Toshiba nb255 netbook ($290)
Necessary for checking email, maintaining the blog, researching itineraries, skyping, backing up photos, securely managing online finances, and most importantly keeping up with Stanford sports. All the netbooks had literally the same technical specs, so we picked this because it had (by far) the best trackpad, mouse buttons, and keyboard layout.
Canon sd940 camera ($160)
We debated getting something more expensive (Canon S90), but decided on the more compact sd940 because we expect our camera to get lost or stolen at some point and we’ll feel less sad this way. We also purchased two extra batteries and two 8gb sd cards.
It holds 10,000 books in a device smaller and lighter than one book. It can download new books from anywhere in the world. And we can use it to broadcast short updates on our twitter feed even in places where there’s no internet connection (it connects to international cell phone networks). These are important features when you’re spending dozens of hours on buses in places that don’t sell English novels.
For checking email and surfing the internet on hostel’s/restaurant’s wifi networks, listening to music and audiobooks, playing video games, and an alarm clock. If we jailbreak it we can buy local sim cards and use it as a phone, but we haven’t found that worthwhile yet. Update: Currently damaged thanks to Kasey’s acrobatics over a waterfall. May replace with an extra one we have back home.
Flip video recorder
We thought we’d use this for quick video clips, but since our camera already records videos, the Flip has just been gathering dust. Will probably send this home when we can.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch
This watch isn’t for telling the time. Whenever we go for a run or hike we turn this on and it tracks our coordinates via GPS. Then afterwards we can see our route overlaid on a satellite map.
Headlamp, flashlight, book light, USB flash drives
No explanation needed for most of the above, but here are some key items:
Hanging Toiletry case
With mirror, mesh pocket, detachable makeup case
We brought travel size and replace as we go, either swiping from hotels or buying locally, where we usually find small sizes
This was one of Kasey’s favorite purchases. Small plastic cases that just cover the brush head.
One big bottle for our first month with 2 smaller ones. Have found it relatively easy to find so we are planning to just keep buying. Hope its available in all countries.
Sink plug (essential), clothes line (just okay – sometimes hard to find something to fasten it to or it is the wrong length. the braided style is nice since it means we don’t need clothespins. bought a bar of laundry soap.
Shaving – Razor, oil, blades, shave cream
Off bug spray – small travel size with high deet
Medkit – bare minimum. Band aids, small ointment packs, painkillers, Cipro.
Dr Bronners soap – not as effective as we had hoped for laundry washing.
Vitamins – Since we often can’t eat balanced meals
Earplugs – Hostels, overnight bus rides, and Kasey’s snoring can be loud