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Articles written for the purpose of making you a better trekker.

Mistakes I’ve made during my travels- packing too much stuff!

While I was never exactly a heavy packer to begin with, I always thought I was pretty good about not packing too much stuff. That is until I started meeting some of the folks in airports and at work and seeing what they carry with them. You can always tell the ones that have some good experiences under their belt, because they aren’t packing too much of a load. It’s pretty easy, when you are unsure of how things are going to be, to bring things that you really won’t need. I know from first hand experience. The key is to pack as light as you can!! 35 pounds is the absolute MAXIMUM I will ever travel with. This is a good target for anyone. One exception is if you have gear that you need to take especially for the trip like photography equipment, climbing gear, or musical instuments are obviously going to be something else, but everything else should be in the other bag!

Here’s what I use as a guideline for packing.

  • Backpack or suitcase
  • Clothing for a Hot or Normal Destination
  • Wind and waterproof jacket – try to get one that is breathable
  • Fleece or hoodie, designed for under the jacket when cold and wet, or used on its own when just cold
  • 2x Lightweight shirts/blouses – long sleeves – for warm nights with mosquitoes about, and which can double up as slightly smarter wear
  • 2x Light weight pants, long legs, suitable for trekking. Consider zip off trousers/pants that turn into shorts
  • 3x T-shirts
  • 2x shorts/skirts for the ladies
  • Swim suit
  • Socks and underwear, any where between 5 and 10 pairs, but I like a week worth personally
  • Shoes designed for hiking/walking, but also not so shabby as to look out of place in a restaurant
  • Sandals for when you’re not wearing the shoes, and I prefer to swim in mine quite often
  • Plastic slippers known as thongs, flip flops as well, for use in showers or just lounging around
  • Second bag light weight, collapses down to a small size, designed to be packed away 90% of the time
  • Nalgene Bottle or equivalent
  • Duct Tape is quite essential, massively strong tape good for fixing just about anything. Black electrical tape, slightly different uses. Can be wrapped around Nalgene
  • Guidebook and maximum two – one for your destination and the next area, you’ll have to pick up the rest as you go, carrying too many is crazy.
  • First Aid Kit with bandages, disinfectant wipes, antiseptic cream, pain killers, chapstick and suntan lotion.
  • Sun glasses – get a good quality pair that protects against UV in your home country, those on the streets often come from dubious origin and may not protect your eyes against harmful UV rays.
  • Sleeping bag for the occasions where you don’t have bedding provided, or you don’t trust it.
  • Earplugs cause if you need them they are great to have, and plus they take up no room at all.
  • Fiction books take two paperbacks, when you’ve read one, trade it for another – hostels often have a trade bookshelf.
  • Music Player CD Player, Ipod, Cassettes, Minidisk whatever you have. Lot’s of music is good!
  • Camera
  • Cell phone that I know will work where I’m going
  • Flash light, a small one like a LED head torch is perfect, as it allows your hands to be free when in use
  • Laptop computer
  • What is freedom?

    For quite some time now, I’ve wondered what the answer to this question is. Many years have I spent pondering the solution and trying to find the one answer that would satisfy my quandary.

    When I think of freedom, I think of it from the political sense. Thoughts of the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and being a person living in a United State of America always come to mind at first, but the more I think about it, the more I realize it goes deeper than that.

    What does it mean to be free? In my mind, it means that you can do as you please. So from there I tend to think that the definition of freedom would be something similar, maybe that you have “the freedom to do as you please,” but that still doesn’t tell us what it means to be a free man or woman. The more we look at the way the world is, the more we understand that life is what we make of it. If we are not happy with our situation, I truly believe that we can fix it. Look at all of the people that leave a horrible situation in their home land and move to a different place to make a better life for not only them, but their children. If they were able to leave their own personal hell, they were finally able to understand what freedom is all about.

    Freedom isn’t something that some one can give you, it’s something that you take for yourself. Think that you are controlled by an oppressive government? Maybe it’s time to work on that. Think that you are in a relationship that is bringing you down and not letting you be the person you really could be? This is restricting your freedom! That job is so boring and it’s really starting to slow you down and keep you from being yourself! Don’t let it!

