So I've been doing some major product research and planning for Indonesia and the month after. I've pretty much cornered my clothing retailers to Ralph and J. Crew. I am not looking to get a lot of clothes. I want to travel light. It's still hard to believe that a few months from now I'll be in Indonesia- the other side of the world teaching & learning.
Back to the research:
Why: Soft, durable, quick dry, simple design. I'm not trying to attract much attention and I plan to live lightly on the road/train. Their clothing tends to fit me really well too. I hope that stays true after I put on a bit more muscle.
Another more contentious arena of research has been the camera. A tough thing for me is settling. I general look to find the best and find it difficult to differ to secondary or tertiary options if it is at all within my means to do otherwise. I lost my previous camera during some mismanaged baggage with Greyhound. I lost some great clothing too; I'm talking favorite shirt, favorite jeans, favorite socks, favorite/only khakis. It was a good camera but carting it across Europe showed me that I'd want something smaller. So, there's the struggle. A compact camera with shots closer to the big boys. Well, there is such a category, "Premium Compacts".
Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3
Great picture quality. small form factor. HD video. great lens & processing engine
Great pictures. Very easy/fun to use. auto lens cap. optical view finder
Pansonic Lumix TZ6
Good pictures. Good price. True compact. Good zoom
Each camera has its' strengths and drawbacks. The biggest hurdle for the LX3 is price (also for the G10). The LX3 also uses a lens cap. The G10 is the bulky-somethings I wanted to avoid. The TZ6 doesn't allow as much photo adjustments and I'm not sure how the photo quality stacks up to the other two as it is not technically in their 'class'.
I still have to visit more camera shops and try them out. See how the they feel comparatively. Ultimately, it's up to the TZ6 to win it or lose it. The TZ7 price is too similar to the LX3 for me to not kick in the rest and bump up. The G10 is the underdog. The other picture qualities will have to fall noticeably short for it to pull the W. We'll see how things work out.
The final frontier of product research is the travel backpack. This backpack with have to be durable, able to hold at least 3-5 days of clothes, carry well-waist strap, and have some water protection. Patagonia is leading the race with two offerings.
Has 3 carry modes (including backpack style). carries 3-5 days of clothes, several compartments. lightweight
Patagonia MLC Dawn
Pure backpack design. tight structure. 3 days clothes. padded 15" laptop area
Both have their strengths and weaknesses. I try to think which would be the most handy during the tour of Europe where I'll be moving from city to city, some nights sleeping on the train. It's gotta be something I won't mind carrying back and forth.
There are plenty of days, weeks left toe prepare and try these products out. I'll let you know what gets got.