Backpacker Travel Trends and Culture Blog

Izuno Travel

A New Lifestyle Design Project

September 21st, 2009 by Jordan


I’ve recently been weighing what is “good” vs the cost of that “good” subject.  There is no doubt in my mind any effort is worth the risk to obtain your own goals.  But I also feel there are times when all must be demolished to obtain sanity for future endeavors.

Okay, enough of the deep thinking.  Here is what I’m trying to accomplish.  I want to come to a place where the mind is shut off from basic reality.  I want to come to a place where everything stops going and everything stops coming.  It is extremely difficult, and short of trading in my mac pro for a trip up to tibet to learn from the masters, I though surely there is a way to achieve this closer to home.  Maybe you are thinking “It’s called meditation.”  And maybe it is, however meditation refers to focusing on a sole subject to obtain the goal, such as focusing on breathing to become completely relaxed.  I’m not after complete relaxation, I’m after complete shutdown.  To have just one moment where absolutely nothing goes through the mind.  Any thoughts?  I really don’t have any unique ideas other than to go to an isolated place, lay down, start narrowing down my thoughts to a single thought, and then hopefully be able to diminish that last one.  I’m not even sure it’s possible.

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Why Comfort Zones Lead to Country Music

August 30th, 2009 by Jordan


Something occurred to me this weekend.  I was going back to look over my project Tic List 2009 (which hasn’t been going well so far).  And I thought about everything on there and how they are things that I’m not comfortable with.  Or at least they are things that I’m wanting to accomplish that are difficult in one way or another.

So why do we have a desire to break away from the norm and do something different?  I remember a great lecture a professor once gave explaining sacred spaces.  Basically, if you can think of any sacred space, draw a circle around where it exists on the map, now within that circle there are always one or two different sacred spaces, and within that circle there may even be the ultimate sacred space.  For example, Vatican city…no doubt a very sacred space.  Now within Vatican city, there is another even more sacred space, the church.  Now even within that you could argue the sacred space within the church is the alter where the rituals are actually performed (there is a giant dome built right above it).  These sacred spaces operate just like our comfort zones.  You have your home city, which is generally everyone’s comfort zone…within that city is your residence, and within that residence maybe your couch is the ultimate comfort zone.  You have nothing to worry about and nothing to think about other than when the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy is coming on.

Which leads me back to my original theory.  When we break comfort zones, when we get off the couch, out the door, and TRAVEL, we leave our comfort zones.  When we are put in uncomfortable situations, the mind starts to think, we start to expand and want to know why people and cultures operate so differently.  Now take two completely different types of people.  One person that never leaves his/her comfort zone and one who pushes away from the comfort zone.  I guarantee the person who stays is more apt to enjoy country music, and probably the reason there is so much patriotism in country music (they never get away from their comfort zones and when they do travel it’s usually to a USO show).  Travelers in general do not listen to country music.  Yes it sounds like I’m dogging country music, but in reality, I’m just looking for an explanation.  I enjoy my couch as well as the next bloke, but I enjoy crossing off my tic list more.

So if you take anything away from this, country music fan or not, take away my theory that to accomplish things we desire, we’d better be ready to do something uncomfortable.

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10 Well Designed Items Backpackers Should Love

July 5th, 2009 by Jordan


If you’re pack has a little extra room, I think any of these items would be a good addition to your packing list.  So, here is the rundown:

1.  Athletic Tape:  A staple in any bag I pack for just about any trip.  The versatility is endless, and of course it’s good for injuries.  Just wad up a facial tissue or t.p., strap on the tape and you’ve got a band-aid.  I’ve had to do that more than once.

2.  Design Go LED Slimlight:  More than having a bright LED for those dark hostels at 2:00 in the morning, it folds up or can be clamped on a book.  Actually Design Go has some very travel friendly products that are worth a look.

3.  Spoon Sisters Travel Towel:  About the size of a dime, all you need to do is add water and you can have an instant towel.  Maybe not a necessity, but they’re so small, it’s worth it’s weight.

4.  Marmot Precip Travel Jacket:  Probably one of the best water proof and lightweight jackets you can get.  If you’re heading to foggy town, pack for wet weather so you’re not stuck at the hostel all day.

5.  Creative Travel Sound Portable Speakers:  I’ve done some research on portable speakers for a while, and for sound and size, Creative is going to have your best option.  Unfortunately at the time of this post, they are sold out.  Speakers are great for watching that illegal copy of ‘Apocalypto’ on the laptop with your mates.

6.  Rick Steve’s Travel Wash:  Sure Rick is a dork, but he’s probably more well travelled than you and I combined.  So I’m sure he knows his stuff when it comes to sink laundry.  This is designed to be low on suds for easy rinse and gentle on the body.

7.  Muji’s World Travel Plug Adapter:  If you don’t already have plug adapters, this wouldn’t be a bad option, as it is all one piece and designed to cover 150 countries electric standards.  I like just about anything from Muji…good store.

