1. Day 1: London to Iceland: Tormented by a perennial problem.

    I’m boarding my plane to Reykjavik, which I can still barely spell. At this point I guess I just keep following the boards directing me to the destination with the most consonants. Should any Welsh city appear on the board, I’d be ruined. Based on the footwear of my fellow travelers, I realise I’m not headed to any average destination. Everybody on this flight is wearing small tanks on their feet. To a man, woman and child, each one sports an indestructible hiking shoe in every possible color, shape and size - which based on this selection is either black or brown, has a big thick sole, a round toe and serpentine hi-tech lacing system. Looking down at my own pair, I am forced to return to the biggest concern of my journey so far: I’ve horribly overpacked. I don´t just have one set of indestructible hiking shoe, I have two sets of indestructible hiking shoes. One is a set of boots, the other, which I´m wearing, is a hybrid running shoe type thing.

    This is by no means where the overpack ends. I also have two kinds of tweezers in my possession. One is solely for removing ticks. The other, I guess, is for all other kinds of shrapnel. Of course what I’m neglecting to mention is that should the worst occur, I still have another tweezers in my Swiss army knife - which itself comes with 17 other types of cutting functionality. I have nearly no idea what I´ll use one type of cutting implement for - not to mind 17. So, I have 3 types of tweezers and two types of indestructible hiking shoes, and 17 ways to chop stuff up. To go with this, I have three types of Mozzie spray, two types of bite ointment, an emergency resuscitation blanket, three types of stomach tablets, a set of Kevlar cutlery, two types of flash light, and of course two types of iPod along with a solar panel recharger and every conceivable cable and connection in the world recharging industry.

    I have a first aid kit which could lead to immigration officers demanding I get a working visa. Should somebody be injured or take ill, unless rubbing the kit on their wounds helps, they´re shit outta luck, because I don´t have the foggiest how to use the damn thing. I have a LED torch so powerful it can shine for 80meters. Should I use that in a hostel, or worse, on a train at night, I run the risk of blinding my fellow travelers. Based on that, it´s probably classifiable as a weapon - should it go off accidentally and dazzle a bystander into a near death stupor, I´ll be adding insult to injury by wiping my first aid kit over their eyes.

    Like most of what I´ve got with me, I didn´t want it, or think I needed it, but when it was suggested, how could I say no? How do I know I´m not going to need it? And from there stems the nature of all overpacking - how do you pack for the unknown? In my case, very carefully.