Travel Gear

As part of putting off actually writing about the trip, a task which still seems far too monumental to be attacked successfully, I’m going extoll some of the great gear which I really appreciated during this trip.

First is luggage.  You can’t really travel without carrying something with you.

I used my Tom Bihn Id laptop bag (which I still totally adore), with the laptop sleeve removed (I went sans-internet) as my books/snacks/passport/etc… bag.  It was light and roomy, with easy access pockets for tickets, and secure zippered pockets for wallets and keys.

I recently bought a carry-on sized rolling suitcase.  The last piece of luggage I bought was a huge black Atlantis suitcase in 1998 when I got my first job which required travel.  It’s been remarkably good considering I bought it based on it being the cheapest bag I could find.  However, I’ve been traveling a bit lately, for work and for pleasure, and I rarely need enough clothes to justify a large suitcase, so I decided to splurge and get a carry-on suitcase.  I bought a Tumi Ducati 22″ Expandable Wheeled Carry-On Suiter.  Try saying that five times fast.

It’s a smaller carry-on bag, at only 22″ versus some 24″ or 26″ ones.  This means that it fits in virtually all overhead bins wheels in/out instead of having to go in sideways and take-up 3/4 of the bin with one person (and I use person in the loosest possible way)’s one bag.

You people know who you are.

Also, it’s Tumi, and really really well made.  Waterproofing on all the zippers, thick stitching thread, etc…  It’s also well engineered with a reversible direction asymmetrical handle which feels better than any other bag I’ve tried.  It holds a ton, it has a great suit carrying compartment, which can be removed for casual trips.

Plus: Ducati!  How could I pass it up?  It also color matches my Tom Bihn bag (black and red).

I’ve used it for my trips to New Mexico, San Francisco, and France.  It’s always held everything I needed without expanding, and been a real pleasure.  Having everything with you as a carry on, makes checking in, and leaving the airport much smoother and faster.  Plus nothing will get banged up, lost, rifled through, etc…  Huge fan.

The next item I want to call out is my point-and-shoot camera.  I love my Canon digital SLR, but it’s big, heavy, fragile, etc… Not great for taking to France and carrying around all day.  Especially when I’ll be taking touristy shots for the web.  So I bought a Canon SD1000 a while ago.

It’s TINY!  It fits easily in the front pocket of my jeans, and I can walk around all day without noticing it.  It starts up and shuts down quickly making it easy to whip out, shoot a photo, and put it back in your pocket without having to hold up everyone while you’re monkeying around with your camera.

It has a great battery.  I was in France for 8 days.  During that time I shot over 400 photos, and reviewed the photos using the bright 3″ LCD at least twice for all of the photos.  All of this using the standard battery which I charged before I packed in Seattle.  The battery lasted the whole time without issue.  Contrast that to some of the other digital cameras which were chewing up AA batteries on an almost daily basis.  With my 2 GB SD card, I didn’t need to carry cards, batteries, chargers, or anything.  Just the camera itself.  In my pocket.

The photos are great.  I think it does an amazing job for it’s size.  No, they aren’t D-SLR quality, but for a point and shoot, they blow me away.  It also has an excellent selection of manual setting options, so if I want I can really tweak the settings, just like on my D-SLR.

Another great piece of gear that really made the trip go smoothly.

France

I spent a week in the South of France with my wife and her family.  It was amazing!  I haven’t posted about it yet, because it’s hard to figure out what to say.  It was an amazing week, full of cool experiences to relate.  Way too much to put into a single blog post.

Here’s a high-level rundown of the timeline:

Friday:  Fly from Seattle to Paris

Saturday: Land in Paris; Fly to Nice; Go to Villa in La Napoule; Be jet-lagged

Sunday: Drive to Monaco; Walk around; See Top Marques Monaco Supercar Show

Monday: Drive to Bandol wine region

Tuesday: Drive to Juan les Pins; Shopping; Amazing Yachts

Wednesday: Everyone went to Nice but I stayed home

Thursday: Hang out and enjoy the view, town, food, etc..

Friday: Some more hanging out

Saturday: Fly from Nice to Paris; Fly from Paris to Seattle

I’ll post more about it bit by bit.  But it was an amazing trip!!!

You can check out pictures here:  France 2008