We’re beginning to get serious about our attempt to travel the trans siberian.
Technology is the easy part – either our old Asus netbook, which has the virtue of being light and robust, or possibly the windows netbook – which is a little bit heavier. The real discriminant will be whether the old Asus netbook with its older browser copes well with the sites we use a lot.
Blog posts and notes can be saved to either a memory stick or an SD Card, and I still feel there’s a lot to be said for Moleskine notebook and a couple of good quality pens.
Either netbook will give us skype, and we have an old Nokia 2G phone with an Estonian (!) phone number as backup.
The real problem is clothing. The bane of travel really is laundry and getting it done.
Upscale hotels in Europe and the States usually provide a good if expensive service. In south east Asis you can usually find a laundry that will wash (usually very robustly) t-shirts and undies for a couple of dollars.
Travelling the train will be different. While we’ll have stops along the way we’ll need some quick drying easy wash clothes – but preferably ones that look half decent.
And that’s the problem – undies are not too much a problem but finding decent looking travel pants and shirts is a little bit problematic. Basically we need clothes that can wash and dry overnight in a hotel shower, but which are breathable enough to sit in for a long time.
This is quite important – we’ll be on the train for several days at a time with minimal washing facilities. While we can probably manage a strip wash in the wash hand basin we’ll definitely need to freshen up at the end of each leg. The implications is that our clothes will need to as well.
I tend to prefer natural fibres as they don’t build up a pong quite so quickly, but natuatl fibre clothing eg canvas pants, tend to be heavier, and take longer to dry than synthetic. They also tend to look better.
So the trick is to find stuff that’s a compromise – looks good enough to be presentable, doesn’t get smelly quickly and yet washes out easily – if it’s sufficiently lightweight we can of course take an extra change. Based on our trip to Laos in 2005 we need to aim for between 12 and 14Kg to be able to lug stuff about comfortably, especially as we’ll be lugging bags on and off trains.
Having had to run the length of Milan station before now, while dragging two cases and toting a 10 kilo overflow bag we’ll definitely be aiming for light – one backpack and a small daysack each.
This probably means only taking the basics plus some better looking casual city clothes for Moscow and Petersburg.
If we end up in London, as we plan to we can pick up a few extra clothes there, and if we want to save weight on the return flight send them back ahead of us.