I’m packed!

I’m off to India on Friday afternoon, but, being a diligent lad, I’m already packed. Here is the stuff I’m bringing with me. Note the books (underneath Dennett are two Robertson Davies books from the Deptford Trilogy that I found in the free book box outside the local Powell’s). A water bottle (to be disinfected with my iodine tablets) is a necessity, as is toilet paper in case the former doesn’t work.  I think this is still too much stuff, but it’s pretty light, as my travel clothes come largely from Rohan, and are made from easily washable and dry-able light polyamide. I’ll put a light silk sport jacket in at the end.

I’ve discovered that these nylon and mesh travel cubes are great ways to compact clothing, which can be rolled up and fitted inside: I’m bringing three: one for pants, one for shirts, and one for socks and underwear. I use the Dot & Dot versions, which come in three sizes (I get large and medium). I highly recommend these travel cubes. Indian adapters are there, and a plastic bag for toiletries (and another for my camera and connector cord). To the right of the bogroll is a mesh bag for non-liquid toiletries, containing not only the iodine tablets, aspirins, and other stuff, but also a prescription for the antibiotic Cipro in case I get an infection (I’m supposed to call or email my doctor before taking any).

Small duffel bag, which unfortunately will have to be checked, is at the bottom. My goal is to fit all the things I need for indefinite travel in my smaller Osprey suitcase/backpack.  What is not shown are all the contents of my daypack: the toiletries and liquids shown above, my computer with cords, adapters, and plugs, pens, a manila folder with tickets and information and travel snacks.


  1. Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I recommend only eating piping hot foods, and no raw vegetables, raw fruit, or tap water. Do not go swimming in any of the rivers.

    • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been there at least ten times; I’ve never been ill for more than a day with an upset tummy. Believe me, I know what to do. But thanks!

      • Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        You have well!

        • Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          Or more like: You have done well. And I hope you stay well! 🙂

    • bundorgarden
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Well I swam across the Ganges once in Varanassi. So saying, I wouldnt recommend it. Also when I saw sediment in the bottled water on sale, and observed said bottled water being filled from a tap around the corner, I just started drinking the local water. I did get some stomach trouble however. And I did meet tourists with serious illnesses such as hepatitis, so it pays not to take excessive risks.

    • Posted December 14, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Ah yes! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-41841284

  2. Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Bon Voyage!

  3. Moishe
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    You will enjoy the Trilogy. One (three?) of my favourites.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink


      • Robert
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    • Taskin
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I am re reading the Deptford trilogy right now and enjoying it immensely. I was introduced to Davies in High school with Leaven of Malice and proceeded to read everything of his I could get my hands on. 🙂

    • Lars
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. You have to ask yourself, however, what they were doing in the free book box.

  4. Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    You’ve packed very light, well done! Nice time of year to be in India — I am suitably envious! 🙂

  5. Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    And I see you have the “11th essential”: Toilet paper. Never leave home without it! (I don’t!)

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Toilet paper. Just like a trip to the woods. Too bad you can’t just pack a bathroom. Do not envy that long ride in econ. class.

  7. Mark Cagnetta
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Have a wonderful, safe trip!

  8. Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jerry, I’m curious as to whether you’ve gone the Kindle (or similar ereader route)? I doubt I’ll travel with paper books again.

    I have a kindle paperwhite and really love it. So small, so light, battery life is great. USB ports exist all over the place … wall-warts so small and light now …

    • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      No, no Kindle. I can’t read on them, and I can get all the books I want for free, from either the library or from people who send them to me. The Dennett book was a bound proof sent me by his publisher, the other two I’ll discard after I read them.

      For some reason I simply can’t read anything substantive on a computer screen. Anything I post about, for instance, I’ve always printed out on paper. I know it wastes trees, but I need paper to absorb stuff (and I don’t mean toilet paper!)

      • Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        I can’t read on a computer screen either; but the Paperwhite seems (to me) just like regular printing on white paper. (I too have to print out papers and reports and redline them with a pen.)

