Counter-clockwise, from 11 o’clock
A Longchamps daypack. It’s backpack in style, but much smaller. In it goes my sketchbook, pencil case, half bottle of water, paper map, colored marker, perhaps a few postcards. Ziplocks for walking around snacks of the fruit/cheese/croissant variety, an Ereader, pocket Kleenex for the inevitable underserviced bathroom stalls, a nylon shopping bag that stuffs into its own pouch the size of an apple. No money. So far, no one has ever wanted to filch my sketchbook or water. A small carabiner is clipped to the strap. If I buy something too large to carry in the daypack, I can clip the shopping bag handles to the back strap of the daypack. The backpack can be pulled it around to my front for those tricky Metro rides, or slung tightly under my arm in museums where backpacks of any size are forbidden.
Around my waist and under my jeans is a money belt. Two zippered pockets divided by mesh. Soft, flexible, reasonably comfortable, and most importantly, in fifteen years of international travel, unbreached by thieves. Contains passport, credit cards and cash. This year I’m trying out a clip-on pocket the size of a credit card and zippered.
Another addition this year is a sturdy, lightweight, waterproof bag for a larger sketchbook and pencils, something I’ll take to parks. It has a long strap I’ll wear slung across my chest, so the bag is at hip level.
Pockets are indispensable to me. So many advantages! Pockets are handy, within easy reach. You don’t leave them behind on a table or hang them over the back of your chair, an unintentional offering to the poor and temptation to the weak. The small size of a pocket limit curbs the urge to carry around more than you absolutely need.
Right side: iPhone. Mine is in a Mophie case, which is great for extending battery life. From what I’ve read about pickpockets and snatch and grab, I’ll stay way from the doors of the metro, and never put it on a table. I’m going to try to limit my phone use to secure locations, versus bumbling down the streets with my nose in a text. If I need directions over and above my paper map, I’ll leave the phone in my pocket and let Google maps talk to me through my earbud. On the edge of the right pocket I clip my iPod. Don’t judge. Music got me up and down many a hilly street of Edinburgh at the end of a long,hard day of touristing.
Left side: Altoid tin, with change, and walking around cash that’s folded up and clipped with a large paperclip. Oddly enough, no one has ever stolen my mints. That’s where I stash my metro cards too.
Hoodie/ jacket/coat pocket
Right side: a petite Sony rx100 digital camera. Instead of a traditional strap mine has a sturdy elastic cord long enough to reach my pocket without tugging on my neck. Again – I can’t leave it behind or, as has happened, drop it on the stone floor of a Venetian palazzo.
Left side: a couple of sticks of lip balm, and folded paper map from a master map I’ve made numerous enlarged copies of at Kinkos. It has everything I’ve researched added by hand– the museums, shops, bistros, and markets. At the end of a day, I mark off where I’ve been in yellow highlighter and add notes (yarn shops, boulangeries, art supply stores, etc).