Okay…time.  I’ve been rocking the same $20 watch for, I don’t know, a thousand years?  More?  I honestly don’t remember.  And by “same” I mean the same general design…I’ve been through, I don’t know, ten of these things over the years?  At least?  They made them super big for a few years, but it’s always the same really.  Time, date, stopwatch, alarm.

I usually break the wrist bands.  I try and tape them for a while, but then eventually the band is such a mess of medical tape and gorilla tape and it’s still falling apart and it get’s all sticky and I just can’t deal…so I add it to the pile of backup watches that I give to friends or keep in bulkier first aid kits.  Then it’s back to the gear store or the running shop, “I’m looking for a $20 watch” and the person behind the glass case of fancy watches looks down with a frown, “yeah I don’t know if we have anything that cheap”.  Some times they really don’t, they always have a $40 watch that does the same thing mine does and they will try and sell me that one…but on several occasions I’ve found the $20 tucked away in some back corner of some other case…and that’s a little awkward.  I’ll be like “what about this one?” and often it’s a dude who’s like “…uh, I don’t know, I didn’t know we had those, let me see…um, yeah it’s $20” and they look at me sort of side ways and there’s this long pause.  And I’m like “yeah, I’d like the $20 one” at which point they figure this is the best their going to get and ring me up.

No I don’t want a bag.

These watches have been through a lot with me.  White water rapids, without a boat.  Countless cliff faces.  Medical simulations.  All-nighters in the woods carrying canoes with a group of students.  It keeps my organized and on track day after day.

In the world of phones telling the time and watches that tell you what you’re phone is doing I still find it useful to wear a regular old watch with the time on it.

Computers though…

I didn’t really grow up with computers, not till I was in my teens any way.  And it was my late teens before I owned a computer and my early twenties before my family got internet at home.  And all that said I’ve taken to them pretty quickly, they just made sense to me some how…I mean they didn’t make sense and still down’t on a deeper level, but I have a knack for figuring things out and my curiosity and patience have taught me a lot about computers over the years.

I was just looking at getting a new laptop, I want to edit videos in the wilderness, it’s a long story…but the point is, I still remember wandering into best buy with my brother to buy our first computer.  It was $500 and in hind sight it wasn’t too special but to us it was like the freaking sword in the stone and we were walking home with it!  So exciting!  Sharing a computer was financially good but logistically less awesome, so before long I got my own.  I learned to edit videos on it and overheated it so bad along the way that I managed to brick the battery twice.

Then there was sort of this life altering point when I got a DSLR of my very own, and got and built my own desktop pc, and HOLLY SHIT!  It was like suddenly walking into a different world…and by learning about and buying parts and connecting them together I learned what a CPU looks like and what it does, and if I never need to touch a CPU again that’s great too 🙂  It’s been a great machine, still is, and the only thing I’ve felt the need to upgrade is drives.  More storage space, external backup drives, and a new SSD for the OS…at which point you’re either slightly bored or totally lost, so moving on…

The thing works great but it’s a beast, it’s huge, it’s very very much a desktop computer and as my old lap top was heavy and the battery was dead I needed something to use on the go…and that’s how I wound up with the polar opposite of my desktop…a god awful tiny laptop that rides on the very specific strength of charging by USB power and not being a tablet.  It runs windows, the battery last forever, and I can charge it from a little solar panel.  So I can do a lot of writing and back photos up to hard drives all from a tent in a ditch in New Mexico (I know this for a fact).  What it can’t do is edit photos or videos…and so as I move more and more in the direction of story telling through images I’m looking around again.

And WOW!  For the price of my first laptop all those years ago I can get something roughly twice as good.  Twice the screen resolution, twice the processing speed, twice the battery life, even the USB ports are twice as fast!  And solar panels have gotten twice as good and twice as cheap and half the weight…so this could be a thing.

Which would be real fun.  Editing from my tent?  That’s like next level digital nomadery right there 🙂

And it beings to mind all the gear that has enabled me to do many of the things I’ve done.  I’ve eaten so much food cooked on backpacking stoves in places where there really wasn’t any alternative.  I’ve crossed hundreds on hundreds of miles in countless pairs of hiking shoes, not to mention hundreds and hundreds of miles in a single pair of hiking boots.

Three backpacking packs and a bunch of other backpacks have hauled all my stuff around not to mention computer bags and duffel bags…sleeping bags…tents…sleeping pads…rain gear that’s fought off rain but also snow and sleet and wind and mud and fake blood…so many socks.  Everything has enabled me to go out and do something.  But I’m still the one doing it.

Many people will try and sell you on this idea that if you have the right gear you will be awesome…it’s not like that, go be awesome, and when your current gear holds you back get something different…find gear that wont hold you back, that get’s out of the way and let’s you do things, stuff that fades into the background while quietly functioning…don’t expect your gear to go ahead and pull you along.  You do the stuff awesome stuff!

Speaking of awesome stuff, I’m just beginning to look at the photos and video from the cycle tour, it’s been a good long month since we got back, I’ve moved and set up my little office nook and now I have a month to work up this little film.  It might be good, it might not, it will be a lot of work and I should probably get going on it.

I like taking photos and editing them and all that feels pretty comfortable,  I feel comfortably good at it.  Video is totally different, cumbersome and awkward, and I’m definitely not good at it.  But it’s been a great practice in letting go and finding the joy in things I’m not very good at.  If you want to see pretty pictures you can find me on Instagram and if you want to see the efforts of my strugle to learn to deal with video you can find me on YouTube, which is quietly horrifying because other might actually watch that stuff 🙁

Like I said, it’s a really good practice in being humble and doing something creative despite the obstacles in the way.

But seriously, where can you get a good Chai Latte?  The last good one I had was in Hartford CT back in October when we got kinda lost…total dumb luck.  I kinda want to go back though…

It’s not just tea with mick and sugar, it’s a freaking Chai!  Maybe I’ll just have to go to India after all.

Okay, that’s a wrap, hope you’re having a good day and getting away from the screen to play outside!!!  That’s where the life is, somewhat literally.

Cheers, Simon