I'm not entirely sure whether it's my time in the boy scouts (be prepared!) or residual OCD, but whenever I travel, I can never decide what to take, and live in fear of leaving something crucial behind.
Like a lot of people who live away from their family, I’ll be hitting the road over xmas – or, more precisely, the traintracks – to spend the festive season with my folks. Naturally, this poses some problems – namely all the things I need/want to take.
Firstly, there’s clothes and the like. Essentials. Deodorant, toothbrush, shampoo (incidentally: I recommend Lush’s solid shampoo for travelling. When you put it in the little tin you can get for it, you’re sorted. No leaks, no big clunky bottle. Anyway…) and, once upon a time, a razor/shaver (which I gave up on). Then there’s the mandatory travel aids: a book or two, or a PSP, or both.
Then, as a musician, I get a bit pained if I don’t have an instrument with me. I left an antique mandolin at their house, years back, so that’s fine – but what about my banjo? Well, I guess that has to come along too.
And, of course, as a writer and student, I’m going to need my laptop. I’ve got lots of work to be done over the festive season – I can’t leave it here, being as I’ll be gone for at least a fortnight. I’ll also probably need some source material, too – so that’s another couple of books I’ve got to cram in somewhere.
But then we get to the real problem. Last year, when I headed back, the gear acquisition syndrome hadn’t really kicked in. I had a Diana Mini and a Fisheye 2, and they handily fitted into a coat pocket each. That was it. This year, I’ve gone a bit… mad. So what do I take to document the winter festivities this year?
One of last year’s xmas shots… my brother’s dog, Millie.
Well, I obviously can’t leave my Lubitel 2 at home, so that’s coming along. That’ll be handy for portraits and “proper” photos. And for silly, drunken nights with x-pro film and uncertain exposures, you don’t get much better than the Holga 120N.
Drinking! Drunk people! Rude hand signs! Oh, Holga.
So, already, we’ve got two big bulky bastards filling up the bag, so I figured I should just finish with a Smena 8M for compact-ness and leave it there. That takes wonderful photos, and lets me use 35mm, so I’m sorted.
My dad, with a long exposure Smena shot from the summer.
But then I bought a Fuji Instax Wide, which was dumb. Because now I’ve fallen in love with it, and want to take that – and it’s not a small thing. In fact, it’s as tall as the Lubitel, a bit longer than a Horizon, and as deep as your average SLR. And when I factor into all this that I’ve got a FED 2 waiting under the christmas tree, and someone else is sending me a Pop 9 while I’m there, I’m back to square one. Can I really justify having six different cameras?
And you know what – I’ve only just thought about film. What if I take a load of XP2 for the Lubitel and end up churning through every roll of E100VS for the Holga instead? And I better take some £1 24exp Kodak Color to test the Fed, too… bloody hell.