        I’m sure you’ve tried one; but if not, I’d recommend giving it a go.

        The only downsides for me are:
        – Small page size (but this means a small, light machine)
        – It’s pretty bad for graphics (photos, maps, etc.) this can be significant

        I was highly skeptical of ereaders and I’ve only had mine for two years; but I love it. Once I saw the screen and simple user interface (one(!) button and a touch screen) and heard of how long the battery lasts and the capacity for books, I took the plunge.

        • Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Me too. I have the older version of Kindle, with the darker screen. But I am very fond of it and use it mainly for travel.
          But for serious writing I too need paper for editing.

          • Posted December 14, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            I thought I would just use mine for travel; but It’s (by far, 98% / 2%) my reading mode now.

            I do have my camera manuals on it, travel guide books, etc.

            I also like the feature where you can email a pdf to your Kindle email account and it converts it to Kindle format and sends it to your Kindle — very helpful for odd documents.

        • Marlene Zuk
          Posted December 14, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Kindle changed my life when it comes to travel. I used to be hugely anxious about having enough to read on long trips, balanced against taking up too much room in my luggage. When I went on sabbatical I used to ship myself a box of books, which was expensive and also risked me running out anyway. Now I can check out books from the library and KNOW I will not run out. I do also read paper books when at home, but for me it’s been tremendously liberating.

      • BJ
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        I’m the same way. As has been said many times before by many people: not only is reading on a small screen for extended periods irritating, but it simply doesn’t feel satisfying like holding a book and turning its pages does. That sense of touch gives a sense of substance.

        • BJ
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          And, I should add, that I enjoy how every book has a different feeling in texture, weight, and typeface. Each book is unique, until they’re being read on a screen.

        • Posted December 14, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          I sort of get that. But it means ~nothing to me (à chacun son goût, of course). I too enjoy the aesthetics of books — but not that much. The heart of the matter for me is the words.

          Mainly, for me, holding the book, especially a 600-pager HB, just tires out my hands and makes it hard to hang onto while sipping a drink or eating a snack in my comfortable reading chair.

          For me, the small screen size is only a very tiny annoyance – and only because I have to flip the page more frequently.

          (Another nice feature on the Kindle is being able to change font size. As my eyes age, this is helpful. I could list the many advantages I see in my Paperwhite; but it won’t convince anyone. As I noted, I waited a long time to get mine. I am the very opposite of an early-adopter. I see no inherent “goodness” in technology (computers) for its own sake.)

          • BJ
            Posted December 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            I totally understand that a lot of people don’t feel the same way I do about this. I just hope you disgusting apostates don’t ruin it for us good book-readin’ folk.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 16, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

            I’m with you on both holding and seeing. I read in bed mostly because I fall asleep reading and my neck can’t take the normal way of reading due to having a spur high up on my spine. This makes big books painful to hold and I already have messed up hands from holding heavy things either reading or watching movies. Also, my eyes are changing a lot. I am very myopic & so now have cataracts so that means my prescription is constantly in flux. I therefore love the ability to change the font size.

            I bought a Sony Reader back when they first came out before the Kindle and loved it but I mostly use my iPad Mini for reading which is weird, I know. I used to find it gave me eye strain but doesn’t seem to so much anymore though I am tempted by the new, fancy Kindle because it’s waterproof, which means – books in the bathtub!!!!

      • Posted December 14, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Free is an excellent price for books! 🙂

  9. Jim Tomlin
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    You are so lucky! You get to read Fifth Business, maybe even for the first time! An All Time Fave.

  10. Mark R.
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Safe travels PCC(E)! Take a lot of moggie photos. Can’t wait to see the colorful clothing and beautiful food.

    • Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Sadly, there are few moggies in India, and they’re usually feral and in bad shape. It breaks my heart. Now food. . .

