I could avoid carrying a large beach towel or paying to rent a chair. This was really useful in May when I was at the beach pretty much every day, but I probably should have thrown it away after I left Ko Samet because I only spent five or six more days at the beach over the following three months. The trekking pillowcase was really only useful on overnight plane rides with my own row, and most of the time I forgot to use it and just used my jacket as a pillow.

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My awesome travel vest (thanks Mom!) and the stuff currently in it. As the trip progressed, I realized it was simply too hot to wear this bad boy while walking along the beach in Ko Samui or the back alleys of Yangon, so I took to just wearing it when I was on the bus/train/boat/plane to the next town. Thus, when I was “situated” somewhere (Hanoi in this case) the vest was pretty empty. Here I just had a wet nap, my backup sunglasses, my student ID and license, my camera bag, and my smaller sunscreen. The deeper pockets also contained camera SD cards and a flash drive. By this point, I hadn’t used the headphone system in months since it was, again, too hot to wear this puppy day to day.

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Here’s the stuff that I usually carried around in my day bag (visible in the opening picture). In this case, I’ve got sun screen, bug spray, my iPad, a Vietnam Lonely Planet that I bought on the street in Phnom Penh, the book that I’m currently reading (at 950 pages, “Lonesome Dove” will hold that role for the foreseeable future,) my wallet, my primary sunglasses, a map of Vietnam, my carabiner key chain, and my headphones. I went through tons of headphones on this trip, but I’ve had these since Chiang Rai in early July. I think these were better because I finally realized I shouldn’t buy the cheapest pair anymore. Thus in Chiang Rai I wised up and bought the second-cheapest kind. I also have my ghetto phone, which I bought in Trang back in April. I’ve purchased SIM cards in several countries since, and I threw away my ghetto Korean phone when I bought this. I also bought the switchblade in Trang, but gave it away to the taxi driver who took me to the airport in Hanoi. Fortunately, the only person I stabbed in the four months I had it was myself by mistake. Finally, my horrible rain poncho is here, which has certainly seen better days.

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Souvenirs from Myanmar, which turned out to be the only place that I ended up buying souvenirs for myself other than useful things like t-shirts or sunglasses. By the way, maybe the most amazing statistic of this trip is the fact that I only lost or broke three pairs of shades the whole time.

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Stuff that lives in the easily accessible side pouches of my big bag. My bluetooth keyboard, my bluetooth speakers, emergency TP, and chargers for my phone and camera. My iPad charger was in use so it wasn’t pictured, but I’m sure you could envision it. I also have my external hard drive, which my buddy Martin brought from Korea, just in case I end up buying a new laptop before returning there. The white thing connects my camera card to my iPad so I can load pictures directly to it. That little piece of metal and plastic that I bought in a dirt mall in Phuket has been absolutely crucial to this blog since I lost my iPhone back in Ko Phi Phi.

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The stuff in the belt strap pouches of my bag. Coins from countries where I am not, and my traveling Buddha figure that I’ve carried on the road for the last decade or so.

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Stuff bags, making the packing process easier.

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The contents of my main stuff bag. I traded a book to Kris for the Twain, though I doubt I’ll ever actually read it. I bought the “tubing” dry bag in Vang Vieng, and it’s been pretty useful on kayak trips since. Never did use the beer coozy, prolly could have left it behind. Maps of southern Thailand that I forgot to throw away in southern Thailand, so I guess they are souvenirs now. I only used the headlamp a few times, but it was well worth having for those times. I never did use the sleeping mask though, it was buried in my bag any time it may have been useful. The earplugs came in handy in my noisy Khao San Road room, and on overnight buses. I got guilted into buying the postcards from a kid in Yangon, before I got hardened toward beggars. Other semi-useful things in this, my traveling junk drawer, include electrical tape, a key chain, a lighter, trinkets, SIM cards, a lens cleaner, and good old Carmex.

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The electrics in my Crown Royal stuff bag. Adaptors, cords, and my Wibro Egg portable wifi device, useful only in Korea but too cool to ditch.

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The “backbone” of the trip isn’t so valuable these days. Credit cards and maybe 40 bucks in cash. My passport usually lives here too, but in Vietnam hotels hang on to them at reception.

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Toiletry bag. I ran out of deodorant in Vientiane, Laos and the only kind they sold in the store I visited there was Axe. Yep, Axe in Laos. The douchebags have truly won. And yes, I’m a bit upset that the best joke of this post is so deep in that nobody will actually read it.

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My shoes. That’s it. That’s all the shoes I got. I sent my hiking boots off with Kris and Martin, and I lost my flip-flops in a blurry incident on Ko Phi Phi that may or may not have involved buckets.

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Finally, we end with the silent narrator of this blog since Chiang Mai. Camera Number Six is far superior to its predecessors, despite its stupid color.

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