Thoughts on France

I've been back from France for a week now. I can't believe we've been home for a week already but it's been that long.Looking back on our time there it seems so long ago already. As always, I miss the feel of travelling, not working, being in a new place, exploring every nook and cranny to see what surprises await.France was no different. We only spent time in Paris and Marseille and I know we missed out a lot of the French countryside, mountains and other places but there's only so much you can do in 2 weeks. We've already said we'll go back sometime soon to visit another part of Europe and make a quick stop in Paris.Things I Took to FranceI wanted to put up the list of things that I took to France because that's one of the first things I look for when I go somewhere. I want to know what people take when they travel and whether they use them or not.T1i Camera, 18-200mm lens, 50mm lens, 3 SD cards, T1i Charger, SD1100 Camera, SD1100 Charger, 1 SD cards for SD1100Mini laptop, laptop power cord, small hard drive, Phone cable, Phone charging cord, Power ConverterClothing

  • 1 white Puma shoes
  • 1 pair dark blue Jeans
  • 1 pair black jeans, black dress shoes
  • blue collared shirt
  • white plaid collared shirt
  • green collared shirt
  • brown t shirt
  • green shorts
  • 3 pair black socks
  • 1 pair short white socks
  • black rain jacket
  • merino sweater with collar
  • 4 pair of boxers
  • flip flops

Documents

  • maps on iPhone
  • paper directions to hotels
  • passport
  • drivers licence
  • 2 visa cards
  • paper copy of passport
  • paper copy of drivers licence
  • paper copy of birth certificate

Luggage

  • 1 medium size suit case
  • 1 brown leather messenger bag
  • 1 small overnight/carry-on bag

$200 Euros in cashMoleskin notebook and pen to write for journalConlin Angus book to readFrench phrase book2 paris Lonely Planet Paris booksPurchased in FranceI bought one white collared shirt, biege shorts and 4 pairs white socks while I was there.Why I took all this stuffLuggage: Initally, I was trying to pack as light as possible and it was going well. Then I started thinking about how it's only 2 weeks in another big city not travelling a ton and got lazy. I ended up taking a medium sized wheeled suitcase and a small carry on bag for my luggage. I had the messenger bag back in my suitcase just for a walking around during the day in Paris and Marseille. I really only used it to hold my camera and a bottle of water and maybe a sweater if it was cooler (which it was not the entire time).Clothes: When I was looking into France and Paris last year, I was thinking it was going to be 26 degrees when we were there. That's pretty toasty for me and my girlfriend. It's grab a beer and sit on the lake kind of weather. We had mostly packed for 12-14 degree kind of weather, hence the pants and shoes. I assumed I was going to spend the whole time in jeans and a collared shirt. I ended up wearing shorts most of the time because of the heat. I ended up buying more white sucks since they go better with shorts and my white shoes and I only had 1 pair. I bought another pair of shorts as well to change things up. Funny thing was that they were almost identical to the ones I had from Canada.Electronics: We could have brought one camera but either my girlfriend or I wouldn't be able to take photos so we brought my T1i DSLR and a small Canon point and shoot. Most of our photos were from the T1i but there were still a bunch of good ones from the small one. The computer and hard drive were to store the photos and to back them up. I shot most of the photos in raw and ended up with 50 gigs of photos. I'm working my way through them and you'll see them up on my Flickr stream as I pick out the good ones. Our iPhones were pretty useful even though we didn't use them to call anyone. We could still use the WiFi and the offline map apps to find places and get information if we needed it on the go. We tried to unlock them before we left so we could use a local sim card but they are still locked into a plan. Damn cell companies.Others: I wanted to write in my journal every day on the trip. Even if it was just a quick note about what we did that day, I wanted to get something down to remember everything later. I think back to what I can remember to the trip to Australia I did 8 years ago and I can't remember much. Even the photos don't really jog my memory. We were doing so much in Paris, it was hard to keep up. It's definitely something you have to keep on top of. I almost caught up when we went to Marseilles because there was less to do but I still have to write a few more things.We knew most of the places we wanted to see before we got to Paris but like most trips other things come or you just have a bit of extra time to fill. The Lonely Planet books are excellent for finding lodging and restaurants. I like to use them most for finding the touristy places to see. You may not be able to find a brochure in the hotel or hostel or a good website but the Lonely Planet guides are likely to have most places listed.I'm already itching to get out on another trip and see more of Europe. There are so many places to see, a few places in  in Asia and South America  have caught my eye. Time to start planning!Comments: Want to know why I brought something or how useful it was in Paris or Marseille? Let me know in the comments and I'll respond as soon as I can. You can also email me at ross.collicutt (at) gmail (dot) com.

