My Who's Who listed recreation is siderodromophilia "the love of the iron road", so I travel by rail whenever possible taking Quail UK track plans marking every siding, junction and signal box. I study track curvature to try to get my garden model railway accurate.
On two-week overseas trips I take a 10-volume library of guides, maps (Tactical Pilotage survey maps based on aerial photographs are the best), previous travellers' accounts and dictionaries. My books travel in a strong overnight bag that fits overhead planelockers. Wherever I go, I take a Greek text to read - something to focus on in airport lounges.
I wish someone here sold the Harvard book bag. I discovered it when I was visiting lecturer there. It's a green, rubbery lined canvas sack with a top closure that keeps rain out.
Every year Davina and I make an "exotic trip" that fuels our geographical, archeological and botanical interests - across China by train, Samarkand, Iran and this year Albania. I relive places through my diary notebooks written with narrow felt-tipped pens, the most accurate for on-the-move notetaking.
Strong shoes, tough trousers, good sweaters, scarves are site touring basics, plus sunhats, preferably broad brimmed rather than soft cotton. I always wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers. Pocketed jackets are essential for credit cards, passport, notebooks, pens and collected shards. In Iran, Davina wore a chador bought in the Cowley Road. Everything goes into a rigid Delsey case on wheels. At least I travel lighter than a 1750 Smyrna voyager I described in Homer and the Travellers, who took four Indian dimity waistcoats with 16 buttons each, four striped Spitalfields linen waistcoats, Nankin coats, shoes, pumps, boots, three wigs and plenty of alcohol.
I make three disposable razors last a fortnight and soap substitutes for shaving cream. A basic medical kit, alarm clock with spare batteries, paper hankies and water purification tablets go along though we avoid water in favour of local wine or duty free whisky.
When excavating a Minoan colony on Kythera in the Sixties, my luggage included heat resistant pens, pencils, string and pegs for surveying, a theodolite, hard-covered notebooks, rulers, plenty of squared and plain paper, and standard reference handbooks - I'm a pre-portable laboratory excavator.Reuse content