I have no idea what I am doing. Literally none. I travel often domestically so I am comfortable with packing for that. But this is an interesting trip because not only am I traveling internationally but then I am hiking and taking photos. I've spent the better part of three months running this through my head. Here is what I have come up with.
The hike: I am fortunate that we have a shuttle moving our luggage from hotel to hotel so I don't have to pack like I am backpacking. And I have watched numerous YouTube videos to see what the trail is like, it's pretty tame. It's not like hiking to Lawn Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park which has a HUGE ascent over the distance of the trail. My daughter Alaina and I backpacked that trail many years ago. It was excruciating for me at the time. But I had a 75 pound pack and I was out of shape (uhhh I'm out of shape now too sooooo). Anyway, I had to get a pack that could be used for both my camera gear and day packing. I had a hard time finding a pack that could hold water, go figure right cause water and camera gear does not jive. I ended up getting the Thule Aspect DSLR camera bag and just tucked a water bladder in the sleeve designed for a laptop.
The next consideration was clothing. I am not a fan of big, clunky hiking boots. They are never as comfortable as they should be. The trail is asphalt and small gravel, no wild river crossings or steep climbs so I kept it simple, some basic athletic shoes and one pair of Merrell Moab hiking shoes. Honestly, I am not as impressed as I should be by these hiking shoes. The sole is very hard, the inserts are paper thin. They are not comfortable for long days. Even after having worn them for a few weeks they just aren't right. But I am taking them anyway. One thing I have learned about my feet, besides that fact that they are not making me much money on OnlyFans, is that mixing it up every day helps.
Clothing seemed pretty straight forward. Breathable, comfortable shirts not made of cotton and some convertible pants that can quickly change to shorts. I imagined myself changing pants to shorts on the trail in another country and violating some sort of local law and ending up in a jail in a small village in Northern Spain. So pants that can be made into shorts fast seemed smart. My guide Matt Shoup www.mattshoup.com/ provided a list with lots of these ideas including compression underwear. This I could not see working for me. Honest talk here - the twig and berries do not like compressed spaces. So I opted for a much more "freeing" set of drawers - the Chill Boys soft bamboo boxers. They are cool, loose and comfortable, breathable and they tell responding paramedics "This guy put some thought into his jockeys" or something like that.
The nights: I am one of those guys who has to wear a CPAP mask at night. I think there is a direct correlation to when we stopped making crotch goblins and me donning a sexy mask every night.... but I digress. The CPAP takes a lot of space in your luggage. Yes I can carry it separate as a "medical device" on the plane but I am already carrying my camera bag, a laptop, and a copy of "Oh the Places You Will Go" - the coloring book version. And to use any electronic device in Europe you gotta use a convertor. I thought I would take two but then I thought why not bring a small powerstrip and then I only need one convertor. I also will need to charge camera batteries and hopefully upload images and blogs to social media. I also sleep better with some white noise. I can't bring a fan so I am going to use a headband with headphones inside (Thanks Alaina).
Camera gear: I plan on taking photos while hiking and also want to grab some cool images at night. I am hoping one of our coordinators in Spain can maybe help arrange for a portrait session, maybe a woman and man flamenco dancing in the streets at night? Either way I am bringing two Flashpoint ad200 lights, one MagMod "boob". gels, a 12" Westcott octa modifier and an expandable handheld light pole. My fellow photog/videographer Brian Edman is going and we have agreed to help each other by acting as human light stands etc. I think the architecture will be outstanding as well and I am looking forward to shooting some of amazing history. Mostly I am looking forward to capturing what I think will be a life changing experience for the men on this journey.
Thanks for reading, I will be leaving at 6am for Spain, see you on the other side of the pond!