About nomadic life

Ah, the nomadic life… (note necessarily me). What a fascinating lifestyle it is. Easy and appealing. It hooks. 

No ties to belongings, contracts or bills. He walks light, just a few kilograms in quantity of 6 or 8, plus what he wears, which allows him to move forward easily, almost in an ethereal way. He takes the advantages from each place and discards the bad ones. He takes the flowers and misses the thorns. He enjoys optimizing the luggage and even creates a a new words to describe that feeling. He didn’t find that word yet but probably it woulds ends as “-tisfaction”. He knows the value of magical technology and allows it to take some grams in his bag. Doing like that applies also to life. We are here just temporary and it’s better go light. Belongings will not come with us, actually they will become dust eventually. 

I add something: Being nomadic is not needed all the time. Actually it fatigues a little.

Ah, the dollar... Mickey doesn't love you!

I had the opportunity to use dollars in Cambodia recently. Having US dollars in the pocket creates feeling which don't happen with other currencies.

US dollar pushes you to spend money. It also gives you a kind of power, even when you carry just a few dollars. It's all about psychology.

Anyways, here I show a tribute to dollar and money in general. A weird entity everybody use but not many people understand. Meaning of money now is so different from some decades ago since it's not just a value keeping but a complex system of rights and taxes. However it remains the same in people's mind. Maybe it's because notes in paper are the same.

And yes, again: Mickey Mouse is not your friend. He doesn't love you!


Eyes: A window to the Cosmos

Fascinating eyes. What a complex move in the evolution path. Why eye was created? Some could think (and they do) the final goal of the universe is to be self-conscious. I don't think so even when it's a magic explanation.
Anyways one thing is clear: I can feel the Cosmos is looking at me through the eyes of a wise cat, a calm elephant and more cases. It's all about feeling.


Angkor Wat (ercolor)

Angkor Wat in watercolor style.

Also writing about a new discovery: No head Buddha. Negative thinking? Practice no head. No thinking at all! I guess it's my favorite Buddha from now on. Better even the laying Buddha.


Asia feeling

When I think of Asia I see street food. And also activity, crowd streets, cables, motorbikes, nice people, good feeling, extraordinary food, Summer clothes, tropical fruits and all kind of smells.

Everything flows. I hope Asia never changes, or changes for better.


Map of the (not finished) route

Map updated. Completed until today however I have no idea what's the next stop. Fortunately there are so many great places in Asia so I will leave the Orange route line open.

Btw, the water used for the watercolor was taken in Arabian Sea, so the map is made with real water. I love these kind of mystical links. They add value, I guess.

Orange monks in Cambodia

Angkor Wat, modern times

The world has changed and it's still changing so extremely fast. Globalization is in everywhere.

It's not possible to visit the tourist places any more. Not only in Europe, where they were ruined some years ago, now in most of the places.

I stopped visiting tourist points long time ago and only did some exceptions. One of them, recently in Angkor Wat, supposed to be a first level highlight. Well, I expected something like that. I was selective with places in the guides (which I use as places to avoid in general) but now it's time to take a clear action.

Anyways, from now on I stop all kind of visits to temples, pagodas, waterfalls and those kind of places. I said.

Angkor Wat at sunrise.

Martin Parr spirit came to me again and gave me the chance to take these shots. Great!


ABC: Leter B

Just B.

The universe doesn't need you think or do complex things. Just be. Be what you are and being, you will contribute to the whole plan, the unknown wish of the create force. A stone behaves as a stone and being stone is part of the Cosmos mechanism.

Oh, yes!


Happy to be part of it

I'm happy to be part of this book. @editorsophie, from Taiwan, contacted me in order to include me, together with other people passionated about notebooks, in this project. Many thanks!

In many cases I receive interviews proposals which are completely cold, sent in a copy/paste style with questions which are showing the lack of interest and passion. Maybe they are in a hurry or just someone assigned them the task as part of a employee deal. Same with collaborations, commissions, etc. They want the chewed fruit in the mouth with less effort. I ignore them all. But it wasn't the case of Sophie, just the opposite. I felt she knew my artwork in detail and it was a pleasure for me answering the questions with dedication.

The book is made with love, taking care of every detail and in a beauty way. I don't understand a single word in Taiwanese but I can feel the work inside.


It is available to buy here: http://global.pchome.com.tw/english/prod/DJAH07-A9007M1Z9

I show here some of the pages:

 Look at this cute drawings!


Work of a genius

When I visited this restaurant o whatever it is I didn’t realize the kind of jewel I had in front on my eyes until a few moments later. It was near Luang Prabang bus station and it’s a kind of food shop, restaurant and home.