    Freedom is something that you can take, if you learn to take life by the horns and do what you want. Personally, through my own experiences in life, I have found that there are many, many people out there that are out to take your freedom from you. Debt is huge! No amount of debt is worth the slavery you receive when you take it on. There is nothing more to say, other than don’t spend it, if you don’t have it.

    The ability to travel around at a moments notice, with out worry is a huge freedom and it’s not just for the super wealthy elite. Take the time to see how the world is and what is going on in other neighborhoods and you won’t regret it. The knowledge you gain will both empower you and scare you. Embrace it. Groups of people that come to mind would include sailors, truck drivers, photographers, hippies living in an old school bus converted to a motor home, surfers always looking for a new place to ride a wave and retired people living in a motor home. If you don’t fit in to one of these groups, and I didn’t, find a way to bring some combination of them into your life. Just like that family escaping religious persecution and an oppressive government, you have to find freedom and live it.

    I personally have been trying for some time now to become a free man. There are many people out there that have this far more under control than I do. Although, at first it may seem like they do not have things under control at all. These people are something to see. It really is an interesting thing to talk to a person who does what they want, when they want and there is no worry in their mind. I’m not saying that these people are not responsible in any way. Most hold jobs, and have houses, cars and other things normal people do, but it’s the way they do things that makes them different.

    One thing that amazes me, is that most people don’t understand that freedom and happiness go hand in hand. If you are free as we have previously stated here, you will realize that there is less to stress out about, less to worry about and things in life come much easier. There is a natural tide in the world, we all have to learn to understand this. Just because we cant have something right now, doesn’t mean it’s not attainable. If we learn to have some patience we will see that life and the world will provide for us if we let it. In the mean time, we can spend much more time and effort on living in the moment,rather than worrying about the future and the past. This is a huge step to becoming a free man or woman. Being conscious of your surroundings and having a realistic grasp of your situation is key.

    In my mind, being free means that you have the things you have with no guilt or debt, and you are free to do as you please as well as come and go as you please with no remorse or worry. What a life that would be.

    Group 3



    Often times as a child I would wish that I had grown up in the past rather than the now. Whether it was playing Dungeons and Dragons or learning about the first Trappers that came out west before the Gold Rush of 1849, I always thought about how nice it would have been to have lived in a different time. In a time when there was little technology and people actually knew someone that was “Free”. Then I began thinking about what I was going to do with my life, so that I would not have to live under the thumb of current day madness. With that I spent much of my times in the out doors and spent most of that time trying to get as far away from life as I possibly could. As time went on I started learning about what was really going on in the world, and that pushed me further away from rest of the world. We live in a world so corrupt, and so hypocritical that I am amazed everyday when I wake up, that the world is still here.

    We have factions of people all over the world trying to gain control of not only the population, but of all natural resources. In this struggle for control there has bred a new population of citizens. I call them G3, because they are not like the others. Who are they? Read on.

    Right vs Left

    On the Right side of the political spectrum, have the SUV driving, God fearing Republicans, and on the Left side of the political spectrum we have the electric car driving, tree hugging Democrats. Who is right? That is a trick question. The answer is both, and neither. Why do I say this? Because both have beliefs that are good for mankind, and both have beliefs that are not good for mankind. The problem here is that our rulers are just feeding us treats trying to keep us happy, while the pull the old “switcheroo” on us. If you truly believe that any “elected official” is looking out for you, then you are either paying them or lying to yourself. Even if you are paying them, you are probably lying to yourself. Politicians are only looking out for number one, and this is something you should never forget.

    How can I prove this? I can’t, but what I can say is prove to me of the opposite. I am not a person that automatically sees evil in everything people do. But what I will say is that I have honestly looked for a politician that is not financially motivated, and I have not found one yet. Even on the local level, in the small town that I live in.

    So everyone has a political party, what am I? Independent. Why I say this is that at this point in time I only vote so that I can have a say. I was always taught that if you don’t vote, then you don’t have a right to complain. It simply feels like I am humoring myself when I do it, but…….

