Friday, January 29, 2010

Packing List

I'm sure you're wondering what I'll be packing for a 14-month trip, and more importantly, how I'm going to fit it into one backpack and a daypack! I've spent countless hours researching travel forums online for advice, visiting outdoor stores all over central Florida, and placing orders online for things I couldn't find in stores. After a hectic 5 weeks of planning, preparing, buying, and trying to get Wal-Mart to actually do my malaria medication prescription correctly, this is what I've finally decided to pack:

Travel Gear
Click on the image to view a larger version.

How I was able to actually fit all that in my pack I have no idea. But hopefully I'll remember on the trip, because I'll have to unpack and repack that bag hundreds of times! One of the big problems I ran into was the fact that I'm camping in remote parts of Africa, which necessitated gear (sleeping bag, self-inflating mattress, extra first aid stuff) that I wouldn't normally bring if I was just going through Europe or Southeast Asia. I'm sure I'll send a bunch of gear home from Johannesburg at the end of May - that should significantly lighten my load for the rest of the trip. Another problem was the fact that my photography equipment takes up half of my pack and probably more than half of the total weight. But, since that's the main purpose of this trip, I suppose I'll just have to suffer! If you're wondering, the total weight of my main pack is 31 pounds, and my day pack weighs 14 pounds, for a grand total of 45 pounds. I would have loved to go lighter, but I guess it's not too bad for a 14-month photography-intensive trip. Here's the complete gear list:

  Osprey Waypoint 60 travel pack (63 L) w/ detachable daypack (10 L)
  Pacsafe WrapSafe adjustable cable lock
  combination locks (x3)
  carabiners (x4)
  assorted Ziploc bags
  assorted trash bags
  silica gel desiccant packets (moisture protection for cameras & electronics)
  luggage tag

  The North Face Apex Bionic jacket
  Eddie Bauer rain jacket
  Gap long-sleeved polo shirt
  short-sleeved polo shirts (x2)
  t-shirts (x3)
  Levi's jeans
  Gap khaki pants
  Columbia Titanium Power Vertical II quick-dry pants
  The North Face Paramount quick-dry cargo shorts
  ExOfficio quick-dry underwear (x3)
  Wigwam Rebel Fusion crew socks (x3)
  black socks (x2)
  Merrell Pivot J73577 multi-sport shoes

Toiletries & Personal Items
  hand sanitizer (x6)
  toothbrush w/ cover
  retainers w/ case
  deodorant (x2)
  lip balm (x2)
  fingernail clippers
  electric shaver w/ case and charger
  flushable wipes
  toilet paper
  MSR PackTowl Personal large microfiber towel
  Sea to Summit Trek & Travel body wash (x2)
  Sea to Summit Trek & Travel shampoo (x2)
  Sea to Summit Trek & Travel laundry wash (x2)
  ball (universal drain stopper)
  Rick Steves clothesline
  sewing kit
  duct tape
  ear plugs (x8 pairs)
  case for glasses
  spare glasses w case
  sunglasses w/ case
  glasses strap
  eyeglass cleaning cloth
  SteriPEN Adventurer handheld water purifier w/ solar charging case
  Nalgene Tritan 32oz wide mouth bottle
  Leatherman w/ scissors
  Aurora head flashlight

Camping Gear
  Field & Stream Mountain Trail Lite 40 degree mummy sleeping bag
  Sea to Summit Adaptor CoolMax sleeping bag liner
  Therm-a-Rest ProLite self-inflating mattress w/ nylon repair tape

Sun & Insect Protection
  free-standing mosquito net (Long Road Travel Supplies Travel Tent II)
  insect repellent w/ 100% DEET (x2)
  insect bite/sting relief (ammonia)
  Benadryl itch relief stick
  Field & Stream Bonito hat

  malaria medication - doxycycline (x270)
  antibiotics - Z-Paks (x2)
  anti-nausea medication - Pepto-Bismol (x40)
  anti-diarrheal medication (x72)
  anti-motion sickness medication - meclizine (x32)
  pain reliever - ibuprofen (x20)
  allergy medication - Zyrtec (x45)

First Aid
  alcohol wipes
  gauze pads
  assorted Band-Aids
  self-adhesive elastic bandage
  moleskin padding (blister protection)

  passport w/ copies
  yellow fever vaccination certificate
  extra passport photos for visas
  information on flights, tours, travel insurance, etc.
  small journal
  pens (x2)

Photography Equipment & Electronics
    Nikon D300
    Canon PowerShot D10 waterproof digital camera
    AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED lens
    Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D lens w/ Nikon HR-2 rubber hood
    HOYA 52mm PRO1 Digital UV filter
    HOYA 72mm PRO1 Digital UV filter
    HOYA 52mm PRO1 Digital Circular PL filter
    HOYA 72mm PRO1 Digital Circular PL filter
    Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 carbon fiber tripod w/ Manfrotto 486RC2 compact ball head
    Nikon EN-EL3e rechargeable Li-ion batteries (x3)
    lens cleaning pens - LensPens (x3)
    rubber air blower
  Digital Media
    Apple iPod touch w/ earbuds
    Toshiba mini NB205-N325BL 10.1” netbook w/ soft sleeve
    Western Digital My Passport Essential portable hard drives (x2)
    SanDisk 8GB CompactFlash cards (x8)
    PNY 8GB SDHC card
  Chargers & Cables
    battery charger/power cable for Nikon D300
    battery charger for Canon PowerShot D10
    AC adaptor/power cable for Toshiba netbook
    USB cable for cameras
    USB cable for portable hard drives
    USB cable for iPod touch
    set of 3 foreign plug adaptors
    3-outlet plug adaptor

Sunday, January 3, 2010


The Villages, Florida, USA
Hello everyone! I finally got my travel blog up and running. I've been here in Florida for over a week now, and I'm crazy busy with getting ready to put my life on hold for a year or two. I don't leave for a month, and I've already had my first hiccup in my travel plans. My AirBaltic flight from Paris to Dubai was canceled with no explanation, so I had to find another way to get to the United Arab Emirates. I finally decided to leave Paris a few days early (it will be bitterly cold in February, anyway) and booked a flight to Athens. I have a degree in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations, so I just have to visit Greece, if only for three days. I also booked a separate flight on Etihad Airways from Athens to Abu Dhabi. Etihad has the distinction of recently being named the world's leading airline at the 2009 World Travel Awards. However, according to Wikipedia, the airline has not turned a profit since its founding in 2003. Hopefully they won't cancel on me as well!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Route Video

World Trip Map

Click on a flight path or placemark for more information, like the distance of the flight or where I stayed that night. Zoom in and drag for a better view.

Why I Travel

Matt Prater
Matt Prater
Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to be Indiana Jones. To explore impenetrable jungles, remote temples, exotic bazaars. To experience the unfamiliar customs of faraway cultures. I even hate snakes. So I proceeded to obtain a degree in archaeology, art history, and ancient civilizations. After graduation, the real world suddenly set in, and I got a job in marketing. Besides … I'm far too clumsy to use a whip, and the Nazis aren't really too much of a nuisance these days. In the five years since college, I've developed an ever-increasing passion for travel photography. Inspired by the need to expand my portfolio and those action-packed dreams from childhood that kept gnawing away at me, I knew I had to satisfy my wanderlust. And not with a two week vacation. A true escape from the monotony of modern life. I knew that if I became too complacent, I would always wonder … what if? So, forcing myself to step way outside my comfort zone, I've planned an adventure worthy of Dr. Jones himself. For over a year, I'll be following in the footsteps of the great explorers – David Livingstone, Marco Polo, James Cook. Five continents. Thirty countries. One backpack.

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