I’m not joking if I say it looks dirty and chaotic in a first moment. Then I discovered a fascinating collection of details in everywhere. The result is a whole artwork in its highest level. A genius’ creation.

I will not describe it, photos talk by themselves.



ABC in tiny boxes

I discovered this great turquoise-cobalt color and I love it now more and more. It's magic. I think I will complete a full serie about ABC in tiny boxes.

Seen in Burj Khalifa, Dubai

What a risky job.  I can't imagine the feeling of being hanged at that level.

Bellow, the biggest mall, Dubai Mall. All here is huge size.


How to resonate the Cosmos

Instructions about how to resonate the Cosmos:

1.) Take air.

2.) Keep it inside for a moment.

3.) Breathe out slowly trying to tune the proper frequency. Using the word "OM" helps.

Your chest, mouth and body will resonate. Air particles will vibrate around you. Those particles will push others and eventually the vibration will be propagated along the Cosmos.

You are the center of the universe for a time, you are an active part of it. You have created an iteration. You are the Cosmos.


"Soy parte del Cosmos, por tanto, yo soy el Cosmos."


India is intensity. I had forgotten the smell and other "only in India" details and now I'm back in Mumbai and all come to my mind.


Mao's favourite book

Equipaje optimizado

Comenzando un viaje con mi mochila de 5,3 kg (más el ordenador portátil y la ropa puesta).

Me alegro enormemente del momento en el que tomé la decisión de optimizar el equipaje del viaje. Ahí empezó un camino en el que iba rebajando gramos de aquí y de allá con el resultado de llegar a una mochila bastante ligera que cambia considerablemente la manera de viajar. Andar por ahí sin el lastre que supone una mochila pesada, por no mencionar una maleta, agiliza todo, disminuye las preocupaciones y además está en armonía con la filosofía de la optimización de la vida en general.

Lejos queda mi primer viaje de larga duración en el que di la vuelta al mundo durante nueve meses con mochila. Antes de salir de casa no veía la manera de meter todo lo que necesitaba (o creía necesitar) en una mochila de 70 litros. ¡70 litros! Además con una segunda mochila para el día a día con la cámara réflex dentro. Después de algunos meses vi que cada vez llevaba menos cosas; la cantidad de ropa había disminuido drásticamente y aumentado la de libros. Al final del viaje sobraba bastante sitio.

Sin embargo ahí solo había aplicado la experiencia de viajar, que ya trajo un buen resultado. Aún faltaba un estudio en profundidad sobre cómo optimizar mucho más el equipaje y llegar a otros niveles. ¿Y cómo se hace eso? La respuesta es analizando cada uno de los objetos por si se puede eliminar o reducir y teniendo una báscula a mano para pesar a nivel de gramos. Cada gramo cuenta. Hacer una lista Excel ayuda muchísimo a tener una visión de dónde va cada gramo y dónde conviene optimizar.

Como al final habrá que tomar decisiones de compromiso es necesario tener claros los objetivos antes de empezar. En mi caso dichos objetivos son:

1. Alcanzar el menor lastre posible para moverse ágilmente.
2. Minimizar las preocupaciones materiales por miedo a pérdida, robo o daño.

Para conseguirlo es fundamental reducir peso, volumen y coste del equipaje.

La mayoría de las mejoras se pueden alcanzar casi instantáneamente y sin sacrificio alguno.

“Optimizar, optimizar, pararse a pensar y optimizar más.”

El equipaje completo, salvo la mochila.

Cada uno encontrará su manera y no voy a describir cada detalle. Solo mencionaré algunos puntos relevantes que pudieran ser de utilidad.

Algunas mejoras relevantes:

Dejar en casa la máquina de escribir. Sí, puede que el viaje llegue a ser aburrido y carezca de sentido, pero a cambio se ahorran unos 9 kg. Oh, yes.

Reducir las mochilas, bolsas, fundas, y resto de elementos que guardan otras cosas. Importante: queremos llevar el contenido de las bolsas, no las bolsas en sí. Se puede medir el peso del conjunto de bolsas en un equipaje no optimizado y el porcentaje sobre el peso total es alarmante. Eliminarlas o minimizarlas. Por ejemplo, al llevar demasiados cables acabaremos necesitando una bolsa para los cables. Eso supone un extra que aumenta el peso de manera no proporcional. Si seguimos ese camino, al final necesitaremos una mochila más grande o incluso una maleta con ruedas. Las ruedas y la pesada estructura de las maletas es un peso que no nos sirve de nada pero que provocan un salto considerable en el peso total. Lo recomendable es no tener que recurrir a maletas y lleva una mochila de no más de 700 g. ¿Para qué cargar con mochilas llenas de cremalleras, refuerzos o correas que no hacen más que sumar gramos? Los ecubes para organizar los elementos dentro del equipaje parecen ser una opción muy tentadora a primera vista porque organizan muy bien pero hay que usar con precaución porque son una fuente invisible de añadir peso.

