Twitchhiker | Paul Smith's travel tales from here and there

The list
14/02/2009, 08:56
Filed under: twitchhiker project | Tags: ,

The heating clicked into life at 5am and stirred me awake from a dream about owls. I did plan to tweet hello to the world and see what folk were up to. Twitter however, had other plans:

Twtichhiker - Twitter FAIL. Gah.

Oh dear. That’s the second time in two days I’ve seen Twitter go down for an hour’s maintenance. I’m hoping my three day window for forward-planning will mean these blackouts won’t affect me, but I’d hate to miss a last-minute opportunity.

Since then I’ve written a bunch of pitches, made three rounds of coffee, caught up with The Daily Show and hid in the bath. There seems little procrastination left within me. I need to write this damned to-do list or I’ll be lynched by all concerned.

Reading through people’s comments, I think a small percentage of tweeps are reading the word “twitchhiking” but hearing “hitchhiking”. I’m hoping there’ll be little or no need to thrust my thumb into the air as car drivers busy themselves averting direct eye contact; my thumb will be entirely dedicated to updating Twitter by phone. That’s the point of this experiment. It’s not backpacking with Twitter thrown in to drum up interest; it’s all about Twitter, travelling with the help of the community that embraces it. If you’re a fan of Douglas Adams, Twitter is my real life Sub-Etha Sens-O-Matic; I’ll be hitching my way electronically.

Items I won’t be taking with me include: a couple of good books (suggested by Paul Richardson – I’d love to, but there won’t be enough hours in the days); floss (from Jen – seriously?) and a “hacky sack” (thank you Andy). I don’t think I’ll be so far off the grid I’ll require water purification tablets and I’m not entirely convinced I’ll need a tent; again, I’m relying on the kindness of tweeps to see I don’t go without a roof over my head. You might be rolling your eyes at this seemingly blasé attitude, but that’s what this trip is all about.

So here’s the list as it stands, aside from clothing; I’m a big boy now and hoping I can manage that myself. Some hot stuff, some cold stuff, some clean pants. Nailed it. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions; I’ve acknowledged a handful of those who contributed, specifically those of you who suggested items I hadn’t considered:

  • Passport / driver’s licence
  • Paper copies of documents @itybtyctykty
  • US currency
  • Passport photos
  • MacBook (to back up before travel)
  • Power leads and adaptors
  • Camera / video camera / something or another
  • Mobile phone for tweeting / photos / video uploading shenanigans
  • Very generous international roaming tariff to allow said tweeting / photos / video uploading shenanigans
  • Tent / sleeping bag / ground mat / bivi bag? Conor Roche
  • Rucksack
  • Sunblock (please, let me reach a country where I need sunblock) Jen
  • Earplugs @weirdsis
  • Plastic bags to keep electronics in @weirdsis

And decisions / appointments that needed to be made yesterday:

  • Decide how and where I’ll record the trip, beside this blog and Twitter: where should I post photo and video?
  • Upgrade my mobile and try and find a sponsor / donor for the international roaming
  • Sort out any pre-paid internet access up-front; I have my Three broadband dongle which will see me right in partner countries in Europe. @paulcarr uses Boingo on his travels, and I’m sure that I’ll be able to grab wi-fi and online access from those I meet.
  • Devise a back-up plan in case something goes horribly wrong (already working on that)
  • Have some clue as to how I’ll get home, wherever I end up (currently no currently whatsoever)
  • Arrange an appointment with the sadistic bastard that is my dentist @simonklaiber
  • Call the nurse. Quickly.

Let me know what you think. I’m sure some of you will disagree wildly on specific points or even my expectations of the Twitter community, but it’s best I hear them before I hit the road.


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

hello, hope you’re coming to the north. we’re a friendly bunch in sweden.

Comment by resa

Don´t forget your travel medication.

Comment by Causa Motiva

hmm… i would go a multi country power adapter, or get a usb charger for your batteries/mobile and use your mac or the pcs at internet cafes

Comment by David

I’d suggest joining Flickr and uploading your photos there. You can upload 200 for free. 🙂

Comment by Ms Alex

A few more things to think about….

Take out some world wide heath insurance, and get a European Health Insurance Card (formerly E111) in case you go to Europe.

Let you credit card company know you are going oversees so they don’t block them as you may need them in an emergency, and to get home. Same with any telecommunications as many are now blocked internationally unless you tell then.

Also I suggest travelling light. You might need much of the list, but you have to carry it all.

Comment by Alistair MacDonald

It’s still technically “Winter” so I’d throw in a hat (beanie) and gloves just in case.

And, most importantly, in the true spirit of Douglas Adams don’t forget your towel! 🙂

Comment by Francoise

laundry detergent? helps cut down on the clothes you have to bring 🙂 aside from Hamilton, are you heading to TO, Canada?

Comment by simone

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