Tell us a bit about yourself
I recently graduated college and headed out to Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong for 5 months to do a little travel and work. I've been working in the Industrial Design field and producing music for the last 4 years or so. Both design and music production are somewhat easy to do on the go, so I spent a lot of time during my travels sitting down at coffee shops from 8 to 5 and cranking on various projects.
What's your favorite destination?
Anywhere! I typically like to avoid the touristy destinations and find situations where I can live a typical everyday life in the environment. I think it's useful in helping one find comfort no matter where they are.
The locations I have enjoyed most for chilling and working are Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Hoi An, Vietnam, and Chiang Mai, Thailand.
What are your “Trusty Three” travel items?
- Keychain Duct Tape: Duct tape can be the handiest tool when you travel. This small keychain keeps the tape a manageable size and is always ready to go.
- Technora Cord: I've never had to actually use this yet, but it's the smallest 600 pound cord I've ever found and disappears inside my emergency kit easily. There are rare, but important situations when you need something like this, but when you don't have it, you end up having to do something crazy like tie t-shirts together which is no fun.
- Fenix PD22 LED Flashlight: Fenix makes a weirdly large selection of different LED flashlights. I chose the PD22 because it was one of the more compact models that had a pocket clip, but also put out a large amount of light. In general, I've found it useful to keep a very bright flashlight with me when traveling. They're great during power outages in rural, less-developed areas, and they're bright enough to temporarily blind someone in a sketchy situation. Fenix is my favorite brand for these cause of the high-quality aluminum waterproof builds.
What's your favorite travel hack?
Having a snack box and utensil with you is great. I kept a resealable container from some supermarket kimchi and it became super useful when buying meals or nuts from street vendors.
There are a lot of street vendors in SE Asia who will give you a meal in a takeout container, add a plastic spoon or four, and then put the whole thing in a plastic bag. When street food became one of my most common food sources, I got pretty bothered by the amount of waste I was generating from it. Using the resealable box and a Chinese soup spoon that one of my hostels gave me helped mitigate the waste.
Are there any pieces of gear or travel technology you wish existed that don't?
Yes. A better mason jar that's completely safe for hot liquids and food, is a little bigger than the current size, and doesn't have a complicated lid that rusts.
What’s a weird piece of travel gear you've come across?
The selfie stick. A friend with hands costs less.
Any other general travel stories, advice, or packing & organization tips you’d like to share?
I have a large top loader backpack which is an unfortunate design choice in my opinion, because it causes all of your belongings to fall to the bottom of the bag, resulting in a teardrop shaped backpack. The best way I've learned to combat this is to roll my larger clothing items (shirts and pants) into long rolls and stuff them vertically in the bag. This allows me to see everything I have from the top, and keeps them from squishing into the bottom of the bag.
You can find Dan's design work at DanTaylr.com.