I managed to work and travel around the world for 4 years with these 22 basic but essential things in my backpack. I hope the list will help you once you make the bold decision to set off on the road and make the world your office.
1. Send a scanned copy of your passport, international driver’s license, credit cards, and international health insurance to your email. And of course don't forget to take the originals along.
2. Deuter Traveller 70 + 10 Backpack – a comfortable backpack to carry, with enough space for all the items needed for a long-distance trip.
3. Unlock your smartphone and download some travel apps (e.g. MapsWithMe, Entrain Yourself, XE Currency, Triplt, Google Translate, Skyscanner). It can also substitute your torch as well as photo and video cameras.
4. A light laptop, together with a portable USB LED (if you are a Microsoft user), allows you to work in the dark, especially if you plan to sleep in dorms.
5. With Kindle you can take tons of books with you on a single ultralight device.
6. Adapter USB LAN and a LAN cable. For example, many hotels in Japan don't have WI-FI, only LAN Internet connection. So if you have a McBook Air, you'll definitely need that adapter.
7. Headphones with a microphone are essential for video conferences. Also, sometimes you don’t feel like talking to people, so having a while for yourself listening to some good music may come in handy.
8. Plug Adapter. Some of them have got a USB slot to charge your cellphone.
9. Water Resistant Bags to protect your electronic devices and documents (passport, insurance) from the rain.
10. Padlocks to protect your valuables. Look for one with a combination lock in case you lose the key.
11. Money Belt to secure and discreetly store money and copies of your documents.
12. Journal. Keep track of your stories, write down your ideas.
13. Headlamp. Dimmer ensures you get the exact light you need for any use with the push of a single button.
14. Earplugs – great if you can't stand snorers in dorms or if you want to have a nap on public transport.
15. Medical Kit. Some of them also contain a language kit to help overcome language barriers. Don’t forget to add your own regular medicines.
16. The inevitable Swiss Army knife. It may be prohibited in some countries (e.g. Japan).
17. Collapsible water bottle Platypus: 80% lighter and more compact than an empty hard bottle of equal volume.
18. Lifestraw water filter, just in case of a long hike or a dodgy water tape.
19. Treated Mosquito Net. Protect yourself from infected mosquitoes.
20. Sleeping bag liner: compact, light, strong, easy to wash and fast to dry. Perfect for avoiding dirty-looking beddings at hostels.
21. Maximize space in your backpack with Packing cubes.
22. Buff Handkerchief which can be used as a headband, hairband, bandelet, hat, neckband, armband, waistband, skirt and so on.
In terms of clothing, bear in mind that the individual items have to be light, easy to wash and fast to dry. So just forget about jeans straight away. What I used to have in my backpack: a long sleeve tee, 3 t-shirts, a windproof jacket, a fleece jacket, a pair of detachable pants, a pair of sunglasses,socks, underwear, a pair of walking shoes, a pair of sandals (I recommend Teva Dozer), a pair of flip-flops, and a microfiber towel.