Llevar cuatro fotografías de carné en vez de ocho. No parece que hayamos conseguido un gran progreso aquí, pero es importante para mantener la filosofía de la optimización en cada uno de los detalles. No reduciremos el peso mágicamente de un solo elemento sino que será la suma de muchas optimizaciones pequeñas. En el caso de las fotos se ha reducido un 50%. Fácil imaginarse una reducción así del equipaje en general aplicando esto mismo a cada artículo. Otros ejemplos son la sustitución de por portaminas metálico por uno de plástico, una regla metálica por una de plástico, desodorante de cristal por uno de plástico, etc.

Reducir la toalla. Es uno de los elementos más voluminosos y pesados. Una toalla de ducha normal pesa 300 g mientras que una toalla de microfibra recortada a 64 x 44 cm, solamente 60 g. La reducción del volumen es también increíble.

La ropa se puede reducir no solo en cantidad sino en peso. Una camiseta tipo polo pesa 270 g y no seca fácilmente. Una camisa thai tan solo 90 g y seca rapidísimo. Es tres veces más ligera.

He cambiado la máquina de afeitar (245 g) por cuchillas y espuma (63 g), tan solo la cuarta parte. Sin los cables de la máquina ni de otras cosas que solía llevar, ya no necesito bolsa de cables.

Evitar añadir cosas al equipaje “por si acaso”. Si alguien aplica la filosofía del “por si acaso” debe ser coherente y salir de viaje con la casa entera. O ni salir.

Mejor elementos fácilmente reemplazables. Evitar dependencia y quebraderos de cabeza.

Mi ordenador portátil es un poco viejo ya: 15 pulgadas y 2935 g con el cargador incluido. Ahora hay opciones similares por 1 kg menos que convendría investigar. Es el artículo más pesado y delicado de la mochila pero no lo sacrificaría por nada porque un sueño hecho realidad. ¿Cómo imaginarnos tan solo hace unos años que tendríamos semejante máquina del futuro a nuestro servicio con la que podemos trabajar, crear y comunicarnos, entre otras cosas, en cualquier parte del mundo? No sin mi portátil.

Y así todo.

Cuando salí de casa para mi último viaje, cuando tomé la fotografía que aparece al principio del texto, la mochila pesaba 5,3 kg (más 2,9 kg del ordenador portátil). Es una buena referencia para empezar y se puede reducir bastante más.

New notebook. Back to black

Just one year ago I start to write in my full handmade notebook. I created a post about it here.

It took me one year to finish it. Still some pages to be filled. So it’s time for a new one. I think creating your own notebook is the only way to have it as you want. I use the same verge paper (120g/m2) cream color which gives me great result. It not only can deal with all kind of fountain pen inks but also has an amazing feeling when writing (and touching!).

However, I’ve done a couple of steps forward in this new version:

     1. More number of pager. Up to 50% more pages than the previous notebook. This thickness creates a powerful and magnificent looking. 288 pages (plus one for the first and final paper undercover), that’s 144 spreads, a good number which I can fix into a 12 x 12 box in order to see all pages together and maybe discover other secret information which can’t be seen in other way.

     2. Black leather. I had to buy the whole piece of leather, which is risky and expensive for a test. Anyways I’m so happy with the result and now I have enough leather for a few more notebooks. No need to mention the touch is superb and I enjoy the notebook also with my eyes and hands.
Used materials
I expect the thickness will increase about 40% once it’s filled because some things like stamps will be glued. Even when I’ve balanced a little bit that future thickness in advance, a stylish curve will appear with time. I love curves in fat and used notebooks.

It’s a direct way to create a strong link between the notebook and you, a real one. At the end it’s all about feelings.


My portable studio for travels

Here the inside of my travel writing kit. I use it in my last travel to Southeast Asia.

Left: Wooden box with current writing tools. Rulers, glue, Pilot G-3, hard pencil, Pilot G-2, Pigma Micron, Zebra brush, Stabilo orange and turquoise, mechanical pencil, Lamy fountain pen, TWSBI fountain pen, Platinum Carbon fountain pen, fine brush, scissors, sharpener, sepia pencil and eraser.

Right: Case for spare tools plus tiny watercolor box, inks and tape. Still things to optimize, for example swapping the wooden box for a fabric case could save weight and volume but for me this box means a kind of ritual writing.

It's not too heavy and contains all I need. It could be optimized a lot and I'm thinking about it these days.

