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The 2017 Gear Post

And now it's time for the one post per year about which people bug me for months: the 2017 gear post.

I realized that a lot of non-subscribers read this post every year, so I thought I'd drop a little background for context.

I've been more or less a nomad since 2008, and was one of the very first to really travel in a minimalist (one small backpack) way. I'm sure others came before me (and my friend Todd), but none I'm aware of who were writing about it.

I still travel for half to two-thirds of the year, exclusively with the gear I'll outline below. And even though I obviously have more items at home (cooking stuff, gym shoes), I don't have any additional clothes or warm-weather gear. In any given year I go to warm places in the summer as well as cold places in the winter. I work full time from my laptop both programming and writing. In other words— this is all of the gear I have, and I use it to do a lot of stuff.

Socially Conscious Companies

On Imported Blog

Stumbling through Whole Foods, I saw a pair of shoes I really liked. Now I had previously laughed at the idea of people buying shoes at Whole Foods, but for some reason I was really attracted to this pair of shoes from a brand called FreeWaters. I looked it up that night and found out it's so small / new that it doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

Now the reason Whole Foods sells it (or at least the reason I believe so) is that it has a social mission: to provide clean water throughout the world. For every pair that FreeWaters sells, one individual will be able to drink clean water for a year. Now I was mainly attracted by the style of the shoe, but their mission gave me the final edge to go ahead and buy the shoes.

This "social responsibility" of companies has been popularized by TOMS, the other shoe vendor you will find at Whole Foods (the only grocery store I know that will sell shoes but not Cinnamon Toast Crunch). For every purchase of a TOMS pair of shoes, the company pledges to donate one pair of shoes to someone who needs them.

TOMS shoes have surged in popularity. Almost every single girl I know has a pair, and so do some guys. In my opinion, without the social mission, the company would have not been able to see the success it sees. The marketing the company has done has been phenomenal. It truly is a win-win. The shoes by itself are a tad pricey (for the minimal nature of the shoe), but consumers feel justified when they know their efforts are going to help out someone in need. And plus, the shoes are significantly cheaper than let's say the new Nike Free Run. When debating whether to buy the Nike Free Run or TOMS for a new pair of casual shoes, the TOMS are cheaper and make the consumer feel good about themselves.

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