To be ready for a Grand Solo Adventure, you need to make time to pack.

I remember packing for a 9-month trip around the world in 2011, stuffing into a 42-litre bag, all I needed to travel through summers and winters, cities and countrysides, from Hawaii to the Sahara to the Himalayas.

Of course my BFF Ning and I weren’t always prepared. We were definitely caught off-guard when in Maui, Hawaii, we decided to climb to the summit of a 10,000-feet volcano to catch a sunrise and locals informed us temperatures would dip to zero degrees Celsius.

Catching a sunrise on Haleakala volcano, Maui. 10,000ft and 4 deg C.

Catching a sunrise on Haleakala volcano, Maui. 10,000ft and 4 deg C.

Or when we moved from a cool Parisian summer (16-22 deg) to the scorching heat of the Sahara Desert in Morocco (38 deg) and then immediately to the cold winter of Cape Town, South Africa, in Aug 2011.

Erg Chebbi dunes, Sahara Desert, Morocco.

Erg Chebbi dunes, Sahara Desert, Morocco.

That aside, we did have the essentials in our backpacks. Good travel undies that dry quickly and don’t smell too bad… travel toiletries that we often shared and replenished on the road… good Timberland water-resistant, non-slip walking shoes… and always a good book for long waits at train stations, bus depots and airport transit lounges. To embark on any adventure, you need to make time to pack.

Well, today is Day 2 of my Grand Solo Adventure as a Freelance Writer who Travels.

I’ve been a freelance writer before – from 2003 to 2006 – but these are very different times. For one, I’ve stocked up my tool-box with more tools!

Working with photographers, designers, stylists to put together a magazine… Interviewing people ‘live’ on-air and keeping questioning crisp and succinct… Developing a “radio voice”… Learning the difference between writing for print, radio and TV… Working with camera crews and understanding angles… Writing and publishing a 60,000-word book, among others.

And then there is Social Media. That’s the biggest difference. Today, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I didn’t have these tools back in 2003. And they make a huge difference in putting stuff “out there” to a global audience.

Having said that, these tools don’t need to physically go into my Writer’s Knapsack. It’s already a part of Pam, the multi-platform journalist. *grin*

But what needs to physically go into my knapsack are three items: MacBook Air + digital recorder + digital camera.

On 1 Jan 2013, way before I knew I was going to leave Channel NewsAsia, I invested in this beauty: Lumix Lx7 digital compact camera (with Leica lens!).

My brand new Lumix LX7, which I got for a steal on New Year's Day 2013.

I call it an “investment” because with this tool, I’m going to be telling many stories. I don’t know what stories yet, but it makes visual storytelling possible for me, especially overseas.

Today, I’m meeting my ex-radio colleague, Philip Tnee, to make my 2nd investment: A 2nd-hand H2 digital recorder. I will definitely need that in my tool-box for the many interviews I will do with the many amazing people I will meet around the world.

Here’s a pic Philip sent me last night as he was packing my H2 digital recorder. She will be in my hands tonight! *grin*

Philip Tnee send me this image last night, my new 2nd-hand H2 digital recorder

Which leaves me with one more big item to stuff in my knapsack: My 13″ MacBook Air. I’m still on the look-out for a good, affordable 2nd-hand one that’s under $1K. Preferably the 2012 model and 256GB.

(Photo Credit: Janice Lee Fang via Instagram)

(Photo Credit: Janice Lee Fang)

And so, this is what I plan to do for the next 10 days, before I head back to Channel NewsAsia to produce two shows for Current Affairs.

All this, and meeting up with friends (whom I believe are operating in their Element) to explore new collaborations.

Over the next 10 days, I have externally created a space in my life for metaphorical packing and preparation.

Internally, I have also created a space in my soul for possibilities.

I have always described myself as “a learner of the deep-end kind, and a lover of unexpected madness”.

It feels good to be home.

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