Radio Shack World Tour

Cliff carries a lot of stuff. More than I do, by far.

You may have gleaned from his various gadgety posts, camera compositions and programming geek-outs that he’s a bit of a device devotee. That’s fine – I benefit greatly from that. With the MyFi, we’re almost always connected to the internet; we can empty the camera card with the card reader and laptop and keep batteries charged with the charger, giving us near limitless photo-taking abilities; our GPS device has a pedestrian function, so it’s helpful whether we’re driving or not.

Unfortunately, all of these things take up space, physical and mental. Each of these devices has a cable with which to connect and/or charge it and those cables need to be transported without damaging the port. A few of the devices have their own bags in which they live. And none of these are the bare necessities of travel, i.e. clothes, shoes and toiletries. Those all get transported separately.

Too much stuff!

So you can imagine our dismay when Cliff left one of his bags of devices on the train.

He was outfitted much as he is in the above picture: camera bag on belt, backpack with tripod and lens case on back, purse with iPod Touch, cell phone, navi as well as wallet and passport. Upon getting off the train – which was making its one-hour trip back up the Zugspitze – we didn’t notice anything. It was when we got in the car and started looking for the GPS device that the realization dawned: the purse was gone. Not in the backpack, not in my purse, not already stashed in the car, simply gone – along with about 500€ worth of electronics, Cliff’s credit cards, driver’s license and his proof of U.S. citizenship.

We rushed back to the ticket kiosk to ask the guy there when the just-departed train could next be checked for a missing bag. He was very helpful and sympathetic and called the next station, then passed the alert on to all of the other stations along the way. However, no one saw it. We had one more hope. The trip up the Zugspitze is a three-part journey: first a regular train, then a cogwheel train and, finally, a cable car. The guy called up to the final station of the cogwheel train and they said they would contact him when it rolled in. About 15 minutes later, just as we were giving up and preparing to call the banks and have our cards canceled, the call came in. The purse was there!!! Most of the way up the mountain, but it was in possession of the rail workers and would come back down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in about an hour. We had some coffee to pass the time and rolled back up just as the train arrived. Not only was the purse there, but it was entirely untampered with! All contents present and accounted for.

As happy an ending as this is, I don’t really want to risk this rigmarole again. So I’m putting this out there to other gadgeteers and photo enthusiasts *cough*Snooker*cough*: how do you keep track of everything? Is there anyone out there that carries a comparable amount of stuff who has found a way to efficiently consolidate?