Categories
Philosophy Of Travel Planning & Logistics Technology

High-Tech or Low-Tech?

There’s a balance to be struck between taking too many and too few techy gadgets on an expedition. I’m a bit schizophrenic in this area. I’d like to say I’m a natural Ludditenaturally frugal — last year I hitched home from Armenia with only a knife, phone and poncho — but I also greatly value the usefulness of certain technologies.

But some technologies become nothing but a fad, or — worse — create more problems than they solve. Over-complicated computer systems in small libraries. GPS navigation units which send drivers merrily trundling into rivers, despite warning signs and the presence of bridges. Fashion accessories, which also happen to play music; several times the price of equivalents from companies other than Apple. Phones for which 99% of the functionality has nothing to do with the act of making a call. What was wrong with those little pink library cards anyway?

Categories
Budgeting & Finance

How To Plan Financially For Long-Term Travel (And Stay On The Road Forever)

When I left home in 2007, it was simple. I had 700 Euros stashed in my luggage, a current account containing £3700 GBP with a Visa Debit card to get at it, and a couple of emergency credit cards. I’d be as stingy as possible, because it wasn’t much! But it was all I had, and I aimed to make it home before I was in the red.

English road-signs

Now, my bank balance is actually higher than it was when I left.

I’m going to share with you some of the ideas I’ve learnt from others and put into practice myself in order to do this, lest you depart on a long, open-ended journey believing that your finances are limited to what you set out with.

Categories
Craft & DIY Equipment

How To: Build A Bicycle Wheel In Ten Easy Steps

People fear wheel-building. None more so than touring cyclists. Nobody, apart from a tiny elite of skilled craftsmen in scattered bike shops across the world, should dare impinge on this secretive world of mechanical artistry.

But we all have a capacity for art, don’t we? Could it really be all that difficult? I had a new rim to fit to Tenny’s bike, which would involve taking apart the rear wheel in its entirety and rebuilding it from scratch. So I decided to find out what this wheel-building malarkey was all about. After four and a half hours of careful labour, I held in my hands what appeared to be a nice straight new wheel.