Mastering The Sword: My Intro Into Fencing Lessons

inigomontoyaAfter a little hiatus from writing I’m back! and excited about my latest adventure….Fencing Lessons! Now when I think of fencing two things come to mind. Stuffy rich people…and of course the Princess Bride’s Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black…which is one of my favorite movies.

So of course when one day it so happens that a Living Social deal pops up for fencing lessons…do I need to even say it? I jumped right in. We all know how I profess the use of deal a day sites for adventure. As a side benefit I figured it would be a good argument outlet for my girlfriend and I. She gets angry at me for not cleaning up after a hard day of manly…beastly…rugged….work(may be a slight exaggeration). And what would you do?….why CHALLENGE HER TO A MUTHAF*CKIN duel of course. It is my honor at stake.

So after several weeks of excited anticipation the appointment was scheduled and we arrived at the Atlanta Fencing Club’s training facility. Little did I know they would be having a tournament at the exact same time. So imagine walking  into a room of guys who clearly look like they know what they are doing, dressed in full garb and sword fighting like their life depended on it.  I thought “this is a lesson?!? I’m in pretty good shape, but these guys are gonna stab the hell out of me!” Luckily though, after a quick call to the clubs manager and lead trainer Gene we were escorted to a side room to get our private lesson.

First, let me say this…fencing is a lightning quick sport and if your not use to the motions….don’t feel bad. Every beginner looks like a chump.  That being said after learning the etiquette of fencing, the weapons, and the basics from our wonderful teacher (Gene’s wife Laura), we were pitted against each other in a Battle Royale.

Advancing….lunging…parrying….repost….Lunge! It was awesome.  The final score 6:1… yours truly. I will say this… my girlfriend had way better footwork. While I looked like a drunken ogre tripping around she was dancing like a butterfly. But in the end my superior reflexes and speed won the day. I didn’t have long to bask in my glory before being challenged by Laura (with 20+ years of experience).  Her moves where eloquent and precise….but I did manage to score a few points on her which I’m proud of.  Overall, the experience was totally worth the measly $25 dollars I paid for it and I would highly encourage anyone to partake.  I even suggested it as occasional anger outlet for my relationship with my girlfriend.  I feel like I need to challenge someone to a duel…

How to properly prepare your backpack for a world tour or a trip

packing-upThat’s a tough question that requires a well-prepared approach. And that is what I will be discussing in the next paragraphs trying to cover the essentials of preparing your backpack for your next world tour. From the onset I will say that if you are really into this and it is the first time you plan on doing a world tour, you should go beyond the information you receive in this article because a trip around the world is not something you do on a regular basis (unless you are an avid traveler).

First of all, you must know that the contents of a backpack depend a lot on how you travel or the type of world tour you want to do. But before thinking about contents, there are some basics rules to keep in mind.

If you are a photographer / film-maker, then you have special requirements as well, for an extra camera bag. If you’d like to choose a great camera backpack, read the article on this topic.

General rules

When searching for a backpack it is important to think of pockets, storage spaces and compartments. Indeed, it is always easier to organize your bag when you can store objects, clothing and accessories in different parts each, rather than all in the same pocket!

Take one with protection against rain or make sure that you can purchase one cover separately which adapts to your bag.

Your bag should also be able to fully close with a zipper, in order to be able to put small padlocks and to lock your bag from nosy people. Indeed on some bags more often on old models, the main pocket closes with a lace and you won’t be able to secure your bag, that’s why those kinds of backpacks are not recommended. If you prepare for your first big trip, know that the error everyone else does is taking too much items.

If you go for a long period, you need to know that your backpack and your apparel will be your home, your cocoon. Then take the time to choose, because this will be your only assets, and when you are tired, it’s good to have your little home based on your comfort: favorite T-shirts, a cozy duvet, comfortable inflatable cushion, mp3 with a resistant casing, etc.

So now you know how to pack your backpack based on the general guidelines, now I’ll just concentrate on the all around the world trip with only one backpack and exactly what items to get with you.

The trip with only one backpack around the world

This is the journey where you start with your bag on the back, sleep in inns, small hotels, move using local transport, walk/trek and other activities (snorkel, bike, scooter, etc…)

For this type of travel, you should have the simplest, lightest and most useful content in your backpack.

From experience these are the most useful stuff:

  • Backpack 70L max, leave with the bag filled at around 2/3, which will allow for future purchases and souvenirs without having to carry an extra bag.
  • Weight of 12kg/25lb max
  • Clothing: take the time to carefully choose your clothing. You should pick your best quality / favorite clothes
  • Zipper Hood with soft and warm cloth inside: Get a hood with one of the warmest garments you can find. It is easy to dress it up and comes off quickly; very important if a fresh wind comes.
  • Money Belt: belt to hide the money and passport under clothing. Preferably waterproof, that will avoid that your tickets and passport become sweaty.
  • Adapter: universal plug, to be able to charge your devices in any country of the world
  • Poncho: tropical showers will get you wet pretty quick even if they don’t last for long
  • Airbag, noise cancelling earbuds, and sleep mask: indispensable to spend good relaxing nights in the worst conditions: uncomfortable train, the buzzers in the dorm, karaoke on the night bus, etc…
  • Sneakers or fine walking shoes, instead of hiking shoes: If you don’t regularly trek, hiking shoes will be cumbersome so go with high quality sneakers.

I won’t lie. There is no ideal content for a backpack for round the world or extended trips. It is up to you to readjust its contents depending on what you need and what seems unnecessary. What I highly recommend most of the time is that you should especially do not hesitate to get rid of the things that you do not use. Keep just the essentials.

That’s pretty much it, I know there still are some items I didn’t speak of but I only considered highlighting the ones that I think are absolutely indispensable. I Hope this guide will help you in your next trip around the world.