“final” bag and gear list

my bag, but not me and not my image. #justsayin


Tom Bihn Synapse 26 ( shown, left )

Yes, it really is that small. If you pack well and choose the right gear, it all just kind of fits. I spent more than a little time figuring out what I needed, and parting with what I didn’t. The effort paid off. I think this is the final, traveling list.

The rest of my list follows, below.


  • Buffalo Jeans. Couldn’t leave ‘em behind. Could not.
  • White t-shirt, 50% cotton ( evil, I know ) and 50% tenson
  • Black t-shirt, 100% merino wool
  • Wool & Prince button down, 100% merino
  • base layer –  black long sleeve and long legged, 100% merino
  • Lounge pants ( because yes ), 100% cotton
  • Coffee-colored wool jeans – 100% merino
  • Khaki shorts, 100% merino
  • Khaki shorts, 95% nylon, 5% spandex ( double as swim trunks )
  • Hoodie, 100% merino ( always worn, never in the bag )
  • MH Zerogrand shell, some NASA material that packs down to the size of a Ritz cracker
  • Buff, 100% merino
  • Shemagh, not sure what it’s made of
  • Smartwool phd mini socks X2 pair
  • Smart wool tall thin socks 1pair
  • Ra II Vivobarefoot shoes, coffee colored ( they look like normal shoes )
  • Baseball hat – NASA

Computer & associated gear

  • Macbook, BookBook case, cords
  • iPad pro, BookBook case, cord
  • unlocked iPhone, cord
  • Satechi hub ( to plug stuff into the Mac )
  • USBc to USB-a extender ( tiny )
  • Encrypted jump drive – 250Gb
  • Normal jump drive – 64Gb
  • TripMate Elite battery/wifi source ( battery and hotspot for sharing )
  • Jawbone Minijambox ( speaker for tunes )
  • US plug small block splitter
  • Bose sound cancelling headphones
  • Apple earbuds and case
  • Audio plug splitter, small cord
  • Micro USB


  • Tom Bihn clear toiletry bag
  • 3oz Doc Bronners, peppermint ( laundry, whatevs )
  • 3oz 30spf sunscreen
  • travel size Old Spice stick
  • AA battery powered trip toothbrush, with cover
  • hair goop
  • tiny nail clippers
  • tiny tweezers
  • Dollar shave razor n extra blades

Miscellaneous gear

  • 20L dry bag – for doing laundry
  • Tom Bihn gear bag ( small )
  • Master combo lock
  • “large” travel towel
  • Two pens
  • Mini flashlight
  • Akribos analog watch
  • Carabiner / jump drive
  • small whistle
  • fresnel lens
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Bandana
  • Water bottle, just one saved

ID n documents

  • Eagle Creek belt-loop passport holder
  • Passport
  • Passport card ( in case I lose the passport, this cad make it way easier to get another )
  • Swiss Gear clip wallet ( small, worn inside the waistline with the clip outside )
  • Bank cards
  • Insurance cards
  • birth certificate
  • SS card
  • Immunization card
  • Eyewear prescription card
  • Pac Safe money belt ( empty )

Detailed later/elsewhere…

  • medical kit ( small, bike-sized )
  • software ( VPN, cloud storage, movies )
  • insurance

what about nomad clothes?


I’m not talking style, but rather, fabric.

So you’re wandering the earth in all sorts of different climates, and you want to travel with just one bag. A carry on. What kind of clothes do you bring?

the general answers is – as few as possible. Sturdy, stylish, adaptable. Ideally something that keeps you cool in hot temps, warm in cold temps. Something that doesn’t stop working when it gets wet, is a breeze to clean, and wicks sweat away from your body.

As extra credit, it’d be great if it could go a while between washings without smelling at all, and then when you did wash it, it cleaned up easily and dried very fast.

Such a fabric exists – it’s called merino wool. And they make a ton of things out of it. Button-down dress shirts with collars, tshirts, socks, underwear, even shorts and pants.

Clothes made out of merino wool are spendy, to be sure. A tshirt can be $90 USD. But the shirt behaves as above, and you could live with just two of them, one if you could go without while it dried.

