Asher Leiss is a good friend of mine who once spent 5+ years bumming around the world. He’s now based in Taiwan to learn Chinese, and is kind of a celebrity there because he has explored hundreds of waterfalls and documented them all. Talk about passion. Check out his website and Facebook to see a crazy white dude jumping off different waterfalls.
When Paul told me that he’d drop out of school to travel for a couple of years, I asked Asher to give him some packing tips. Paul found them helpful, so I hope that you find them helpful too. I’ll also prepare some packing tips and post them soon-ish.
“The most essential thing is a comfortable backpack. The next most essential things are the right shoes, which depends on your activities and such. Sandals are a must since you can’t be washing your clothes (socks) all the time and you may need hiking boots.
If you’re going someplace cold, I would bring some natural chapstick because it’s hard to get that outside of the USA. I’d also being a little kit of things like ibuprofen, guaze, a knife, and athletic tape. Other essentials like condoms, birth control meds, student ID if you have one, international drivers license (get one before you leave) and photocopies of your passport and passport sized photos for visas. It’s expensive and a hassle if you need to get them on the scene.
Also important is the smallest camera that still produces the images you want. 1-inch sensor compacts like the Sony RX100 are great for that. Something with wifi is better so you can back up and share photos easier. If you are going anywhere tropical being a snorkel and action camera (or get an underwater housing for your other camera) or be prepared to buy one before you get to that part of the world. Buying is cheaper than renting for snorkeling gear.
You don’t need that many clothes, that’s something that wont last your entire trip. Don’t bring your expensive fashionable clothes unless you don’t mind that they are going to get ruined. You’ll be wearing the same stuff every week.
Toiletries for a short time, you don’t need a lot, and bag them correctly because US TSA are anal-retentive grunts.
Check a bag if you don’t have to pay for it, but remember you have to carry everything, so checking a back isn’t an excuse to bring more shit. You should also be able to travel without checking a bag. If you do check a bag, put a lighter and a knife in there. Don’t buy an expensive knife, you may have to throw it away later. This also goes for selfie-sticks longer than 30-cm.
Bring TWO atm/credit cards and put them in different places. They should be from separate accounts and you should have the ability to shift money between accounts for free online. One is a backup for when you lose the other. Otherwise you will lose a lot of money on shit like western union. Place some copies of your id with your backup card too, because if you lose your main card, you’ve probably lost your id’s as well.
Bring a USB power bank. Bring a headlamp. Bring a tent and sleeping bag. Bring a small cooking set and a small gas head, but not the cans because you can’t take them on a plane. Make sure your first destination has gas, some countries don’t, in those countries you need to burn alcohol, which uses a different type of stove, so do your research.
Bring a thin, strong rope. It shouldn’t be stretchy.
Bring a portable hard drive and a method for backing up your photos that isn’t very heavy.
Bring an immunization card with your immunization history.
Get immunized up before you go.”