    Leaders and Followers

    We are all slaves. I want you to think about it. That is a powerful statement, but it is very true. Can you think of one person that is not dependent on the “system”? Even some of the richest people in the country are slaves, though they are less enslaved than I am. Citizens of a country are slaves, and they are owned by the Government. While I am sure that there are some out there that are not dependent on the Government, I think that they are few and far between. In the first years of the United States, there were actually people that were “free”, but there have been so many steps over the last 100+ years to take that away it is amazing. I hope this doesn’t sadden you, but it is the truth. The more research you do into “sovereignty” the more you will realize this. I will not go on too much about this, but if you don’t know about it, find out.

    My point in all of this is to say that no matter where you go, it is there. Don’t try and run from it, embrace it. The true path to freedom is to enjoy the freedoms that you have, and make the most of them. The more that you confine yourself, the better off you are. Try not to follow the path that is directly in front of you, and look around while you are doing it. If you do, then you will see that there are other paths to be taken.

    Survivalists and Cults

    After having been around “Survivalists” for a while I was beginning to wonder it wonder if all “Survival Groups” were cults. While most of them don’t fit in to the actual definition of a “Cult” I have pretty much found that Survivalism has found a new definition of it. It seems that the internet has bred a new form of cult. This being that there are many warlords or cult leaders out there that are not doing things in the name of religion. They are finding new ways to entrench people and control them. The funny thing is that they are doing it in the very way that our Government has been doing it for years. A student learning from the master is what we have. It is just too bad that these people take some ones fears and then turn them into a controlling force. The thing about it is that there are many out there in the survivalist mindset that are actually not even aware what they are taking place in. Then to make things even better, they start saying that they hate “sheeple” (people that are sheep) when in fact they are the very definition of it.

    Most important here is that I see a set of survivalists emerging out of the ranks. These are people that have never trusted government their entire lives, but they are looking for answers as to why. They are the ones that are building strong bonds amongst themselves, not only by trying hard NOT to be cult-like, but by getting out and doing something, rather than just bitching about everything. Many of them are learning that being in control is not being in power, but being smart about the things you do.

    Groups vs Lone Wolf

    The main motto of many survival groups on the internet is that “you can’t survive on your own. You have to have others to help you out.” The thing I never understood about this was how someone on the internet, several hundred miles from me was going to be there for me. There is a question we have to think about when we thinking about joining a survival group, especially one online. That is, what can these people give me, that my own friends and family cannot?

    All through my life I have seen that having a few good friends that you can trust is better than having many that you can’t. Having friendships that are more than skin deep is very important to your survival no matter what happens to you in life.

    Thinking about history, how did people survive before there was electricity, etc? They did it, and they didn’t even know why or how. The simple fact of the matter is that there were no survival groups back then, it was simply nature. Only The Strong Survive, OTSS. Human beings have been surviving many catastrophes for many years and it has nothing to do with the internet. What it is about is being surrounded by people that care about you. That is what matters.

    Many of these groups say that lone wolves (solo-survivalists) are destined for failure, but I would have to disagree. There were many people in history that did just fine by themselves or with one other person for many years. Don’t think that you HAVE to be a part of team to live. This is simply not true. Plus, the stronger you make yourself the better of you will be in the end, whether you are in a group or not.


    Now that I have shown you what is out there, I want to talk about the group of people I call G3.

    Group one is the people that follow the government and play by the rules and listen to the rulers.

    Group two is the people that live outside the law, or are waiting for a total break down of the law to take advantage of it. Sometimes even pushing for anarchy or lawlessness, by persuading people to arm themselves and do foolish things. Gangs, drug dealers, militia, Nazi groups and cults fall into this group.

    Group three is a select few that are not any of those.

    They are an interesting bunch of people. Mostly this is a group of people that are slaves and they know it. They work around the rules as much as they can with out drawing any attention to them selves, and even avoid the law as much as possible. They are not leaders nor are they followers, because they are too opinionated to be a follower, but to be a leader would not fit their tastes either. Becoming a leader is the path that leads to tyranny so they will stay away from that.

    A G3 is most likely not affiliated with a political party, because they think that both sides are working towards the same common goal. Voting is not high on the priority list. Survivalism is a very interesting topic for the G3, because it is something that is close to their heart. The thing is that surviving isn’t necessarily Survivalism, and they know that.

    The G3 is out to learn as much as possible about everything they can, and this is what makes them what they are. If there is something that they can do them selves they will do it, rather than needing the help of someone else.