Undies and socks made from the stuff are expedition-class garments. If you selected wisely you could have almost every traveler’s fashion need accounted for in just a few basic items, mixed and matched. My fav item so far – my merino wool hoodie. I can’t tell you how perfect it is in the chill or airplanes, or Denver. Or Chicago.

If this is your first hearing about this super-fine wool, you might be thinking of old wool sweaters or socks. perfectly fine outer garments but itchy and not appropriate to wear next to skin. This is simply not true; merino wool is some of the finest and softest fabric you’ll ever wear.

All of the above qualities make it the go-to fabric for long-term travelers. I also have kind things to say about bamboo fibers and hemp clothing as well, but merino wool clothing is in my own experience amazing all around.

long term travel – “How do you afford it?”


Right after “Where are you going to go?” this is definitely the most common question we’re asked. There is definitely a strong idea that to travel long term, to leave it all behind and hit the road with a mobile lifestyle, you need a ton of money.

I guess that might be true, if you were taking a 52-week vacation. Can you imagine that? Leaving regular life behind just like you do for vacation but instead of 2 weeks of hotels, ferries, rentals, eating out all the time, sightseeing tours, and scam cab rides… what if you did that for 52 weeks? Ha!

That’d cost a fortune. We’re definitely not doing that.

We’re not staying in hotels. Well, maybe once in a while we’ll break down and spring for one; air conditioning at just the right time can feel like a little bit of heaven. But really, as a rule, no hotels.

So then people who haven’t done long-term travel are wondering – where do you stay?

You could camp, which we’re not doing. Our travel plan is pretty loose, to give us some flexibility in where we go so we can stay where we want, leave when we don’t, and adjust while we’re in motion. This means we haven’t made a lot of ( really, any ) solid plans for where we’re staying before we get there. Sounds like madness, I know. But there’s a way to do this.

We get to an area we want to say in, say Galway Ireland. On the recommendation of friends and social media, we find a hostel for those first few days. This isn’t icky; there are plenty of non-stabby hostels that are clean and great to stay at, and we find one of those. If we’re staying more than a few days, that means we’re staying 2-3 weeks, so we use those couple days to find a place on AirBnB. A place there for that amount of time isn’t expensive; you could pay a lot, but you definitely don’t have to. $300 for 2 weeks? Sounds great.

So, not going at the where-you’re-staying thing like you’re on vacation helps. Like, a lot. You can follow that thinking pretty far – cook some meals, make some lunches. Almost all of the places we’re going are not laid out like big American cities; you can walk to a market, walk to your place, walk or public transport anywhere. So this also saves on gas.

You make up your mind to do walking tours, take pictures, and be smart about what you pay for, you can not only save a lot of money, but your cost of living – what you pay out day to day for just existing in our world – goes down.

You also save money. Just like for the vacation, but maybe more so. You go out to eat less. You have no-spend-Saturdays. You watch Netflix instead of renting something that streams. You have to be at least kind of serious about this, and you have to be consistent. If you’re in the 98% and can’t put money aside somehow, long term traveling is not going to be a viable option for you.

You also stop paying for things that are normal at home. Phone service. Car insurance. Health insurance. The list goes on and on…  but there are plenty of things you don’t need to pay on when you’re not going to be home for a year. This also adds up.

A third serious way to make your money go further is to travel where your money works very hard. You could go to Stockholm, Tokyo, or Tahiti…  but why not think about going to Prague, Hanoi, or Nicaragua? In these places, a world-class meal can be had for $10 US or less. Your money goes a long way, and the surfing in Nicaragua is at least as sweet as it is in Tahiti.

It all adds up

It’s work. Before you travel, you need to figure it out. But saving, adjusting what you’re paying for, learning to be happy without spending as much, and going to places where your money goes much further all make long term world travel possible for most of us. If you can do remote work during this period…  so much the better.



aloha, world

Traditionally, the first program a developer learns  is one that displays the text “Hello World!” Bloggers have a similar thing going on; the first post is titled this way, given a default picture.

I’ve blogged before, but this is Kim’s first widespread exposure to writing for the masses. He first view of social media publishing, thought leadership, and developing a voice for an audience here online.

Aloha, world.   (^_^



A new perspective can do wonders