Lessons learned from backpacking after the age of 30

Rain, rain, run away

I thought I did good this trip on packing a bag that I can carry (although I can't lift it up to an overhead compartment without assistance). Compared to previous trips (see here and here), I have only three pairs of footwear. Plus I offloaded a couple of small items with Deanna, who was travelling with me but has now gone back to Singapore.

Still, there's always something new one can learn:

1. When kicking off a long trip in a developing country with a hot climate, don't fall for a new brand of shower gel (especially the moisturising kind) just because it smells great.

2. Bring more plasters (band-aids) because wearing the same pair of comfy broken-in footwear for two weeks in a row will still give you blisters.

3. The $3 army poncho (available at Beach Road market in Singapore) is a total bargain. It's lightweight, dries quickly and covers someone my size carrying two backpacks.

4. Listen to ampulets and bring a bandanna. Here in Vietnam, it would've been useful to shield my hair from the insides of all the motorcycle helmets I've had to wear. (More than once I've been tempted to buy my own helmet at a market.)

5. Steal soap from hotels that generously replenish toiletries --- the bars will be useful for emergency laundry later on the road.

6. Steal disposable chopsticks --- you never know when you want to eat something in a hotel room that doesn't have cutlery.

Tomorrow I hit a new town, where there are more lessons to come, I'm sure.

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At 10/20/2008 2:50 pm , Blogger Jess said...

Stealing is great!

And also, you wear helmets? Respect.

At 10/20/2008 9:25 pm , Blogger wahj said...

Ahem. "appropriate". The word is "appropriate", not "steal" =)

Also, I think you should totally buy your own helmet, and adorn it with various stickers and other trophies of your travels.

At 10/21/2008 4:02 am , Blogger Tym said...

panaphobic > I have to wear a helmet when I ride. It's the law --- they even have a public campaign for it, with posters with Vietnamese celebrities wearing stylish helmets.

wahj > I would buy a helmet, except that it'd be extra baggage when I'm doing so much hopping on and off trains and buses. Also, I wouldn't be able to differentiate a good one from a crappy one in the market!

At 10/23/2008 4:31 am , Blogger mel said...

good travel tips :)

At 10/23/2008 10:22 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...


I apologise for the unrelated comment but would you mind sharing if you got your economist style guide through their online store or otherwise?

-Student (not yours though)/Aspiring writer

At 10/24/2008 6:48 am , Blogger Tym said...

I borrowed the style guide from a client, who bought it at Kinokuniya. But I haven't seen it on the shelves there (I've been looking to buy my own copy).

At 10/24/2008 2:12 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...



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