Australian Sound Artist

Monday, October 31, 2011

Letter's from Home: Travel Tips

I have made it back to Australia with gathered sounds intact. The oncoming months will be spent piecing together the works I initiated while at Noirlac - I am painfully aware of the fact that I am removed from Noirlac. If I discover I want a particular recording I can no longer walk out the door and into the environment I wish to record. I am separated from the space - and now - have to work in reflection of an experience rather than in the moment itself.

On another note - I wanted to post some general travel tips for other fellow sound artists. Small yet crucial details that I often wondered about and on speaking with others - could never find an answer to.

#1) Travel Insurance 
There was no way I was heading overseas without ensuring my recording gear was well and truly covered. Having spent years working below average jobs to put together my recording arsenal the thought of losing it in a single moment is enough to send me into foetal position. Standard travel insurance will not cover items above say $500 - $700 with the exception of a few specific items such as laptop, camera and phone. I managed to find a company who offered travel insurance for the entertainment industry - specialising in high-end production equipment. Action Insurance Brokers was their name. They weren't cheap by any means but they covered everything and anything I asked for - even making last minute changes over night with no problems at all. I found the most cost effective option was to take standard insurance (such as TID) to cover all my general gear and microphones under $700 (Laptop, camera, phone, leads, mic accessories etc), then all my high end equipment I insured with AIB.

#2) Packing: the eternal search for the perfect bag
Despite my insurance there are certain items I did not want leaving my side. Select microphones and my recording device were heading into the general luggage over my dead body - yet as you know - hand luggage is extremely limited and microphones need to be packed with care. 
Enter - the Crumpler Karachi Outpost. This badboy comes with detachable padded panels that you can pull out and change at will, as well as a laptop bag and side pockets. The image to the right is how the bag is on purchase, shots below are of how I packed my gear.


What you can't see is that under this top layer there was actually another layer of gear again, separated by the padded panels. Space was not a problem.... Weight however, was a concern. Return flight entailed frantically pulling items out of my hand luggage and shoving them into my general bag to appease an over zealous flight centre employee. Another plus is the fact that this bag only has one main zip for entry. This is positioned at the back of the bag, making it impossible for someone to access it when it's on your back. Team this with the fact that it's weather resistant, comfortable even at over 10kg and folds opens frontside down providing you with a portable work station and I was sold. Again, it was not cheap but seeing as my last bag managed to 'live' for 7 years - I think it's well worth it.

#3) Seeing the Countryside of France
:: Bike with boompole ::
- Can't say this would be viable for the wetter months of Europe but during the sunny season - highly reccommend it - particularly if you plan on heading to areas where a car cannot go (forests, private land). Bikes are a lot easier to hide under scrub and life over fences. They also allow you to listen to your environment as you travel whilst not polluting it with your own car engine. Nature is not frightened away and the locals are more lightly to greet you as you go sailing by. Team the above with my lantern, backpack carrying recording equipment and windjammer and I was prepared for anything, anywhere, anytime.