8.  Ohso Tooth Brush:  A very cool product that takes a normal everyday item and turns it into something better when used for travelling.  This is not just a toothbrush where the handle is used for the carrying case.  This actually holds toothpaste and packs down at the same time…genius.  Price isn’t unreasonable either.

9.  Havainas Sandals:  These aren’t only good for the beach, they’re good for hostel showers.  Havainas actually grip just as good when they are wet…that’s why they made the list.

10.  Sigg Water Bottle:  I’ve posted about Sigg for a while now.  They’re the new nalgene…and I’m sure they’ll be replaced someday as well, our society is very ‘pop’ when it comes to drinking water.

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Eco + Motivation = Ecovation

May 7th, 2009 by Jordan


Sometimes I make up words….not for fun, just because I’m a half degree lazy and want to save oyxgen. I’ve been thinking about the whole “eco-green-save the planet-renew-reuse” lifestyle more recently, and how that has affected my life. You should know I dislike corporations who use the green theme to sell products, and I’m far from a tree hugger. But the more I think about it, I have become environmentally conscious…which happened unconsciously. I use to have a problem getting out of a hot shower because I enjoyed it so much…spending way too much time under the jets. But now, I think about saving energy and it motivates me to get out of the shower quicker. Which is what I wanted to do in the first place. Hence…Ecovation. Also, a light bulb went out in my room and where normally I would wait for the other one to burn out, I was ecovated to go out and get the new energy saver style just to see how long it will last.

Bottom line…as much as I have bashed the “wanna-be-green” corporations, I have become somewhat green myself. (author note:  please don’t use or spread the word “ecovation” it is a dumb  word and I really don’t want it to catch on)

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Stage 2 – Roughing in Ingredients

April 23rd, 2009 by Jordan


NOTE: This is a continuation from Stage 1 – Setting Guidelines. I encourage all travelers and those at home to participate and create your own drink. Think of this project as your own drink you will want in your hand when you die, the drink you want when celebrating, and the drink to toast to the world.

Stage 2 – Roughing in Ingredients
From the beginning I knew I wanted to use rum as a major ingredient in the ‘Izuno’ cocktail. Rum has been a staple of the warm zone I love so much, and the Caribbean is a major player in the rum industry, which I enjoy visiting. So I first needed to study rum. After a jaunt to wiki-load myself with facts on rum, I realized most cocktails use light rum. However most light rum is produced faster and cheaper out of a by-product of sugarcane (molasses based). I wanted this drink to be about discovery and truth (stage 1 guideline #4). So I think to be true, rum should be made straight from the product and not the by-product. The rum must also be able to be infused and mixed with different ingredients, so a long aged rum in oak barrels to add hints of spice, nuts, etc. wasn’t necessary. It is not going to be drunk straight, so a premium aged rum is just a waste of money. After a few trips to the store, I decided on Agua Luca. It fit my requirements (mixable, straight from the sugar-cane, and not premium aged) plus the clerk recommended it based on what I wanted.

Next, I need to add some uniqueness to it. Agua Luca is from Brazil, so I wanted to find out the exact opposite area (globe and weather wise) and what that area produces so that there is a balance in opposites which will fit my global requirement (stage 1, guideline #3). So I went to look at a globe. What is on the other side of the world from Brazil?…The Philippines/Malaysia area. Naturally, the weather is similar since both locations are close to the equator, but that is okay. After more wiki-ness and searches, I found a few potential fruits that might play a part. The papaya, mangosteen, lime, or pineapple are all potential fruits that just might find a home in the ‘Izuno.’ I will have to do some testing to get a final decision.

More ingredients I might choose to add later may be simple syrup, sugar, soda, or really just some standard cocktail ingredients. Those will have to be on trial during Stage 3 – Testing and Elimination – Coming Soon.

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Ten Reasons Why Backpackers Can’t Stay Home Long

April 20th, 2009 by Jordan


Upon returning from a long trip, things change…it’s funny and depressing at the same time. Here are 10 reasons why backpackers usually want to leave shortly after returning home.

1. People ask you…”What was the trip like?”

2. People ask you…”You left your passport at the hostel counter?”

3. People ask you…”Why are you traveling there?”

4. Overhear McDonald’s soccer mom say…”This restroom is dirty…I will never use a public toilet”

5. Your friends are suddenly not as interesting as the 50 you just made.

6. You realize you didn’t miss TV and can’t understand why you liked it before.

7. You trade experiential food for easy food…and realize ‘easy food’ is usually crappy.

8. After realizing you travelled abroad people want to share their travel story…which is either …a honeymoon to an overpriced Caribbean resort or a cruise to a 1/4 mile stretch of city with a talented tourism board or a 10 hour port call in the Navy.

9. It’s no challenge plugging your ipod directly into the wall.

10. Leave reason #10 in the comments section and win a prize in on August 08, 2009. That’s right…Izuno Travel is holding a giveaway for some very cool travel gear, all you have to do is leave a comment on any post anytime between now and August 08, 2009 for a chance to win. You can also enter by sending us your email at [email protected].

