Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime.
That's the ultimate goal, or at least my ultimate goal... to educate and inform, to give people the freedom and knowledge that they can go anywhere at anytime, with just the clothes they're wearing and whatever they have in their pockets; to show people how easy it is to travel; to find tools that make travel easier and eventually, hopefully, build products that make travel easier... ultimately, it's to inspire people to get up, get out and go see the world without worrying about what to pack.
This is an idealistic world for sure, but the more we travel, the more we connect with people from around the world, and the more we realize how much we have in common.. and showing people how easy it is to travel can only help us better understand each other's cultures, beliefs and ways of life; and it's why I'm so passionate about travel in general!
Today, you can travel many places with just your passport and whatever you're wearing.. tomorrow, my hope is that you can travel anywhere, on a whim, with just your passport and the clothes on your back.
But this idealistic future will require some changes to how we think and what we pack..
The limitations we run into today...
Money - unless you're retired or independently wealthy, you may still need a way to work, which introduces a slew of concerns such as work flexibility, productivity, time zone considerations, etc.
Comfort and Style - while you could go anywhere at the drop of a hat - or pin, you'd immediately be at the mercy of weather, climate, and potentially, social norms.
Lifestyle and Activities - so you jumped on a plane and flew to Thailand, do you really have what you need to hike the Phetchabun Range or island hop and sleep in a hut?
Language - assuming you're not a world famous polyglot, you may have some concerns in regards to communication, safety and getting around in general.
Rules, Regulations and Safety - sadly, at least for the foreseeable future, some places just aren't safe for travel, and various countries will always have VISA and passport requirements.
These are all valid concerns, and while we may not have the freedom to go anywhere, anytime just yet, I'd like to address all of the above and compare what's possible today, with how I think the future will look in 5, 10 or 15 years.
Money and Work
There are a million blogs and articles explaining how to travel inexpensively, and it's worth repeating here, you don't need to be rich or retired to travel; but that's not the picture I'm trying to paint; what I'm more interested in, is the tools, apps and future products that will allow you to keep working while you travel; because that's the ultimate form of freedom, work if you want to (or have to) - wherever you are.
Right now, if you're a digital nomad, you're tied to your laptop; it's not the end of the world, but it's not perfect either; your laptop is bulky, expensive, fragile and a target for theft... you can travel with it, but it's not ideal.
I go into detail on what I think work will look like in my posts The Future of Work and The Future of Work and Travel.
Comfort and Style
Travel-specific clothing is already available, but there's a lot of room for improvement in this department (ahem.. store). Today, we're working with a hodge-podge of brands and styles that can do some of what we want, with light-weight, multi-functional, quick-drying, anti-bacterial material readily available.
But we're still limited in terms of comfort and flexibility, and if we're aiming for the ultimate goal of "anywhere, anytime - with just the clothes on your back," we'll have to wait for some key advancements in material science.
Eventually, we'll get Smart Skin Clothing that has all of the above plus (in a perfect world), climate-controlled fabrics, customizable skins, RFID-protected pockets and water-tight zippers.
I was super excited for these app-controlled skin-changing shoes that hit Indigogo awhile back, but it may be years before they become available, if ever.
But it's not hard to imagine a world in which we can pack just one or two sets of "smart clothes" while maintaining massive flexibility in terms of where we go, when we go and what we do.
It's also worth mentioning some expected advances in travel tools that will make washing and drying clothes even easier. Portable washers and dryers already exist, although both are in their infancy... I've tried and tested a few different ones, namely this handheld portable dryer and this ultrasonic-powered portable washer, both are neat and hold great promise as they get better, but for now I'm sticking with hand-washing using a portable wash-bag.
One of the issues with portable dryers is the noise they make, which can feel like an annoyance to fellow travelers if you're sharing a room... so I'm really hoping that Dyson eventually incorporates their supersonic hair dryer technology into a miniatured portable dryer for the travel-tech enthusiast in all of us.
We are many, many years away from implementing all the technology required to make one or two sets of clothes do ALL the work wherever you are, but it's fun to dream and even more fun if we can help move the needle in this space.
Lifestyle, Activities and Sports
This is partially related to the "smart clothes" referenced above, and they go hand-in-hand; smart fabrics should, theoretically, give us lots of flexibility in terms of where we go and what we do, but we're already at the point where we can do almost anything if we're willing to get creative, rent gear or buy what we need when it's necessary.
For "extreme" activities, you'll likely be provided with whatever stuff you need, or you'll have the option to rent when you're onsite... this is for things like canyoning, sky diving, cave diving, scuba diving, rock climbing, surfing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, skiing or snowboarding, etc.. these are activities with specific requirements, and any place catering to travelers or tourists will have everything you need to make your time safe and enjoyable. In addition to this fact, and as you might imagine, the starting point for any adventure will have stores and shops tailored to that experience, effectively "outfitters" at the base of any big undertaking; so you don't need to pack for life or death, in fact, you barely have to pack at all.
For the more casual activities; hiking, boating, paddle-boarding, island hopping, beach bumming, bar crawling, whale-watching, horseback riding, four-wheeling, sight-seeing, city walking, whatever; you don't need anything except whatever you're wearing that keeps you warm, cool or comfortable.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll reiterate again, everything you could possibly need is available at the nearest store in the nearest city to the nearest airport - wherever you go.
Language and Communication
In a perfect world, we all speak a universal language, but until that day comes, language is and can be a problem; mostly in terms of getting around, but also just safety in general.
The good news is that there are real-time language translators readily available. I cant' speak to how effective they are.. but as all things do, I expect they'll get better with time, eventually allowing for seamless communication via in-ear translators..
I'll be testing a few of these out on my next trip, and I'll write a detailed post then, but in the meantime, a quick search for "language translators" on Amazon shows a number of options... if anyone has any experience with these, please comment or share your thoughts!
Rules, Regulation and Safety
There will always be unsafe destinations and country-specific VISA requirements and limitations, and there's not much we can do about that... the best we can do is plan ahead and choose places that are safe, accommodating and accepting of long-term travelers.
Today, you can go almost anywhere in the world with just a few essential items and a little bit of planning; tomorrow, you'll be able to go almost everywhere in the world, with even fewer things and even less planning.
It's an idealistic world for sure; to think someday we'll be able to work from anywhere and have all the tools we need to stay comfortable and productive, but it's a goal worth striving for, and it's why I built this site.