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Thread: 12 Months Around the World in a Smart Alec

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    12 Months Around the World in a Smart Alec

    I left on this trip in September and only just recently found out about these forums. So, here is a link to my gear list: Gear List - 12 Month Round the World Trip

    After being on the road a little over 4 months the pack has been amazing, with only a flaws that I can definitely live with.

    Will answer any and all questions if you have em

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    Wow and wow again! i have read many folks on this forum who pack really light and travel all over. I really enjoyed browsing thru your pages....I hope you will share more stories and pictures. Some questions:
    1. did you not need a transformer of any sort --for 110V to 22ov for laptop etc?
    2. the griffin cables are short. really short. did you use them to charge from laptop then? I can't see how to do it from a wall outlet? Sorry for being daft. I assume you had a charger?
    3. what did not work for you with the Smart Alec?

    and how did you travel? I wish I could take off and travel---my work is at a University and I always seem stuck!

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    and one more question: how did the large organizer pouch fit in the side pocket? I would not have thought that possible. I could see a Medium fitting there without folding up. thanks

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    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Very inspirational, thanks for sharing! I love the part about how you have what you need, just not much of it, and how other travelers wish they brought less. Since I found TB I strive to travel with less, and for the most part do, especially compared to before, but being challenged to go with even less is a good exercise. Thank you for also reviewing the clothing. I am tempted to try some icebreaker clothing and significantly pare down my wardrobe even though I am not traveling all of the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva View Post
    Wow and wow again! i have read many folks on this forum who pack really light and travel all over. I really enjoyed browsing thru your pages....I hope you will share more stories and pictures. Some questions:
    1. did you not need a transformer of any sort --for 110V to 22ov for laptop etc?
    2. the griffin cables are short. really short. did you use them to charge from laptop then? I can't see how to do it from a wall outlet? Sorry for being daft. I assume you had a charger?
    3. what did not work for you with the Smart Alec?

    and how did you travel? I wish I could take off and travel---my work is at a University and I always seem stuck!
    1. I don't need a transformer as both my laptop adapter and USB power outlet are multi-voltage adapters and can handle 100-240V. Most adapters these days are mult-voltage but if you're unsure just check the small writing on the adapter and it should list what it's capable of.

    2. I have a separate laptop adapter that is around 5 feet long for charging my laptop. The Griffin cables are used for charging my iPhone, Kindle and Kodak handheld camera, they are short so I will either connect them to my laptop on a desk to charge or just let them hang freely from the wall socket.

    3. I've had 3 minor issues with the bag. The first is having two zipper cords (don't know what these are called but they are what you hold on to when zipping and unzipping) break. I was able to re-attach one with no problem but lost the other one as I was in transit while it happened. Not the end of the world and the backpack is still functional. The second issue is one of odor. I've noticed that the length of strap that sits right in my armpit has become quite funky, right now I just clean it with soap when I have time and put some gold bond powder on it to prevent odor but it would be awesome if Tom Bihn figured out a way to incorporate odor guard into their straps. The third is one of breathability, there's just no good airflow built in for the back so after a decent walk my back and bag will be significantly moist. As I said, these three issues are minor for me, personally, but just something I noticed.

    4. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by the question: how did you travel? So I'll answer it the best I can. You said that you wish that you could take time off and travel and that your work is at a University, which you always seem stuck. For me, I just re-framed work for myself and realized that there will ALWAYS be a job somewhere that I can do to make money, but time, I will never have that again. I'd rather travel now when I'm young and fit and work when I'm older rather than work in my youth and then travel when I'm retired where health may be a factor in what I can do.

    So, I saved up the money and airline miles that I needed and then quit my jobs, sold all my possessions for some extra cash (and so that I didn't have to pay to store stuff anywhere) and hit the road. It has been one of the greater decisions I have ever made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva View Post
    and one more question: how did the large organizer pouch fit in the side pocket? I would not have thought that possible. I could see a Medium fitting there without folding up. thanks
    Ahhh, that is definitely a typo so thank you for pointing it out and I will update the blog post ASAP. But to be clear, I have two SMALL organizer pouches (not medium), the padded one holds my HDD and the clear one hold my chargers (excluding the laptop charger). And then I have a MEDIUM (not large) clear organizer pouch that I use to hold documents like passport copies.

