Monday, July 7, 2014

Minimalist Travel Kit

During the summer, my family usually goes on several short (two to three nights) camping trips.  Although I often think that I'll be able to use this time to get some extra writing done (away from the endless distractions of my computer and the Internet), I usually end up not writing a word.  It's a time to relax, not to work.  But I don't like travelling anywhere without a few supplies (just in case inspiration strikes), so I've developed this minimalist travel kit to bring with me on short trips.  It contains all of my basic essentials, but nothing more:
 


From left to right:
  • Pentel Quicker Clicker 0.5mm mechanical pencil - When travelling, I use this mainly for solving sudoku and crossword puzzles, which is usually the closest I get to doing any writing.  Before I leave, I ensure that the barrel contains a couple of extra leads, so that I don't have to carry spare leads.
  • Pilot GP-4 Multi ballpoint pen - Most of the writing that I might do while travelling would be what I call "rough" writing (writing drafts, brainstorming, making lists, etc.), which I always use ballpoints for.  The Pilot GP-4 is especially handy to bring while travelling, as it combines four colours in one pen, thus eliminating the temptation to carry multiple pens.
  • Pentel Fluorescent Marker - I use highlighters fairly often these days to organize my notes.  While this isn't an item I would expect to use a lot of while travelling, I like to have the option available.  The Pentel Fluorescent Marker is the slimmest highlighter I own, and therefore takes up the least space.
  • A wooden pencil - Just in case I feel like doing some sketching.  Often, I'll bring a pencil that I plan to review soon.  (In this example, it's a Cont√© √† Paris Alaska 3B.)
  • Sanford Speederase - I find a retractable eraser like this one to be more convenient to use than a block eraser.
  • Field Notes (unlined) notebook - A slim pocket notebook that I can use for sketches or short journal entries.  I often consider bringing my regular journal (A5 Rhodia Webnotebook), but I know that it will just end up being a waste of space since I probably won't write anything in it.  If I do need to write down something important, I can use my Field Notes while travelling and copy it into my Webbie when I return home.
  • Scrap paper (not pictured) - Along with the above items, I also bring a few sheets of scrap paper (standard letter-size paper that has been used on only one side), for any rough writing that I may need or want to do.

All of the items (except the scrap paper) fit inside a large rectangular green pencil case (pictured in this post), which is actually much larger than I need (and I have to take my art supplies out of the case first).  It does come in handy though, because then I can also use the case to store any other small items I'm carrying with me, such as a tube of lip balm or an interesting stone that I pick up in my travels.

If I was travelling for a longer time or planning to do some more serious writing or journaling, I'd probably bring more stuff (here's an example), but this minimalist travel kit is usually sufficient.

What's in your travel kit?

10 comments:

  1. Bravo on your ultra-minimalist supply kit! My equivalent is a fountain pen with water-soluble ink, waterbrush, a water-soluble marker and a small handmade sketchbook (http://www.tina-koyama.blogspot.com/2014/05/what-i-would-take-to-gilligans-island.html). Alas, that's only for when I take a walk. . . if I'm actually "traveling" (out of the country, state or neighborhood), I take the full mother lode. ;-)

    - Tina

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    1. Thanks, Tina! I'd probably add a waterbrush to my kit too if I was planning to do more sketching... and perhaps some sort of inks/paints as well. I wish I could sketch more often while travelling, but somehow it never happens...

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  2. I've never had the knack for writing while on vacation either. I'd tell myself I'll be free of pressures and distractions, but nothing happens.

    Those zip-around portfolios that hold writing pads, pens in pen loops, pockets for partially finished work, etc., are super-handy for me for travel. They're sort of a middle ground between a pad-holder and briefcase. Good portfolios that hold 8 1/2" X 14" legal pads are pretty rare and costly, which is why I haven't replaced my old one. Jack/Ohio

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    1. I don't have pressures or distractions on my vacations, just a complete lack of motivation to do anything other than sit, read, walk, and do sudoku puzzles... then again, that's probably what a vacation should be like.

      I think I've owned a few similar portfolio-things like that in the past (maybe not exactly as you describe, but similar). They came in handy while I was in school so I could avoid carrying bulky binders with me to class.

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    2. I like a portfolio for keeping work together even at home. I'll write in the kitchen for a while. If I want to relocate to my desk, I just toss everything into the portfolio.

      I'm pretty economy-minded, but the low-end portfolios I've seen seem to be poorly made, and no bargain at all. Jack/Ohio

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  3. Heather the horror! No fountain pen? just kidding. Nice kit. I would probably supplement it with one of the new Nock Co cases that would hold everything I see in your pic. I'm not a big writer on vacation either but I always take an FP and my travel journal to jot down my memories of the trip like funny experiences, good places to eat etc.

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    1. Haha, nope, no fountain pen. I wouldn't use it enough to justify bringing one (and probably ending up with the ink drying up inside).

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  4. Where did you get the green pencil case you refer to in the other post. I have been looking for something just like that and cannot find one. I need it!

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    1. I have no idea where I got it! It was given to me by my parents probably at least 15 years ago, and I can't recall ever seeing one like it anywhere else. Sorry that I can't help you...

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    2. Oh well, thanks for answering.

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