I have been traveling pretty much non-stop for the past year and a half.
As a self-proclaimed teahead (I love that term), making sure I have the proper tools and of course leaf is a top priority.
Before I left (and packed up my apartment), I emptied my cabinet of my favorite teas into my backpack. I think there were 6 or seven in total. I added my 12 inch glass thermometer and a loose leaf strainer which I grabbed at the mall (I was not going to take my giant tea pot with me).
That was the extent of what I had for the first 6 months…
Well my thermometer was accidentally shattered by my roommate in month one. And by month 4 I was buying pretty much whatever tea I could find in Portugal and then Morocco.
I restocked my supply on a trip home to the US in December, along with another glass thermometer, and got back on the road.
I unexpectedly had to go back to the US one more time in January. It was at that point that I recall seeing my giant 45 oz. ceramic teapot sitting unused in my sisters kitchen. I decided at that point I would take it with me. And so for the next 5 months I carried it all across South America.
No complaints really, but it wasn’t the most practical of things to carry with me due to it’s fragility. I wrapped it in clothing and put it in my backpack which I carried on the planes.
I was happy regardless.
Fast forward to today…
I left everything listed above at home. I decided that I would acquire the right teas and tools as I chartered my way through Japan, Taiwan, and elsewhere in Asia.
I picked up several senchas and gyokuros in Japan. I picked up a supply (and possibly a mild addiction) of matcha. I added a chasen (wisk) and a chashaku (scoop) — the right tools are essential.
I added a Yixing clay teapot in Taiwan, along with two sets of a tasting and aroma cup. I picked up a delicious Li Shan oolong will there.
I added several teas in Vietnam.
Then on to Singapore where I added yet another tea pot — this one made of porcelain. I added a puerh cake to my collection, as well.
I am now in Thailand where I was gifted a handmade tea cup from a local craftsman.
I have since shattered one of the oolong cups and broken my chashaku.
I am carrying around my teapots in cardboard boxes which I cram into my backpack.
I am not sure that this is the best way to travel, but I am making do with what I have.
Maybe I will design a more efficient travel kit oneday. I have seen few, but nothing that really stood out as being worthwhile.
In the meantime, I am VERY happy to have my daily tea with the tools that I have.