How do adventurers keep in touch?

In the old days, adventurers disappeared into remote corners of the globe and weren’t heard from for months or even years. In our more interconnected world, modern adventurers regale us with their tales of travel in real time via the Internet.

How do they do it? It’s all in the gear they bring along.

As he rides across Africa on a motorcycle, Thomas Tomczyk will keep the world posted on his Facebook page, Youtube channel, blog, and website.

“20,000 kilometers in Africa on a motorcycle, writing stories and taking photos and videos for publications on the Internet and in print requires some seriously interesting gear,” Thomas says. “While I wanted to have the good stuff, I didn’t want to feel anxious about losing a piece of equipment that was too expensive. I compromised between buying the best stuff out there and what was affordable, compact, and lightweight.”

Thomas wants to shoot video too, so he’s packing a PowerShot SX20 IS, because it’s compact, takes sharp images, and captures stereo sound. His telephone, a 16 gig, 2G I-phone, bought jail-broken, can accept a cellular chip from anywhere and he’ll regularly replace the chip as he travels from region to region. He better not expect to have a signal all the time; I couldn’t get a signal half the time I was hiking the English/Scottish border! For news he’s got a Tecsun DR-920, a compact and inexpensive shortwave receiver.

Internet communications shouldn’t prove too much of a problem even in Africa. Every capital and most regional cities have Internet cafes, so it’s a matter of writing as you go and uploading it when you have the chance. A solid state laptop with good battery life is a key bit of gear along with a small external hard drive to back up your data.

Our very own Andrew Evans brings along a lot of gear too. He blogs for us and National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel. Because he’s a contributing editor to National Geographic Travel, he gets a lot of cool toys to “test” (play with) on the road. These include a National Geographic USB power source and a foldable multiport solar charger so his equipment never runs out of juice. He’s just started out on a trip to the outer, uninhabited islands of New Zealand and readers can track his movements on GoogleMaps thanks to his Trackstick mini and Gisteq Photo Trackr Mini DP.

But let’s not forget that communicating with the people we meet is the most important thing. Knowing the local lingo is the best “gear” you can have. Both Thomas and Andrew can get by in a few different languages. You don’t even have to be a brilliant linguist to pull it off. I’ve gotten a long way on a couple of hundred words and goodwill!