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In the (very near) future I'm going to write a comprehensive article about why and how to pack light, so make sure you're RSSed up and ready for that in the next week or two.
Consider this the prequel. The most important part of packing light is the bag, and I'm proud to say that I've found the ultimate bag for packing light, the Deuter Futura 28.
I found the Deuter Futura 28 by accident. I was at Whole Earth Provisions in Austin, Texas, getting ready for my 10 month trip around the world. I needed a bag.
I looked at the North Face bags, the Osprey bags, the Arcteryx bags, and all of the other usual suspects. None of them stood out.
As I was about to leave I saw a bag tucked away in the far corner. It was pushed back into the rack so that only someone obsessively evaluating every single bag would find it. That's me.
I had never heard of Deuter, so I assumed they must be some no name budget brand. After just a few minutes of examination, though, I realized just how wrong I was. This was the ultimate bag for the light packer.
A little under a year ago I decided to get serious about working out and keeping my body in peak shape. After a ton of research (the kind that finds all these cool things that I write about every week), I decided that Crossfit was the best possible choice.
Not only is it great for strength, endurance, dexterity, power, and a number of other metrics, but it's also efficient. That means that instead of spending an hour in the gym I can spend just 20-40 minutes and still get huge results.
This is acheived by combining huge compound movements which work out several muscles at once with old fashioned weights.
The favorite tool in the Crossfitter's arsenal is the formidable kettlebell.
To fully experience Taiwan's natural beauty, there's one destination that is universally praised: Sun Moon Lake.
It's the largest lake in Taiwan, and is so beautiful that Chang Kai Shek, Taiwan's first president, built a house there to vacation.
In 1997, after an earthquake destroyed his house, the lot was purchased and after five years of construction Taiwan's only six star hotel, The Lalu Hotel, was built. Shortly after it joined the ranks of Design Hotels, a premiere group of international boutique and luxury hotels.
I recently had the chance to stay there for a few nights and meet with the manager of the hotel to get the full tour.
When, after waiting a full six months, the chairman received the blueprints from the architect, he was furious. They showed a very simple design with long straight lines and no curves at all. For what would become the best hotel in Taiwan, it didn't seem very fancy.
The chairman was calmed down and after some convincing agreed to build the hotel according to the blueprints. The result, as it stands today, is a building which relies on high quality materials and workmanship, rather than gimmicks or fancy veneers.
This attitude doesn't stop with the architecture, but rather is echoed throughout the entire experience of staying at The Lalu.
Wait... don't skip this article. I know on the surface it looks like an article about zip lock bags, but soon you'll realize that it's a lot more.
It's a story about love, lust, and the beautiful simplicity of good design.
We were in Panama, taking a motorized dugout canoe to the tiny island of Isla Robinson. Our first warning sign should have been when the pilot of the canoe handed us a tablecloth.
The entire thirty minute boat ride was spent with us frantically trying to use the tablecloth to parry the spray's advances towards our cameras. The video camera didn't make it - now it stays zoomed all the way in all the time.
"We've got to get waterproof."
I love hotels, especially nice ones. It's great to know that you have a comfortable place to come home to after a full day of adventure in a foreign city. However, in Japan hotels are expensive, and if you've got a limited budget you can get more bang for your buck spending your money elsewhere.
I had this idea a week ago, and have been dying to write about it. But first I had to test it out firsthand to make sure that it actually works and is practical.
The one prerequisite is that you get a JR rail pass. If you come to Japan, this is an absolutely essential purchase. Basically you pay a fixed fee (just under $300 for a week or up to $570 for three weeks) for unlimited travel on all Japan Railways trains. This will take you all the way from Hokkaido in the north (where I am right now) to Fukuoka in the South. Everywhere.
The JR pass is good for travel on all of the JR trains except for sleeper trains and the fastest bullet trains, which is no big deal since the second fastest are almost as good.
However, I have found a loophole in the sleeper train rule. Certain sleeper trains have beds which are classified as seats, and can thus be used with the rail pass.
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