It was time to check my 20 pounds of gear before the big lift off. The equipment I carried on my hikeabouts through the states and provinces I had learned to use under the tutelage of Carson Beal, a late 20th century world explorer and vagabond, whom I met in Oxnard in the summer of '70 while we were both hitching a ride to Frisco in the back of a pickup truck. Carson was the Goldmund to my Narcissus. He taught me how to live out there. His tutorials were generous and priceless, worth more than all my university degrees, both then and those to be. Pay it forward...

       Kelty mountaineer backpack bought in San Francisco in 1970 for camping in Yosemite. It had 3 partitions and 4 side pockets. Sleeping bag tied on below.
       Coca Cola patch sewed on by cousin Bettye. You weren't cool without a patch on your pack.
       Sticky patch strip 3"x8" to mend pack rips. Used once, rolled up, and forgotten.
       Needle & thread with buttons kept in waterproof container with matches.
       Eddie Bauer summer down sleeping bag, not made by Eddie anymore. Closest thing is the Kelty Wicking Liner. Tied it tightly to frame at bottom, or stuffed it neatly into a partition.
       Orange poncho and/or ground cover. Had an orange tube tent, but decided Europe was civilized enough that I would not need it.
       Gaz Bleuet camping stove was a luxury after building my own fires in Yosemite.
       Aluminum pot with lid cooked tasty clams on Omaha Beach in Normandy.
       Matches in a waterproof cylinder along with needle and thread. Did not use since there was an adequate supply of match books along the way, but carried them just in case. Disposable lighters were just coming to market. Perhaps I should have flicked my BIC?
       Inner aluminum bowl with clamp handles fit neatly into outer aluminum pot.
       My sierra drinking cup, bought in 1970 for camping in the Sierras, held many a cup of cocoa.
       May or may not have carried my interlocking Boy Scout spoon, fork, and knife set. Neat though. Maybe all I had was an old spoon from Ms. E's cupboard?
       Carried a thin folding knife for cutting bread and spreading peanut butter, until one day hitching on the New Jersey Turnpike, a plump rookie highway patrolman relieved me of it. Did he have something against peanut butter?
       Various cans and packages of food items, and always a small jar of peanut butter.
       P-38 army can opener. Best gadget the army ever invented.
       100 Halazone tablets for water purification, never used. After many millenia of wars and plagues, Euros know how to purify water.
       Bota bag canteen for water. Basque shepherds' invention for cooling their wine.
Bottled water? Wazat?
       Panasonic pocket cordless battery operated ES-565 electric razor with swivel-action head, so I would not grow a beard and scare the children. You never want to scare the children if you are a foreigner. I had not yet learned to shave with a regular razor without cutting myself. Still have not.
       Aluminum mirror — although, after all these years, I can shave without one.
       Small pocket comb to look pretty.
       A toothbrush & liquid toothpaste or powder. No dental floss — either it was not available, or I had not yet learned to use it.
       Shampoo—liquid soap in a plastic bottle. No need for a bar of soap. May have been in a glass bottle, since plastic bottles were not standard issue.
       Insect sprays and creams like Off were not needed since Europe is not the mosquito infested swampland that America is. The only insects that troubled me were the lice contracted in a hay loft in Ireland.
       First aid cream for blisters and other scrapes.
       Kleenex pocket packet picked up as needed along the way.
       Safety pins tied things together quickly. There were no binder clips nor tie strips back then.
       Waterproof drawstring cord-lock pouches to carry the small items. There were no plastic ziplok baggies in those days.
       Light floppy bucket hat for rain and sun on a not yet bald head.
       Red bandana scarf worn around the neck like the cowboys wear secured by a ring that Molly gave me. Handy for toweling off when drip drying was not opportune. Mr. Max modeled for this one.
       My REI jacket that folded up into one of its pockets to form a pillow. Was a novelty at the time.
       Hunter green vest, my imitation suede waistcoat with only two pockets, to wear whenever I needed a little pizazz. Enjoyed sewing on the leather buttons. It would be a few more years before I began wearing a vest with many pockets. Would have then if they had been readily available like they are now.
       Blue short sleeve work shirt to wear constantly. If it wore out, could always buy another.