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Stage 1 – Guidelines for an ‘Izuno’ Drink

April 6th, 2009 by Jordan


There are many questions one must find their own answers to in life…and one of those questions is…”What will by my drink.” A drink to be created by oneself and take the name of the creator or in this case the name of my handle (izuno) for years after I am gone. I introduce…the story of an ‘Izuno’.

Stage 1 – Setting Guidelines

So to begin the long process in figuring out what concoction of cocktail I will be using, it’s important to set some general guides and limits. If you are making your own drink, be sure to define yourself when defining guidelines for your drink.

1. The drink must be chilled with 2-3 squares of clear ice. I thrive on warm weather, and I’m happiest when warm…so therefore a perfect drink must accomodate the perfect temperature.

2. The drink must be unique. I’m sure whatever my final recipe is, there will have already been 20 different online versions of the same drink…so whether it is a particular brand of alcohol or a particular volume…I must be orginal and specific in creation.

3. I’m a traveler. Therefore I need to incorporate ingredients and liquors from around the world. Being careful not to get too wrapped up and sacrifice on taste. If I leave a continent or two out the drink it is not a big deal, however it must not be direct from one region.

4. A drink is special only when there is cause for celebration. So what I celebrate will have an impact on the drink. My life has been a celebration of discovery and truth…therefore an ‘Izuno’ must also be about discovery and truth.

5. And finally, as a designer, I realize the important of aesthetics. The drink must be a good color, a good scent, a proper smoothness, a natural clean look, and of course a great taste.

Stage 2 – Roughing Out Ingredients

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Flashpacking vs Backpacking

March 17th, 2009 by Jordan

There has been some recent debate about what exactly ‘flashpacking’ is. Most define it by the added use of technology while travelling. For example, a Backpacker has no digital camera, no laptop, no mp3 player etc, while the Flashpacker takes it all. Others say it is a mix of technology with a less strict budget. Either way this trend is something of a mystery to me, I feel it’s not easily definable yet. With issues like this no one person is justified to draw the line of what constitutes a backpacker vs a flashpacker. In any case, I would probably fall under the flashpacker category, but I would resent it if a ‘filfthy on the road for 2 straight years sleeping in train stations and living off ramen and tuna type’ individual would not consider me a backpacker because I carry a digital camera. I’ve just always considered those people as vagabonds or true travellers and I have the upmost respect for them (and I have yet to be criticized for not being a backpacker). I still consider myself a backpacker…if only for the reason of not wanting to change this sites tag line. “Backpacker Travel Trends and Culture”

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4 Reasons Why Our Generation Sucks

January 21st, 2009 by Jordan

I’m probably not going to be making many new friends with this post, but it’s been on my mind for a while now and I feel I need to unload.

The generation I’m talking about is aged from 21-30 (more or less).  I’m in the back-middle (28) if you need to know.

1.  We romanticize hardcore partying.  Perhaps all generations have fallen into this one, but I believe we’ve maxed it out.  At least I hope.  Here’s what I mean.  Ask yourself what your parents did on a “crazy” night when they were in their early 20′s?  I would venture a guess the MPAA would rate it closer to PG than your “crazy” night.  It probably has to do with the fact that we enjoy story-telling with shock value.  After all, there is no point in telling a boring story right?  We don’t criticize our peers for a night of drunken stupidness and criminal behavior…instead we only tell their stories to our other friends who then repeats one of their own that will be sure to upstage the former.  Why is this bad?  It creates a paradigm of us that our elders constantly use against us, in turn killing any credibility we might have as a generation.

2.  We grew the reality TV scene.  Probably not the inventors, but we were the target market.  Yes…I’m guilty too…but purely from a social experiment state of mind ;)

3.  We tried so hard to be cool, we forgot why we wanted to be cool.  Hence…hipsters.  We didn’t learn from our parents and we are still stuck in a material world.  Damn…and I thought that wearing overly warm unzipped jackets and non-prescription eyeglasses was the solution. But it goes beyond hipsters…we justify and find reasons to be proud of being a redneck, proud of being an asshole, proud of being something that just 15 years ago we would never want to be.

4.  I see no true rebellious activity.  Instead we scrap around our repetitive weekday jobs and bitch about it.  Return home to our shitty apartment or parent’s spare bedroom and do nothing about it.  If there are those out there that have rebelled against this monotonous routine they are stronger than I, and the three I know about are truly happy.  I hope someone stands up and makes their point on a mass scale someday.

There are more reasons, don’t have the ambition (reason #5) to finish anything right now.  I will follow up with this in another post soon.

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Post Travel Low? Disorder

January 20th, 2009 by Jordan

I would hardly call it a disorder, but it’s enough to give some thought to. We’ve all heard of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which I’ve never been through, but I have experienced depression before. And that depression was similar to, yet different than a post travel low. A post travel low is interesting, you get back and you’ve seen things that you know your friends haven’t, and therefore they can’t understand. You feel like you’ve changed, and there is no one to relate to, yet you feel you’re stronger and better than before for knowing. But yet ignorance is bliss, and therefore knowledge can bring sadness. I think this could be very similar, yet not nearly as intense as PTSD. Just a thought.

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