We spent a weekend at the St. Regis in Dana Point back in 2001 when we lived in Santa Monica. It had just opened and was the most glamorous resort in Orange County. Fortunately it was affiliated with Starwood, Tom’s preferred hotel chain for business travel, so we could use points to stay for free. We pulled up in our Land Rover to a valet lane filled with Bentleys, Rolls Royces and Ferraris. As the valets opened the doors, out tumbled three kids, a hodgepodge of duffle bags and backpacks, and an assortmentof snacks purchased at a nearby supermarket. In an atmosphere of elegance and wealth, we felt like Jed Clampett and his family rolling into Beverly Hills. Now any time we enter an upscale hotel, we think to ourselves, “Here Come the Clampetts.”
For this trip, we might look like something out of a high-tech Everest expedition rather than a 60’s sitcom. Every travel guru we read says take less, less, less. Even those RTW trekkers who think they’ve started with the bare minimum end up ditching half of it along the way. So we’re working on putting together a minimalist wardrobe of breathable, quick-dry fabrics, a compact all-purpose medical kit, and just enough electronic gadgets to keep us wired and cover the kids’ school needs. Everything we’re taking is going to fit in the four carefully fitted backpacks we bought at REI for me, Tom, Dax and McKane. Kieran and Asher, whom we collectively designate the “little bits,” will have small packs sufficient to carry a journal, some crayons, and maybe a Gameboy. We’re going to try to scan all our guidebooks into our laptops over the next few months, so even they can be left behind. We know we’ll have to buy things here and there along the way as the need arises, but the goal is to streamline our needs and possessions, so we’ll be light on our feet and ultra-portable, truly a family on the move.
Tom will be posting a list of his must-have gear and gadgets soon on the Gear page.