This weekend marks one month since our departure from the familiarity, comfort, and monotony of our workaday lives in the United States. Along the way we have made countless plans only to break them or have them broken by external forces beyond our control. In the “final” version of our original conception of this journey, we thought we would likely be in Spain by mid-March. Instead we find ourselves already about to depart from Catalonia, on the far northeastern edge of the Spanish state, for Italy. We were “supposed” to be stationary for longer periods of time, doing work-exchanges, paying for little, and gaining as deep an insight into each location as possible. Instead we’ve found ourselves opting for shorter stays and crossing vast expanses of territory (some 3,000 kilometers) and spending far more money than we had intended.
The day before we left for Europe, we had planned on taking photographs of all our gear in order to provide a window into our expectations and respective preparedness. Looking back over the last month, we can see so many ways in which we had the wrong idea, or came overprepared in some cases and underprepared in others. In some cases, as with the headlamp, there was an argument as to whether or not we even needed an object in the first place. Our little escapade in rural Portugal settled that one. With the first month anniversary of our irresponsible adventure upon us, we thought it a good idea to jump back to what would have been our first post. Now, it would probably be super boring to list every item and explain its purpose (I brought socks to put on my feet!) but some of what’s pictured might bring a question to your mind as you glance over the photos. If you want to know something, please feel free to ask us in the comments.
NATHAN: When packing for any trip I’ve always had two rules: Plan on getting arrested and plan on getting robbed. What I mean is don’t bring anything you’ll mind losing and don’t bring anything that will warrant any unwanted attention from the police.
I had to repack my bag several times before we left because I kept thinking I would have to toss it off a moving train at some point. The only fragile device I was going to bring was an iPhone, but as Jason and I talked more about the trip it was clear that this was a different kind of adventure and one that would require the proper tools in which to document it.
The only “good luck” token I brought is the last scrap of an old jack’o’lantern t-shirt that has been with me on every trip. Each adventure, the shirt would become more ragged until it was unwearable. I cut the neckband out, wrapped it around my wrist, and brought it with me for our fourth adventure together.
JASON: I supposed that I have traveled a fair amount in my 30 years. Between playing in a band, working jobs which required or permitted travel, and the habit of taking road trips to attend events, I have seen a fair amount of the continental US over and over again. Growing up in South Texas gave me the opportunity to get to Mexico easily. I also once took a trip to Venezuela as a student. Unlike Nathan, my travel experience has not been too incredibly harrowing. I have long since grown accustomed to the hospitality of strangers and making good friends along the way. It’s not that I’m blissfully unaware of the potential for danger on the road. It’s just that Nathan has had to confront it head on, over and over again.
Packing was fairly easy for me for two reasons. The first was that I had some idea of what it takes to travel lightly and effectively. The other was that Nathan had made a very thorough list of travel must-haves, many of which I never would have thought to bring. I had several good luck charms bestowed upon me by loved ones. Considering how terrible things could have gone in so many cases already, I’d say our luck is holding like chewing gum on Cliff Secord’s rocketpack. I say this despite having lost the only book that I brought.
Coming Soon: 2 Weeks Working In Igualada, Our 3rd Trip to Barcelona, and Something About Catalan Nationalism (working title).