Packing for 2014 Bali trip

I like to sketch what I bring because It serves as a useful future reference to know what to bring or what not to bring.

Few weeks ago, I had a chat with a sketcher friend J who commented on how I can pack so few items when going on trips — she was just back from Greece where she packed one set of clothing for each day she was there. My eyes opened wide with amazement.

"Won't you need this item or that item?" she was shocked that I can travel with so light.

"But I don't need them."

Well, I'm a simple guy. I don't really need that much stuff when traveling.

I usually bring three sets of clothes including the one I'm wearing. I wear one pair of slippers and if that breaks I buy another one, and if I can't find one then I'll go barefoot. No big deal.

I don't like lugging suitcases around. Also, with fewer items, there are less things to keep track of.

These are what I'm bringing for Bali. One Pilot Tec-point V7 which I know will run out of ink based on my experience for filling up one A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. Three additional Uniball ink pens serves as backup. The small size 6 Da Vinci Maestro Travel Pocket Brush is for detail work and the Connoisseur sable watercolour pocket brush for larger washes.

Compared to previous trips, I'll no longer bring the waterbrush, Hero fountain pen and ink bottle. The waterbrush creates patchy washes for me. I've brought the Hero pen and ink many other times but not this time. I could never seem to get the Hero fountain pen to work consistently and filling ink is a hassle.

Since my last Spain trip, I've grown fond of the A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. For each A4 page, I usually spend 2 hours to sketch and colour. In one day, I can probably finish 4 pages. I'll be in Bali for 15 days so that's 60 pages which is just right. There's an extra pad of 12-sheet Daler Rowney hotpress watercolour paper just in case.

I ran out of eraser in Spain and had to buy an expensive piece at some souvenir shop. So this time I'm bringing two erasers.

Small Nutella bottle is for contain water for washing brushes.

The Po Chai Pills is for tummy aches just in case.

See that water bottle with peeled off paint? It had more paint on when I brought it to Cambodia (see sketch at the bottom).

I'm still not sure if I should bring the Velbon Maxi Mini camera tripod. It's a great mini tripod that goes to knee-height when fully extended. It will be very handy when shooting videos. If it's too heavy, I figured I can just leave it in the hotel.

My aluminium stool is breaking apart so it looks like I have no choice but to bring the Walkstool. I like it because it's of normal height chair but it's heavy.

There will be no tablets of laptops this time. Instead, I'll bring two handphones, one's a backup. I've been using the Nokia 925 Windows Phone for a year and the battery life has never been good. To get one day use without charging is almost impossible and so I had to waste money to buy another phone the HTC M8 which has a much better battery life and more functionality because of the Android system.

The nail clipper you see can double up as a sim card cutter should the need arise.

I don't usually bring guide books but there seems to be too many interesting places in Bali for me not to have one.

The power socket in Indonesia is the European type with double round pins. Power adapters are always useful. Mine even has a USB charging port which eliminates the need to bring a separate USB charger.

Everything you see above will fit into the Manhattan Portage Europa Messenger Bag. Yes, it's a messenger bag, but it has a zip underneath that lets you expand the bag by quite a bit to hold more stuff. I was able to fit all the items above into that bag, plus some toiletries not shown above. By the way, my bag is not as dirty as what's shown above — that was a watercolour mixing mistake. LOL

In previous packing list sketches (which you'll see below), many people commented that I didn't bring underwear. So the underwear sketch above is dedicated to you guys and gals.

My habit of packing light started with the Penang George Town sketching trip in 2012. The items above are what I brought to George Town.

Back then, I brought an iPad with a camera connector to backup photos. Nowadays, you can just bring extra memory cards. The iPad is good if you need to do work online.

These are for the Bangkok sketching trip in 2013. I felt quite pleased with myself with this set up. It's the most lightweight luggage ever.

I brought a good camera the Panasonic GH3 for making videos but found out the lens Olympus 17mm f/1.8 was not fast enough for shooting videos at night.

Ideally, a small sketchbook would suffice as well. That's the red Hand-book sketchbook I brought. But sometimes, you're tempted to draw big pieces so that you can get the details in.

For my Spain trip in 2013, I made some adjustments to my sketching items. I switched out the metal palette for a plastic palette with selected Daniel Smith watercolour paint.

The rest of the stuff are pretty much the same, except I added one big backpack just in case I needed to buy stuff. I was going to the Urban Sketching Symposium at Barcelona. I bought many sketchbooks and they filled half of the backpack. If I don't have that backpack, I won't buy any stuff. I'm not the shopping type and I can go on holidays without buying anything back. Before I buy stuff, I always ask myself where that item will be in the future.

In addition, I also brought along a Macbook Air for blogging on the go. Thinking back, it probably wasn't necessary. But it's good for have for a trip lasting more than 10 days. With the computer around, sometimes I do get the urge to want to work, to switch into work mode. I guess I'm sort of a workaholic. But usually after a day of walking and sketching, I'll be dead tired to do any productive work.

My two Pilot Tec-points nearly ran out of ink for sketching with the 60-page Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. So now I know that two of those pens have enough ink only for 60 pages of A4. The Hero fountain pen was giving me ink flow problems and I didn't bring it out often.

These are for the Cambodia trip in January 2014.

After the first sketch with the Hero fountain pen, I gave up and went back to the Pilot pens. That's the last time I'm going to bring the Hero pen out because it clogs easily and randomly.

I only brought one Etcetra sketchbook which has enough pages to last for the 5 day trip. But I regretted that choice because the sketchbook binding is atrocious. Another lesson learnt, do not test new drawing materials when you're overseas. Always pick something reliable.

I swapped out the Daniel Smith paints into another metal palette which is also lightweight but offers more mixing space with the additional flap.


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