Heading off on holiday at the start of the year I needed to travel light, really light. Two weeks exploring the mountains and less-trodden paths of Laos on motorbikes enforced this.There’s only so much you can cram into a backpack and onto a rear carrier and being only my first time using an off-road motorbike I wanted to make sure I stayed upright!
Normally when I pack to go away, at least half of my carry-on is made up of lenses, a microphone, my Nikon D7000 and sometimes even the dive housing for it. So I thought I’d test myself and see if I could make do with my tough Nikon COOLPIX AW100 and nothing else. Would I be able to survive not having a range of goodies with me? Having it tucked in my chest pocket meant I was ready for a quick draw. No stopping, unpacking and missing the moment. By having it ready for the action meant I took more snaps, more often.
Being small and discreet also means less intrusive in sensitive situations. I sometimes question myself and other travellers, thrusting a long lens in someones face or whipping out thousands of dollars worth of kit in a small town in a developing country. Sometimes it makes sense not to play the photo-journalist and respect the culture of the people whose lives I’m witnessing.
Once I’d got over my DSLR-less void, I enjoyed the experience. It was easy to take a snap and tuck my camera away again, or share it with the curious faces of the kids as they marvelled at their own image. Add to that being able to use it in situations I’d never take my Nikon D7000; on a kayak, on an elephant or for a bike ride, and suddenly I realised I could get by without all the extra gubbins when I need to travel light.
Back at work in Australia, travelling the country filming and photographing my travels, I slipped back into my DSLR-sphere immediately. But I know when I head off on the next pack-light adventure I’ll be taking my compact along for the ride.
To find out more about the Nikon COOLPIX AW100 tough camera, click here.
To see more of Ben’s adventures and travel stories, click here.