Stuff I carry on my back around the world - Part I: Tech

Guys, I've been traveling full-time now for 14 months. I carry all of my possessions with me in one bag, so the stuff I choose to carry around is mission critical and makes me a happy traveler. 

I get asked a lot of questions about travel, and while You Might Die Tomorrow isn't necessarily a travel blog, Imma help y'all achieve your travel dreams, if that's your thing. So this is the first in a series of posts about how I logistically travel around the world:

  • How I found a remote job in three days
  • How I get all my international flights for free
  • Which travel necessities I don't leave home without (broken up by categories like technology, beauty, luggage, clothes, and random funsies)
  • I'll also do a Kate the Great AMA, a video conference in which you can ask me questions and I'll try to screw up your life in the sense of helping you to live like you might die tomorrow and do something awesome!

Stuff I carry on my back around the world - PART I: Tech

 In some of the remote islands of French Polynesia, the only place to get wifi is on the stoop of the local post office. My new friends and I sang some Edward Sharpe and checked out my photos from New Zealand despite the language barrier. 

In some of the remote islands of French Polynesia, the only place to get wifi is on the stoop of the local post office. My new friends and I sang some Edward Sharpe and checked out my photos from New Zealand despite the language barrier. 

Before I even say one word about the mostly expensive and super first world list of tech items I carry around the world, I have to tell you the ONE THING I learned to never travel without. 

The one thing I never travel without: 

Gifts for strangers and new friends. 


My mom hand-draws cards, and I keep at least 30 on me to gift to special people I meet along the way. I carry about a dozen plush finger puppets to hand out to little kids, and I always buy cheap candy from corner stores around the world to give. 

Gifting is one of the biggest lessons I have learned while traveling around the world. Gift with no expectation. Give for the sheer joy of giving. From what I've experienced, American culture is one that tends to give spontaneous gifts much less than other countries. 

Don't want to buy anything to give? Give what you have. Give a cool t-shirt from your luggage. Gift time - ask the guy shucking coconut on the roadside if you can help. Don't ask "Do you need help?" Ask, "Can I please help you? I'd really enjoy it." (Use Google translate if they don't speak English). The gifts will be gifts to yourself -- I promise. 

Okay, now on to my technology menagerie. 

Dude, don't tell the robbers, but I'm a walking media company. Being a writer and someone with a remote job, I need to be connected. Here's the technology menagerie I've culled to what I need most to be effective on the road. 

Don't leave home without a headlamp, okay? Just don't do it. 

When I bought my first headlamp for $1 at Wal-mart, I had no idea it would change my life. I use it for reading at night, hiking, caving, watching the horizon for oncoming ships during a night watch shift on a sailboat, finding lost shit in hostels at night, and other creative uses. Plus, I feel like a badass when I wear it; official, and like I've got important stuff to do. I've since upgraded to this beauty which includes red filter (for being on night watch on a full moon night sailing) and brightness options. 

Sony RX100 III Digital Camera

I asked my dear friend and professional photographer Daniel which DSLR camera I should get for my big Soul Vacation round the world trip. He said, "ARE YOU CRAZY?!" I'll never forget what he said afterwards: the best camera is the one you have on you.

Instead of a huge DSLR, he recommended this little guy - which he also travels the world with. So I bought this tiny yet incredibly powerful camera, and I’ve never looked back. 

Polaroid-style camera to take pictures of kids in countries who have never had a tangible photo of themselves and their besties throwing up the peace sign. 

Kindle Paper White (but I still carry around too many books)

I’m a spoiled brat and this was a gift from my Dad before I left on the second leg of my trip. I’ve been known to travel with up to a half dozen books, so I suppose he took pity on me. I love this thing and the 3G connection is the most clutch.

My lucky (and free!) BOSE headphones. 

So, I was lucky enough to find a pair of these in the return vault of one of those Best Buy kiosks at 3am, with no one around in the entire terminal. They are the best headphones ever. So comfortable and beautiful sound. Thank you, universe, for my free headphones! May they bring you luck as well. 

Apple Macbook 12"

So, I have a love/hate relationship with the very device I type on at this moment. I love the portability, the display, the general Mac-ness of it. I can carry it around in my purse!

I hate the USB-C only port. I hate that it has a small hard drive. But if I had to buy a new computer for travel, I'd probably buy this one again. 

World adapter with USB plugs (my dear, my darling)

THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER. Just buy it. I could write a love letter to this beautiful device. And every time I use it I think of my dear friend Margeaux, who gave it to me as a bon voyage gift.  

There are a few other tech odds and ends I travel with, like my iPhone (one got stolen and ransomed back to me in Nepal and one I threw off a balcony in India), my GoPro (I don't use it as much as I thought I would), and my LaCie 1TB hard drive (It's just okay but gets the job done). 

Back soon with the next installment of Travel Tips by Kate the Great.