    Sorry for the confusion and again, thank you for pointing that out

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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddanzeis View Post
    I'd rather travel now when I'm young and fit and work when I'm older rather than work in my youth and then travel when I'm retired where health may be a factor in what I can do.
    Though regret is a wasted emotion, I wish I'd hand the gumption to have done something similar when I was young and able-bodied. I kept trying to keep up with the rat race and trying to get ahead. Maybe it was just as well I did - having small children now would have been a nightmare with my issues and with a wife with MS - but still, I'm sure one year out wouldn't have hurt!
    bvp663 likes this.

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    Most of my travel these days is business related, and so I'm rarely at leisure to do any exploring. I live vicariously through others who break the chains and get away, whether it's for a month or a year. I'll be following your travels. Thanks for sharing your packing list. Kudos to you for keeping it all under 26 litres. The one item that caught my eye was the Icebreaker Men's Distance Short:

    "I use these as pajamas, workout shorts and as a swimsuit (they have internet) which is great on laundry day so I can wash all my undies. Unfortunately, they don’t have pockets."

    Typo made me chuckle. One of these days we'll have internet connectivity built into clothing, but I'd rather keep it further away from my privates.
    Enlightened traveller since 2009

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    Thank you for the quick and thoughtful response.
    1. Yes: I wish I could have done this when I was younger too. It is funny, isn't it? Most people are wired to think they will travel when older and retired, and there are so many other challenges then! I could not travel younger cos I was not a US citizen, and I was very restricted in what I could or could not do!
    2. Yes: laptop adapter is dual voltage. But how do I check for the USB outlet? I have the one that Apple gives us with phones and so on; and a Griffin dual USB one.
    3. I am really tempted by the Griffin adapters...much easier to carry them than the tangly ones!

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    If the Griffin adapters seem like a good idea to you but just a little too minimal, there are also these cables from Incase that are similar but just a little longer and more flexible. I have the Griffin ones but wish I had these instead.

    USB Mini Cable Kit for iPod, iPad and iPhone by Incase

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    Hi rory:
    The griffin ones say they are 7 inches long? can you let me know if you have them both?

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    I do not have them both, just the Griffins. They definitely are not 7" long. This says 4" if you click "Features & Specs"

    USB Mini Cable Kit - Black | Griffin Technology

    I thought the Incase ones were longer but it looks like they are 4" too, so I guess the only difference is that the Incase ones look more flexible. The Griffin ones are bendy but kind of stiff and won't twist, which makes it a awkard to try to hang your phone off a low outlet or plug into a powerstrip or something.

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    Thank you Rory. Yes: I was wondering how to attach if all I had was an outlet. And I can't see hanging a kindle off of it without support; or an Ipad for that matter. A phone might be ok.
    @ddanzels: did you have any trouble letting them hang off of a wall socket? (since you seem to have done that)
    Thanks much

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    You are right, it works for a phone but not much else. Depending on your surroundings and the outlet height, you may be able to prop up an ipad or kindle with a bag, box, table, etc.

    Another idea I've heard is to carry mini cables and then also carry a 2ft USB extension cord to give more flexibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva View Post
    Thank you Rory. Yes: I was wondering how to attach if all I had was an outlet. And I can't see hanging a kindle off of it without support; or an Ipad for that matter. A phone might be ok.
    @ddanzels: did you have any trouble letting them hang off of a wall socket? (since you seem to have done that)
    Thanks much
    My answer is pretty much the same as Rory's...I will add in that in my experience I haven't had any problems with the griffin cables. The iPhone can be charged while hanging, which is good if you're in transit and you just need some quick juice. I think an iPad would be ok with shorter outlet heights as it would be able to touch the ground. The only one of my devices that I don't hang (but I haven't actually tried) to charge is my Kindle. When I need to charge it I will usually just hook it up to my computer while I'm using it or like Rory also points out, use an extension cord and then lay the bigger device on the ground. I don't actually have an extension cord but have just run across them (and powerstrips) in the places I've been staying and just taken advantage of them while they are there.

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