Australia Gear Update 1

Before I left for this trip I was worried that I'd end up losing everything. My worrywort parents didn't help my thinking and assumed that everything would be stolen the first hostel I stayed in. I had never stayed in a hostel before and couldn't say for sure that wasn't going to be the case.I can say now that the people I've stayed with in the hostels have been fantastic and I've still got everything I came with. I do need to say, though, that the hostels I've stayed in haven't been the cheapest so they do attract a different sort of person than the uber-budget class of accomodation.So far all my gear has performed flawlessly. Nothing has broken, nothing has got lost or stolen. I did forget my soap and shampoo somewhere twice but those have been the only mishaps.Small Backpack - Osprey Talon 33I think this has been my favorite piece of gear this trip. Everything on it is still working perfectly, it's comfortable and it's a perfect size for the things I carry. Some of the time it could be slightly smaller but it is nice to just pack it full for long day trips or overnighters.Large Backpack - Osprey Aether 70I haven't actually used this that much. I bought the car and threw it in the back and there it sat. I'll be using it much more in New Zealand. Everything has been perfect on it so far though.Sunglasses - Julbo RacesAbsolutely love these as well. They change from category 2 tint to category 4 when it's bright out and they've got an anti-fog coating on them. I've never had them fog up and they're enough for all but the brightest days. They'd be even awesomer if they were polarized but that's asking for a lot. I really only wanted that the 3 days we were sailing so it's not that bad. My only gripe with them is that they're hard to clean, it's like the dirt sticks to them. It could be because they get dirty all the time because I wear them 24/7.Ipod - Older 4gb NanoI can't go anywhere without my tunes. I've dropped it a few times and it's still truckin along. I will cry the day I drop it and it breaks. My fingers are crossed that it doesn't happen on this trip.GPS - Garmin Colorado 300I could have done without this but it sure is nice to be able to just throw in an address and drive straight there. Sure, it doesn't talk but it definitely gets the job done. I dropped it once and the case popped off and it didn't start right away. It was a tense few minutes after. It's still kickin though!  I've been tracking my longer runs as well to put up on triptracker soon so all you lazy folk can see where I'm running ;)*update re triptracker: I tried to put the tracks and pictures up but all the times are different on the tracks and pictures and I can't sync them properly. I'll get 'er figured once I get home.Laptop - Acer One 8.9inch 160gbI'm pretty sure I would be lost without a laptop. I guess I could get used to travelling without it but how would I blog, facebook, email and listen to tunes? It just can't be done! I haven't dropped this yet and I'm really trying not to. It's been thrown around pretty good in my bag though and it's still purring along smoothly. It's probably got a layer of grease on it from all the McDonalds it's seen. They have free wireless!Camera - Canon SD1100 ISFantastic little camera. I had one of the previous versions but it succumbed to the weather after being outside with me on long hikes. This one though has shown no indications of slowing down and produces pretty good photos. I've answered a couple questions about the camera that I use because of the quality of the photos (I'm sure it has very little to do with the photographer). It looks like it's been through a war with dings and scratches everywhere. There are a couple spots on the lcd that show purple because of dings but they are small.Camera - GoPro Wide 5I haven't actually used this as much as I'd like to. I've always got it with me but I rarely think to bring it out. I think it will be of much more use in New Zealand than it has been here. I did get a fun good shots off while snorkelling on the Reef off Cairns. The real advantage of this little guy comes with all the mounts you can get. I have none of them with me right now and nothing to mount them on. I might be able to find the chest harness in Sydney so that will be one of my goals while I'm here.*update: Couldn't find the harness in Sydney. I will continue to look in New Zealand but I've concluded that the little suckers are hard to find.ClothesIcebreaker shirts. I've got 3 merino wool Icebreaker t's with me and they're fantastic. I probably could have gone the whole trip without washing them and no one would know(how do you know I haven't :P).  The first place I'm going in New Zealand is the outlet store.Board shorts. I've lived in these pretty much every day in the warmer weather. I've got a pair of North Face Autumn Trekker hiking pants that I live in for the cooler weather.Shoes - Salomon XT WingsI've been very impressed with the Wings so far. Most of my running has been on the road and they've maintained a decent layer of cushion for the whole time. They're starting to develop holes behind the heels though which I hope don't bother me until after the trip is done. One issue I do have with them is the insoles. The edges of the insoles folder over if your not careful and once it's folded over there's no going back. If it's only a little bit, it's fine but a fair amount and it rubs the bottom of your feet considerably. They've been such good shoes though, I'll be getting a new pair when I get home.Lonely Planet Guide Book for AustraliaI can't count the number of times I've opened this up to find phone numbers, addresses, maps and information on everything. I wasn't going to bring it but changed my mind at the last minute. Thanks Brett!**Update.  After I wrote this I was madly looking for my camera which I thought I had left on a table in the hostel. I found it in the bottom of my bag. I'm just dumb. Also I believe I've left one of my Icebreaker sweaters somewhere as I can't find it in my stuff. I guess it will just have to be replaced while I'm in New Zealand!