I have been traveling around the world for two years doing mostly nothing. The places where I did the most nothing are probably Indonesia, my six weeks in Japan and my collective three months in French Polynesia, but I have done nothing all over the world.Read More
You Might Die Tomorrow stickers are ridiculously compelling and -- honestly -- the best conversation piece I've ever encountered in my life.
This month only, You Might Die Tomorrow stickers are PAY WHAT YOU WANT!Read More
The current state of my life — mostly alone, sometimes forgotten about, with family members vehemently opposed to my chosen lifestyle, a sick dog, adjusting to stationary life, light on cash, job seeking and with no idea what I’ll do next — is exactly what I was looking for in travel. It’s a real life, in your face, lesson-producing struggle. And I’m so grateful for it.Read More
We didn’t know at the time that our relationship was doomed. It wasn’t like we had gotten the dog as a last-ditch effort to save our marriage like some do with a child. We just both connected over this shared empathy and affinity for pit bulls and knew we had to get one.Read More
Pajamas and I are leaving this week for our next adventure: a 2.5 month road trip around the US. Pajamas just beat cancer and my brother is letting me use his old '03 Dodge Stratus so we're hitting the road to celebrate!Read More
I went to Nepal largely inspired by the spirit of my late adventure role model, Dan Fredinburg. Dan was a fellow Googler who exuded warmth and joy and attempted to climb Everest, twice. On his second adventure, he passed away at Base Camp in the 2015 earthquake. I didn't know Dan very well - we had only spoken a couple of times - but I was always inspired by his adventure badassery. I also had a crush on him. I think everyone did.Read More
I have this thing I do I call 'deathbed regret avoidance.' When I'm faced with a decision I'm unsure about, I mentally put myself on my deathbed and consider how I'd feel at that moment, looking back on how I made the decision I'm facing now. If, in this conjured future state, I feel regret about having done or not done the thing I'm considering, I know that's not the way to go. Conversely, if I look back and feel good about my choice, bam! That's my green light.Read More
xAs a solo female traveler, I felt totally safe. I used Tinder and met some questionable fellows. I used the Couchsurfing app to meet some fantastic Russian friends. I had a drunk Balinese man knock on my window and whisper to me in Bahasa Indonesia at midnight, but nothing serious. Unless he was trying to whisper to me that he was having a heart attack, in which case I probably killed him because I was frozen in fear inside of my mosquito net.Read More
When I was around thirteen, I took about forty Tylenol. I both wanted to die and also needed an outlet for my overwhelming despair. Today, I look back and my heart breaks for that sad teenager. I know now that everything which flows also ebbs: joy, love, despair...life. Nothing gold stays, Ponyboy. Like the gold, the blackness also fades. The hopelessness I felt then is minute compared to the insane gratitude and zeal for life that I possess today. Ironically, it was remembering that I am going to die which helped me truly live.Read More
The Old Astronomer
by Sarah Williams (1837–1868)
Reach me down my Tycho Brahé, – I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then to now.
Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,
And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true,
And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.
But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,
What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and wiles;
What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles.
You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight;
You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night.
I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known.
You "have none but me," you murmur, and I "leave you quite alone"?
Well then, kiss me, – since my mother left her blessing on my brow,
There has been a something wanting in my nature until now;
I can dimly comprehend it, – that I might have been more kind,
Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind.
I "have never failed in kindness"? No, we lived too high for strife,--
Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life;
But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you still
To the service of our science: you will further it? you will!
There are certain calculations I should like to make with you,
To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true;
And remember, "Patience, Patience," is the watchword of a sage,
Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age.
I have sown, like Tycho Brahé, that a greater man may reap;
But if none should do my reaping, 'twill disturb me in my sleep
So be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name;
See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame.
I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak;
Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak:
It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars, –
God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.
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
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.