Music and Travel: The Makings of a Modern Troubadour

A Musical Conversation Between Enthusiasts

Talk about cultural exchange. Music is a vessel filled with influence, ideas, ideologies, and insights on everyday life; it can be an explosion of passionate feeling on important topics like wars and politics, or a simple, mindless ditty about nothing in particular. Woven into the lyrics, rhythm, and progression of songs past and present is the state of the culture, and the individual, from whence the song sprouted. Walk through the downtown sector of many American city these days, and you’ll no doubt hear the plucking guitars, drum circles, and protest lyrics associated with the Occupy movement. Poke around wine country, and you’ll hear the harvesters bellowing drinking songs about the benefits of low maintenance women. Stroll through the market in an Indonesian city, and you’ll hear live traditional music clashing bafflingly with pop tunes issuing from some nearby boombox… Is that Michael Jackson? Yes it is. Continue reading

Choosing a Backpack: A Guide for Vagabonds

My Golite Pinnacle, complete with a mysterious strappy thing which I can only assume is for holding my slingshot

Backpacks are an essential tool for the most mobile of travelers. Ever since mankind’s materialism revolution (beginning with simple stone or wood implements, or perhaps a garment or two), there has been need for people on the move to bring their things with them. There are limited ways for modern international travelers to haul things, the most popular categories being backpacks and suitcases. If you are trying to decide between backpacks and suitcases, try this simple guide. Otherwise, what follows is help on choosing a backpack, because backpack is my method. My means of marvelously moving my materials.

I’ve been doing backpacks since forever. In fact, I never have done any kind of travel with a suitcase as my primary baggage mode, save for when I was too young and stupid to effectively pack and lug my own gear. Having done all kinds of backpacking, camping, and international travels, and having used many varieties of backpack, I feel I have a thing or two to say about them. Indeed, I often find myself orally ranting reviews of my current backpack situation when riding alone in a train compartment, or while killing time at the airport.

I believe that to find a good backpack that truly fits you and your needs, you must see it for yourself. Touch them, feel them, carry them around. Ask the sales people a million questions, their preferences on brands, their personal opinions, and tell them what you need from a backpack.  Ask your friends about their packs, what they like and don’t like. Asking people is a great way to learn about what things matter in a backpack, and traveling types are always excited to talk about their gear. Continue reading