Some additional notes:

Wooden box is a kind of writing ritual for me. It's always in my field of vision and is part of the notebookmaking atmosphere. Too heavy and big for an optimized backpack.

Scissors are (sometimes) prohibited on flights . They are cheap and easy to find so it's worth to use them and buy new ones after flying. Otherwise paying for extra luggage only for this reason has no sense.

I'd include a waterproof bag for the notebook. Raining and humidity in the backpack could damage the paper so easily.

I've discovered a new world of watercolor colors. That makes difficult to keep this tiny box only, but this is another story.

The main idea behind this is to appreciate the power of a portable studio. Everyday a new scenario. That provides a great level of flexibility and freedom.

And again, you don't need complex tools in order to create magic. Keep near to the basic and easy to replace items.


Each being is extraordinary and...

"Each being is extraordinary and deserves respect and admiration."

We all are a miracle. Even the tiniest insect is admirable. Just look it closer and appreciate the magic of nature. And it's alive, therefore deserves respect. Everything is connected to each other. We all are the same thing.
While sleeping a few days in the jungle of Isaan, north of Thailand, I had the visit of all these animals. Quite scary. Unknown noises in the middle of the night, mice walking along the roof or mosquitoes with surprise around. Safe inside the mosquito net. In that moment one has the wish of kill them or desire they vanish. I considered it as a patience test.

Well, I have to mention all were real animals but the alligator, which actually was a lizard. A giant one. The biggest seen in the area, as a local person told me, and it decided to take my hut as its castle even keeping its eggs there.

Btw, I'm loving this all blue style for sketches. Ink: Diamine Eau de Nil, one of my top inks since the fist use.


10 years with this backpack

Train in France in a rainy day

I've been using this backpack for the last 10 years as a daily bag in all my travels. Also as city backpack and many other scenarios. Together with my dear boots this is the most quality and reliable item I've ever found. Never broken, neither a single lost threat nor a failure in the zippers. Actually this brand provide lifetime warranty.

However I don't want to highlight the item itself, which is a manufactured product, but the connection with it since it has been a travel companion in many peak experiences in my life. It was never far from me, maybe not more than one meter. Sometimes I took it with me in the shower when I slept in shared dorms.
Boots and backpack in the Annapurnas, Nepal

Recently I've started to look for new main backpack because of this ultralight packing fever. I found only rubbish when I compare them with this. Maybe I have to research deeper. If the new optimized method works probably I will need only a main backpack and I will give a little rest to my dear and helpful backpack. Let's see...


Treasure map

This sheet is my Midori. I drew it some years ago as a test, just adding things with no pressure for failure. That's the way. There is a "treasure map" and now I realize the treasure itself is the learned lesson: Enjoy and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

Writing tools while traveling

I used these items during my last travel. Quite optimized but not fully ultralight kit.

Current notebook (blue one), auxiliar notebook for fast notes, agenda, etc. (red one), wooden box with writing tools and fabric bag with spare pens. Some day I will show the tools inside.

I found this setting quite confortable. Wooden case is a kind of ritual. Opening it means start writing.

And this is my portable studio. Every day different views.


The days in Bangkok

Bangkok is an incredible city. I stayed 34 days there during my last visit to Thailand and I'm never tired of that place. Mix of Asia and a electric modern city.

Always in love with Thailand.

With my new orange friends

What a nice surprise. Orange monks in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Epic (brown) Mekong river in the background.


Adversity makes you push harder

Cosmos sets the rules. We just try to adapt to them. Adversity is a trigger force and we should take advantage of it in order to improve ourselves.

Fight against that force is useless. Manage it and dance with it is better.

14 years of continuous use

Happy birthday to my dear boots!
They are with me since my first real travel, far away in Inter Rail times in 2002.
Actually the first time I don't use them for traveling has been in my recent trip to Thailand.
Always fascinated by its extremely high quality. Even cords have never been replaced in these years. The best item I've bought so far.
Here my little tribute to them.


Outstanding people I. Sung A. Park

I've had always in my mind start a group of posts about relevant people I found in my planet and living at the same time than me. Here is the first of these posts.

Sung A. Park 

South Korea

A real artists can recognize beauty, which is important, and also create it, which is a gift and a powerful skill. Sung A. can do both and I started to admire her since the first second I saw her drawings. It's not about the technique, there is more behind. The feeling in every detail comes form inside her because she can see deeper and process the information with a high level of sensitivity. Candidate to be one of the "person of the year".

Some of her mind blowing artwork can be seen in the link above. High recommendable to have a look at.
 She uses a needle writing tool. I though I use write fine but this is even eXtrafiner.
 What an honor she drew a portrait of me during our meeting in Bangkok. She also inspired me travel in the watercolor world and I think that's not a bad idea. Thanks!