10 Things I Never Leave Home Without
My job takes me out on the road more often these days but I never complain. I mean, I get to experience Australia in a way so many of you dream of. I was the same years ago, but now I am Living the Dream, Sharing the Experience. What I pack each time depends on the destination, but there are a number of core items that I ensure I have as they are important in making my adventures more enjoyable, and here they are in no particular order.
Without my cameras, I wouldn’t be able to capture the amazing colours of the desert, the high country vistas, the old ruins of days gone by, the movement of the sun, the people who I meet on my journey. I still believe that a picture tells a thousand words and so I certainly make sure that my Canon 6D is always with me. The same goes for my Go Pro Hero 5, Osmo+ and DJI Mavic Pro.
The human body requires water regularly to keep it running smoothly. The warmer the conditions, the more is required. I used to carry 30 litres in three jerry cans on my roof rack, fully exposed to UV light, heated by the sun and heavy to lift on and off. One benefit was that if one cracked or leaked, I still had a couple in reserve. I have now installed a water tank that sits in the rear passenger foot-well, away from UV light and the sun (the water stays beautifully cool). It holds 40 litres and is plumbed to the rear of the Prado via a 12 volt pump.
A necessary item to keep the beer cold and the food fresh. Make sure your cables are the right size (6 or 8 B&S at a minimum, depending on the length of the run) and correctly fused (10 or 20 amp at the battery end) to ensure the fridge can draw the best current. This is usually the biggest mistake made and one way make your fridge misbehave. I am now running a myCOOLMAN 44 litre as my main fridge. New to the market, I am still seeing what this baby can do and I will be reviewing it in the near future.
I love travelling solo, but sometimes I go a little batty not having anyone to talk to. This is where Harry comes in. With his quick wit, sense of humour and ability to not pass judgment, he keeps me sane. Harry loves adventure as much as I do and loves nothing more than jumping on the bonnet and letting the wind blow through his woolen hair. A true character he is a fantastic conversation starter. If you would like your own monkey and learn about where Harry came from, you can do it all from Happily Made.
I am sometimes amazed at some of the thoughts I have flowing through my brain when I am travelling. To capture all that fuzz and turn it into an article couldn’t be done if I didn’t have my notebook. At times I can fill pages in minutes as the juices flow and these jottings help bring my articles to life more than just writing off the top of my head. It is also used to write down the details of people I meet, write shopping lists and those all important “Things To Do”. Yep, my notebook is a must and I never throw them out!
6. Hema Maps
I have OCD when it comes to wanting to know where I am, as well as know where I am going to end up and thanks to Hema Maps, I have no problem doing so. My Hema HX-1 is perfect tool for me as it can do both. It can also be used as a navigation tool when I am in a town or city I am not used to. I also run the Hema Explorer App on my iPhone or iPad as a backup. My Hema 4WD Atlas and Hema paper maps are also carried with me as they are extremely useful for plotting routes and helping out if the electronics fail or Trump decides to turn off the GPS satellites.
Now this is probably the number one item that is never left at home. The simple phone has so many uses. It not only gives me the means to communicate via a phone call, but it also handles my messages, emails, social media, photo editing, navigation, tracking, weather, Wikicamps, Wiki fuel app, music, YouTube, banking and much much more. The protective case also holds my bank cards and drivers licence.
I cannot function without music, I just love it. It hides the road noise, it sets the mood, it gives me something to sing to (badly). How many times have you been driving along and that perfect song plays that suits the time and place to perfection? Even when I am out of network range my iPod and portable speakers are heavily used. In fact the music is playing nicely in the background as I write this post. I can go without a lot of things, but music is not one of them.
Not only essential for my travel writing, my laptop is also important for editing my images and video. More importantly, I use my laptop to backup my photos, video and writings to a number of portable hard drives that I carry. Unfortunately I still haven’t perfected this process as I still seem to lose photos every now and then. I can also watch movies if I am ever in the mood.
10. Sat Phone
My Thuraya HotSpot satellite phone is the one thing that allows me to speak to my wife every day and another tool that helps keep me sane. The best part of my contract with Optus besides only paying $15 per month, is the fact that my family and friends can call my sat phone for the cost of a normal mobile phone call. It is also handy in an emergency situation and of for gaining permission to access a remote track from a property owner. The satellite phone lives in my glove box and is always fully charged.