  11. revelator60
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Something to read on the plane—the TLS has just published a harsh review of A.N. Wilson’s vile Darwin biography:

    Best line: “his book offers an object lesson in how not to write the history of science, or indeed the history of anything.”

    The article also reviews (positively) three other books on Darwin.

  12. Mack
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I have to recommend Katadyn Micropur tablets instead of iodine. The iodine works faster, but I have never been able to get used to the taste. The Micropur tablets are chlorine-based so they take longer to be effective but if you allow a little air to circulate, the chlorine will evaporate and there won’t be any discernible taste left.

    • Posted December 14, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      I’m so used to the taste of iodine that, in India, the taste of the compound is synonymous to me with safety.

      • Posted December 14, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Right on! Me too! That-there is the taste of safe water! 🙂

  13. Liz
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink


  14. nwalsh
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Hope that’s Costco toilet paper :)..Safe trip Jerry.

  15. BJ
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    “A water bottle (to be disinfected with my iodine tablets) is a necessity, as is toilet paper in case the former doesn’t work.”

    I’m not sure I understand. Toilet paper in case the water bottle/iodine doesn’t work? Is there some method of filtering water using toilet paper?

    • Posted December 14, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      You’re joking, right?

      Toilet paper is required in quantity when you contract an infection from bad water.

  16. J Cook
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    You will really like the Depford trilogy. I read most of his fiction in the 70’s. Maybe it is time to read them again.

    • Lars
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Any time is time to read them again.

  17. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I too like those packing cubes. I used them this year to go to Vegas & rolled clothes in them & they really save space.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      #MeToo. 🙂 I’ve been using them for about five years now, and I love them. They make everything so much easier and tidier however you’ve travelling. I wouldn’t not use them, even when I’m only away for a couple of nights.

      I highly recommend them.

      • Pierluigi Ballabeni
        Posted December 14, 2017 at 3:48 am | Permalink

        An interesting discovery for me while reading this post. I did not know that they existed. I will try them.

  18. Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Have fun in India!

  19. philfinn7
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, you could be forgiven for thinking I am stalking you. A few years ago I managed to get you to autograph one of your books when you spoke here in Singapore. A couple of years ago I was in Chicago but you had left for Poland. A few months ago I was in Poland, just before you arrived. And this time last year I was in Chandigarh. A stalking fail really. Did you know the master plan for Chandigarh was by Le Corbusier?

  20. Posted December 13, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I roll all my items up and put elastics on them. that way when I am looking for things I can pull them out and put them back in without having to refold every thing. Travel safe. cheers

  21. Blue
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I roll everything, too. Went to Japan with
    only a 20″ carry – on. For a woman wanting, when there, to be well put together, aaaah,
    .that. was a feat. Let’s roll.


    I so do not within economy envy you,
    Dr Coyne, the 19 hours thereto. To Japan
    from O’Hare ? 13 nonstop. That is ~m’limit
    I declare ! Two hours in, I started exercising
    within the aisles and did so q2hours. Flight
    was packed. Others followed suit thereafter.
    Very many q so often = up and to the wider
    spaces within the fusilage exercising.
    No matter “what” we “looked” like.


  22. claudia baker
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Look forward to your pictures and reports along the way. Nice to be escaping, for a bit, the cold and snow. Robertson Davies – the perfect reading material for a trip. Bon voyage!

  23. Hal SCHER
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget Pepto Bismol in case you get diarrhea

    The bismuth in it kills bacteria and the pink stuff soothes.

    • Posted December 14, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Pink bismuth works great for me too (though not against serious dysentery — which requires immodium or equivalent). But I know several people for whom it does little or nothing.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 16, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        I’m just coming off a 3 week bout of something wrong with my colon & it was severe enough that i didn’t leave my house for a week. I took Pepto but it didn’t really help until I took Imodium. Now I get the dreaded double scope next month. I’m not really sure how the two of them work differently but after reading a lot of comments online, I thought I’d try out the Imodium.

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