       Pin striped long sleeve dress shirt. Cannot believe I carried around such an item, but there I am wearing it in a photo on May 28th. Perhaps I brought the photo with me and not the shirt?
       1 t-shirt for warm climates, like Patmos Island.
       1 thin turtleneck for cool climates, like Narvik, Norway.
       Khaki cargo pants, but could have been those horrible bell bottom jeans I trudged around in while tripping over my feet in them.
       White linen pajama pants, in case an extra pair of pants became necessary, could act as pajamas if I ever wore pajamas.
       2 pair of briefs - probably wore the Mark Spitz Olympics one that girlfriend Suzie gave me, and the other during laundry whenever I found a laundry.
       3 pair of socks - wore two - one wool outer, one soft inner. Supposedly this kept your feet warm and dry, or so went the theory. More of a nuisance than a practicality.
       Hiking boots requiring two pairs of socks. Today, I prefer New Balance walkers.
       ...and a big bag to stuff it all in that doubles as a laundry bag, and fits neatly into a partition inside my Kelty pack, although I had to cut one of the partitions to stuff the stuff.
       New Waite's Compendium of Natal Astrology by Colin Evans for casting horoscopes, albeit somewhat imprecisely, but precise enough for conversation that would gain me a night's lodging.
       3.4" plastic horoscope disk for drawing horoscope charts. No calculators or websites to compute with, only a book and a disk kept in book.
       Berlitz European Phrase Book in 14 Languages 3.5x5", one of my most practical possessions on this tour. Happen to pass by a little bookstore in Manhattan on day of take-off and bought it. Traded it for a Mars bar when I entered England. Should not have. Needed it a month later in Belgium.
       NSTI transcript to prove I was a student qualified for student discounts. Did not prove to be worth the trouble.
       Bic ball point pen or whatever I could find to write with. I was like a deaf mute running around writing questions copied from my Berlitz book onto a notepad.
       Small spiral notepad quad-ruled for writing grammatically incorrect questions to whomever would read them.
       My little black book was green, and contained addresses of potential hosts who would receive an unexpected knock on their door one day, and there I would be with smiling face. Would you like your horoscope cast? I might ask.
       Plastic 6" ruler folded in half and taped for drawing straight lines and measuring what needed measuring. Today, I carry a 3 foot tape measure.
       Europa map marking where I stayed each night. Without this map, all events would be shuffled in my mind unsequentially.
       WWII bakelite pocket compass just in case I forgot which way was up.
       Pocket watch, carried in my waistcoat vest, for train schedules. The traveler watches that hooked into your belt loop were not yet ready for prime time.
       Flat yellow pocket plastic flashlight & batteries & extra bulb that I could hold between my teeth at night - there were no LED flashlights. Tossed mine a few years ago so I drew this cartoon version, à la R. Crumb, from memory, both visual and tactile. Looks like an item from the old Whole Earth Catalog. Saved my life on July 29.
       No camera! Way to heavy in those days. How would I preserve all the film? Mail it? Extra bother. Our iPhones were still far beyond anyone's imagination. The mind takes snapshots a camera cannot remember, and perhaps never happened. Besides the postcards always look prettier.
       My passport and ID to adventure and misery - whoop-de-doodle!
       Mastercards were known as MasterCharge cards back then. Although I brought one with me, banks were usually the only place one could use them. I did not use mine because I would not be back in time to pay the finance charges. The financial world is easier these days, if you have the money; then plastic is the way to go. If you don't have the money, you need something more than plastic. Pay it forward...
       My purse, genuine imitation suede tobacco pouch zippered with a plastic waterproof lining, to hold my small stuff — pen, notepad, address book, phrase book, ruler, comb, mastercharge card, passport, local currency and coins. Size about 4"x7". Kept it close in my front pants pocket.
       American Express Travelers Checks are no longer the way to travel, but with no international ATMs, the only way to carry money fairly safely was rolled up inside your pack frame tubing. Hid about $500 this way. Many a stash other than cash crossed borders inside the tubes of a Kelty backpack.
       My IcelanderAir return ticket, rolled up securely inside the left tube of my Kelty backpack.