I love to travel and explore, and I've found that travelling light is the way to go. I've also recently decided to work on my photography skills to help me better document my travels.
So the title of this online notebook has at least two meanings:
And as might be deduced, this blog will tend to focus on the topics of travel (specifically ultralight, minimalist travel) and photography (probably tips and notes to myself that might prove helpful to other aspiring photographers).
“Carry less!” is probably the most useful travel tip ever, even if it is fairly common advice. Over many years and many trips, as I've tried to heed this advice, my travel gear has dwindled and lightened and compacted to the point that for most trips, my gear fits in a small (6 liter) shoulder bag that weighs about 4 pounds.
Admittedly, in addition to the small bag over my shoulder, some of my most commonly used items such as a small notebook and camera are carried in pants pockets or on my belt (see my post Ultralight Travel Gear List: Travel the World with a Six Liter Shoulder Bag). But the bulkiest contents are in my bag, and generally those items are for keeping me comfortable in varying weather conditions in temperate climates. If I were planning a trip where I'd be exclusively in the the tropics or otherwise in an area with less variable temperature and precipitation, perhaps I wouldn't carry a bag at all!
So why do I travel in an ultralight fashion? If you have traveled with large and heavy luggage, you may have already discovered that traveling with a big bag is often quite literally a pain in the neck (and back!). But aside from avoiding physical strain, you might not have considered many of the other extremely liberating aspects of ultralight travel. With a small, light bag you can easily carry all of your gear with you all of the time, which gives you a tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility.
Changing trains, and have an hour to kill? If you're traveling with heavy luggage, you'll probably just hang around the train station, since it's too much bother to lug everything around or look for a place to store it for such a short time. But with a small, light bag, you can breeze out of the station and easily wander, explore, and get a glimpse of a town you would have otherwise missed.
Chatting in a cafe with some locals and discover there is a crazy, once-a-year festival happening tonight several towns away, but the last bus leaves in fifteen minutes? Since you are probably carrying everything with you in your small bag, no need to return to your hostel to get your luggage, so you'll probably be able to make it! (Paying for a hostel bunk you won't use is a small price to pay for what will likely be a very memorable experience.)
This is a fairly minimal but very versatile gear list that shows the items I commonly carry for trips where I won't be camping. I don't take everything on this list for every journey, but everything on this list fits into a 6 liter shoulder bag, pants pockets, and a couple of belt pouches.
Tom Bihn's Small Cafe Bag (6-liter capacity), packed and ready to go!
For more on why and how I came about developing this gear list, check out my previous post, Ultralight Travel: Carry Less! In later posts, I will provide more notes and details about how I pack and use the gear, since some of the items and all of their uses might not immediately be clear (e.g., three common uses for my sunglasses strap, and why I sometimes carry an expired passport).
The list is organized by general categories, and the type of item is listed first, followed by a link (when available) to the specific item I use. Items marked “optional” are items that I frequently leave behind, depending on the specifics of the trip. Many of the links for the items go to Amazon.com, which provides a convenient place to get basic info and reviews about the items. However, you might be able to find better reviews and prices elsewhere, so do your research! If you do happen to buy anything from Amazon after following the links, I will get a small percentage of the price of your purchase – thanks!
Reference tables for the 35mm Equivalent Apertures and 35mm Equivalent Focal Lengths for the Sony RX100M3.
I've been reading through photography books such as Understanding Exposure and The Art of Photography which discuss different apertures (f-stop numbers) for 35mm format cameras and how they affect your photos. Since I am using a Sony RX100M3 instead of a 35mm camera and wanted to have a better idea of how those numbers translate to my camera, I generated the table below. This provides quick reference to the 35mm equivalent apertures for the f-stop settings which are available on my camera, as well as the RX100M3 equivalent apertures for standard 35mm f-stop numbers.
In each column of the table, bold numbers indicate a standard f-stop number for that camera, while italic numbers indicate an equivalent aperture, which most likely is not a standard f-stop number that you can actually select on the camera.