JohnnySnelgrove's Travel Journals

JohnnySnelgrove

 
What was your most challenging travel experience?

High speed chase in China. My van driver must have had a bad history with the police. I was almost arrested. Luckily, we had an interpreter, and the police weren't opposed to bribery.

  • 27 years old
  • From Washington, United States
  • Currently in Washington, United States

Firenze, Italy 2012

Living the life of an Italian journalist.

Baggage Carousels

United States Washington, United States  |  Sep 27, 2012
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 I just can’t bring myself to check luggage… 

  Baggage carousels are fascinating. Something about the way bags spill out of that mysterious little central conveyor belt, down onto the snakelike plates coiling round and round—I can’t explain it, but for whatever reason, I find baggage carousels more exciting than anything else in the airport. Maybe it’s because I always wanted to jump onboard and ride them around as a little kid. Maybe I’ve been suppressing that desire for the past twenty years of my life. There’s no telling.

  As enamored as I am with baggage claim, I’d never want my own bags to go through that overwhelmingly convoluted system of belts and motors. Not me. Nope. For one, it’s too impartial and rough. The delicate little guitar I bring everywhere with me would surely crack and crunch in that hostile environment. I’ve had a run in with a stewardess or two while trying to board planes with both a backpack and guitar, and I tend to avoid confrontation, but my little guitar’s worth it (the guitar really is quite small, and fits snugly in most overhead compartments). As for my bag, well, I’ve heard too many stories of luggage ending up in Poland (Dad). If it doesn’t fit in my backpack, it’s probably unneeded anyway. I’m a big proponent of minimalism and efficiency, and usually stick to the old sailor’s motto, “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place”, when packing my bag.

  If I do it right, I can get away with only a backpack and a guitar, neither of which are large enough to warrant sending through the baggage check system that I so abhorrently distrust. The price I pay is the awkwardness of just barely being able to cram my pack and guitar into the overhead compartment, followed by the reproachful glances of disapproving passengers. I just can’t bring myself to check luggage…

A strict aversion to baggage checking, and a lifetime of living on or near boats— coupled with my belief in minimalism—has led to the development of a very specific and meticulously designed packing list which I continually refine and improve. When everything is written down on paper, the list actually looks quite large. Many of the items are small, however, and are only on my list because I have a bad habit of forgetting little things (such as keys and guitar picks). So, without further ado, I present to you the contents of my backpack (abridged): Guitar, laptop, clothing, toiletries, phone, odds and ends.

That really wasn’t much of a list, was it. Nonetheless, my bag still looks positively stuffed. It’s probably the clothes. Clothes rule #1: pack lots of clean underwear. Nothing worse than having to wear an old pair of boxers for several days. Clothes rule #2: have a set of “emergency clothes” for long stretches without a means of washing. By emergency clothes, I mean moisture wicking, fast drying, non-cotton, sporty type things. Sure, you’ll look like you’re about to run a marathon, but it’s better than wearing sweat-drenched cotton for a week. The final clothes tip is this: you probably don’t need as much clothing as you’ve packed. I only have one carry-on bag for over two months and I still feel like I packed too much. Only time will tell, though. Luckily I won’t be carting my bag around too often, seeing as I’ll be living in an apartment for most the time. Note to self: the keyword is living, not camping.

I would have finished this earlier, but I’m a notoriously late, last-minute packer. I packed last night at midnight. I’m currently sitting on a plane which is flying into the future. I’ll let you know if they have hover cars yet.

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