Prologue – Sojourn

Our boat captain decides it's time to take a dip. "Never Give Up!"

Our boat captain decides it’s time to take a dip. “Never Give Up!”

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

How do you begin the next big adventure? From what motivational spark would there be the fire to go wander once again…to some obscure place either off the beaten path or down the most worn one. The seductiveness of the seldom traveled path is a siren call to many. I’ve been seduced by my share of back alleys, unmarked trails, little specs of land in vast oceans, and unmetered taxi rides to unknown corners, taverns, and eateries. For the most part I’ve survived unscathed…for the most part. This sojourn would be about those places.

However, there is a reason some paths are well worn. It isn’t always wise to ignore those routes. They are full of great stories, epic journeys, and yes they are places photographed thousands of times over. However, there is a reason to see them for yourselves…a soul-stirring introspective yearning that must be met. The photograph won’t capture what your own eyes will gaze in wonder at, what your sense of smell will pick out of the evening marketplace air, the sounds of the people and the cherished voice of a new found friend. To ignore those places is a fool’s decision. I am no fool. This sojourn would also be about those places.

Stacy and I will be traveling for 6 months for Deep Blue Adventures on the open road and ocean. Some stops are planned but many of them are not. A journey through Micronesia, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Things are going to go well and sometimes not so well. Sometimes, it’s going to get ugly. But that is the point. In order for Deep Blue Adventures to know what you can expect, we have to go there ourselves and get dirty…and pampered. Hopefully lots of pampering. So off we go. It won’t all be roses, unicorns, and butterflies. So hold on and enjoy the ride. We will offer you our perspective, tips and tricks, and an unbiased opinion. Feel free and at home to ask us anything.

Staring me down...and winning.   Don't be chicken to leave it at home

Staring me down…and winning. Don’t be chicken to leave it at home

Travel Tip number 7. Pack light. Extremely light.

Our journey is going to take us to Yap, Palau, Chuuk, Guam, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. We will be staying at hotels, hostels, on overnight ferries, guesthouses, couch surfing, friends homes, dive resorts and liveaboards. We have dive gear, first aid kit, cameras, computers, and clothes to bring with us. Its all going in two backpacks and a dive gear bag. We need to be mobile and safe. Carrying too much gear, clothes, and extra stuff becomes a burden in a hurry. It starts at the ticket counter with baggage fees and climaxes trying to board a ferry in the Philippines. With a mass of humanity pushing to board; it is not only difficult trying to roll suitcases, it’s impossible to do while keeping an eye on everything. Let’s face it, we have all packed for trips only to find out we didn’t wear half of what we brought. Set yourself and those seven shirts free! They like to hang out in the closet. Leave them there. On a dive trip, you need very little…so little indeed. When you are at the dive resort, you sit around in a swimsuit, walk around barefoot, and rotate out a few t shirts. What’s not to love about that? For the ladies, a few swimsuits, a sundress, a pair of shorts. Take your eyeliner, that lash goop, and some SPF lip balm. We all need to feel pretty. Guys just do it by putting on deodorant.

Travel Tip number 23: Make use of in-house laundry wherever you go.

Here is my clothing packing list for 6 months on the road:
3 pair of underwear (quick dry)
3 shirts (quick dry)
1 polo shirt (for nice dinner away from resort)
2 wrinkle free quick dry hiking pants with zip off legs
1 swimsuit
2 pair of socks
1 lightweight pair of tennis shoes
1 pair of flip flop sandals
1 lightweight windbreaker

Here is the rest of the kit:
Toothbrush and paste
5 disposable razors
Small first aid kit (mole foam, band aids, triple antibiotic, aspirin, ibuprofen, decongestant, anti-sting/itch)
Small bar of soap
GoPro Camera and charger with extra camera batteries
Small notepad and pen
GSM cell phone
Laptop with external portable hard drives and headphones
Roll of duct tape
Nalgene water bottle with UV filtration
Microfiber towel (shammy)
Compression sack for clothes
10 Ziploc bags (5 large and 5 small)
Sunscreen and bug spray (just enough to get started…buy as you need)
3 small locks for backpack and lockers at hostels

All of this fit in my carry-on backpack. Be sure to use a backpack that has a zip-off day pack. This will become quite handy. It also allows you to have a small carry on to put under your seat and to keep your valuables on you in case you have to lose sight of the big backpack in a luggage area.

Ok…enough of the blah blah stuff because I know you are going to pack what you want anyway. But try to leave some of it home. Try for yourself. Try for your own journey to give yourself the flexibility to go checkout a local last-minute spot and not worry about getting your two suitcases out of the hotel. It’s an amazing feeling.

We stumbled upon this little slice of heaven last-minute island hopping.

We stumbled upon this little slice of heaven last-minute island hopping

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