Before you go on a bicycle journey  or travel the world, STOP!  What is is you are going to do?  This is the overriding consideration.  Anything which is attached to your goal of the adventure is complicating your trip.

I am not talking about reasonable considerations such as to bring along a camera, a map, or first aid kit.  I am talking about the items which will add to the burden of being transported, require needless extra effort, distract from the whole purpose of the trip.  In the L.A., airport a woman, going to New York for two weeks, lugged nine large suitcases–one case just for shoes.  Not only was she struggling, spending for skycap assistance, and consuming a great deal of energy just to oversee and protect her belongings, her face revealed the frustration she had brought on herself.  If the trip will last two weeks, can the clothing be kept in a single suitcase and two pairs of shoes and use a Laundromat when needed?  How much camera equipment is needed?  The more carried, the most possible damage or protecting it will need.  It is better to travel light, and if something is needed, or was forgotten, acquire it along the way.  Your house is not traveling, you are.

Clothing.  Carry a daily change of clothing, Be weather aware of the destination.  Need shorts and cotton Tee”s?  A good jacket?  One pair of tennis shoes and perhaps a pair of dress shoes, both comfortable.  A hat/cap.

Shaving kit/hygiene. First aid kit.  Just the basics, a few bandaids, Neosporin, mosquito repellent, aspirin, your medications, nail clippers, soap.  Keep it simple.  Is it adventure or a beauty pageant?

Equipment.  Camping.  If you have already camped, you know the ropes. Take the necessary; leave the superfluous.  Remember, you have to haul it.  If this is your first camp experience, talk to people who have camped.  Don’t let the sporting goods salespeople talk you into buying every new and cool device.  If this is a safari photo shoot, bring the accessories you truly need.  It’s usually a good idea to read a book or two, or talk to a person who has at least a glimpse of what will be encountered.

Automobile.  Bring the emergency equipment, spare tire, Snow chains and blankets if you are headed for snow play.  Perhaps two days of canned or packed food.

Bicycle. Plastic rain tarp, bungee cords,sleeping bag, water container or desert bag, three days of clothing, one pair of shoes, bike repair tools and spare tubes, Bright clothing/hat, reflectors, bike rack. Map(s). Simple camera.  Cell phone and charger.  Diary.

Guidance.  At least have a map, if you’re headed off the beaten track or into the jungle or the wild. Get a topological map if you are hiking the mountains.  A guide may well be worth the money and save a lot of heartache.  But, at the very least, let people you know where you are going and when to expect you back.  Have periodic phone contacts so friends know your progress.

Be prepared to be adaptable.  Nothing goes perfectly smooth.  Sometimes the impromptu  or the detour will have an adventure that you never expected.

Perhaps your adventure is more grand than a hike into the mountains or a long distance bicycle trip.  If you anticipate climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, or diving into the Marianas Trench off the Philippines, the preparation for adventure is the same.  Be practical.  Simplify where possible.  Take reasonable precautions.  Stay focused on what will make your adventure a success.

Yours truly, Ed Abair

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