Digital Nomad Survival Kit: my backpack

I don’t like working at home, so I spend most of my days roaming the city and hanging out in cafes, lounges, restaurants. Sometimes I spend hours at airport terminals. Most of them are comfortable but still very far from the being perfect. So over time I put together quite an interesting survival kit made of a few objects, devices, and habits.

The rules

There are three rules about my backpack:

  1. It needs to fit the average carry-on-size on airplanes: I don’t want to switch bags depending on whether I’m traveling or not. I want a single bag, always the same.
  2. It needs to pass airport security: I don’t want to pack and repack over and over. I want a single setup that can easily pass through airport security and raise no red flags.
  3. It needs to be as light as possible: I always carry my bag with me. I never leave it behind. I never leave it in a parked car, for instance.

My former and my current bag

I used a Lowepro Runner 250 for almost four years. I recently switched to a Booq Boa Flow XL.

Obvious content

Computer, Phone, Camera. Who cares, boring stuff.

The real survival kit

Noise cancelling headphones and sleeping mask

I bought my Bose QC15 in Los Angeles at Best Buy and it was one of the best purchase ever. They allow to completely isolate myself wherever I am. Airports, cafes, bars, restaurants, metro stations, airplanes, trains, are all as relaxing as a summer rain. I packed my offline track lists on Spotify with nature sounds and I rely on when I need extra relaxation.

They come with a very nice semirigid shell which can fit a sleeping mask too. The two of them together make long flights short.

Waterproof Field notes and Akismet notebook

I love Field Notes and the waterproof edition is really cool. Combined with Akismet notebooks make a nice combo which allow me to take notes and sketches everywhere at every time, even when all the batteries are dead.

Personal Hygiene pack

It’s a sealable transparent bag containing: portable toothbrush, toothpaste, hands sanitiser, shaving razor and contact lenses liquid. It’s airport friendly and simply have to take it our of your bag when passing through security.

Rubik’s cube

A classic cube is one of the most powerful items you can carry around. It helps me to relax, have fresh ideas, concentrate on work. It also sparkles new conversations, makes new friends, opens doors. I cannot even remember how many times people on planes started conversations with me about my cube.

Magic Shifter

The Magic Shifter is a new entry in my survival kit. It’s an array of high-luminosity LEDs, controlled by an Arduino based open hardware control unit, all packed into a 3D-printed case. It can be used as a flashlight, a light signal, an emergency light a POV device. I use it when I need an extra kick of light in my pictures. It can be charged via USB.

Business Cards

Business cards may be old school, but they are useful to gain people’s trust and they can save a lot of time. You need to check in at a hotel? You need to reserve a table at a restaurant? You need an invoice? Drop them a business card, they won’t misspell your name and they will take you more seriously. I get my business cards at and so should you.

Deodorant and mints

If you need me to tell you why, then you totally need them.


Condoms save lives. You can quickly waterproof your phone. You can carry water or other liquids. You can keep water off the muzzle of your rifle. You can use them as emergency tourniquet to stop severe bleeding, and much much more. Be wise, pack them up!

Spare T-shirt

You never know when that nacho is gonna break and let that delicious guacamole make a mess with your T-shirt. You can also use a spare T-shirt as a pillow case a small blanket and so on. Just roll it up and it won’t take too much space in your bag.

Power Adaptor

Every country has a different power plug so I need to be ready to get juice no matter what. Get a universal power adaptor and you are good to go.

IKEA Sealable Plastic bags

These bags are awesome. They are cheap and they are so handy. You can waterproof your camera, your phone, contain dirty clothes. They come in several sizes and they are easy to replace.

Energy bars

I don’t like processed food very much. But there is something nastier than processed food: airplane food. No matter if I fly coach or business, I don’t eat airplane food. In order to do so I need to pack energy bars in my bag. I also use energy bars to mitigate jet lag. Having single portions with me, easy to manage, I can simply sync my calories intake with the destination city. I fast for 16 hours before the first breakfast on site and this helps me to get rid of drowsiness quite quickly. I can do that only with energy bars because they give me control over carbs, protein and calories.

Cables, Memory Cards, Adaptors

Until everything will be wireless we need them. I try to keep them all together in a small bag, tied with elastic bands and hidden in a pocket. More devices, more cables. I know, it’s a pain.

How About You?

How about you, is there any special device or trick you want to share? Drop a comment!

How a few gadgets can improve your travels: first hand review

I spent a week in Kauai for a business meet up and the experience was terrific. I’m very used to airports, planes, boarding cards, miles, etc. but I hadn’t been on a long haul trip like this since 2005 when I spent a few months in New Zealand.

I wanted to use this opportunity to benchmark a few gadgets designed to make the trip more comfortable. It took me 30 hours to go and 36 to come back, here my first hand report on a few toys I had with me:

Bose Quiet Comfort 15

These headphones are supposed to cancel background noises and provide an excellent music experience. I’m not an audiophile but I was really impressed by this device. The airplane engines vanish as soon as you turn them on and the music is loud and clear. They are also perfect for sleeping on crowded places.

Cost: $299 at BestBuy
Personal vote: YAY

Samsonite sleep mask with earplugs

sleep mask
I was not impressed about this sleep mask. Earplugs are very low quality and the cords are not comfortable on the ears. The mask is filled with polystyrene spheres so it keeps cool and soft. Not that much to be honest.

Cost: 10 Euro at a local shop
Personal vote: MEH

Samsonite travel pillow

It’s inflatable so you can pull it out only when you need it and put it back in a pocket when you’re done. At the beginning it was fine but past the first few hours it became very difficult to sleep on that pillow. It’s a plastic air bubble covered with a velvet-like fabric. So you start sweating and it soaks up within a few minutes. Then it stinks. No way.

Cost: 20 Euro at a local shop
Personal vote: NAY

This app is supposed to help meditating but it’s so useful during a long trip. You can isolate yourself during the long hours at the boarding gate and it can help to catch sleep on the plane.

Cost: Yearly subscription for $9.99 on iTunes Store
Personal vote: YAY


When you travel across multiple timezones and you have to sync with your team around the globe, just a basic clock app is not enough. On my iPhone I simply set up multiple clocks on the default app, but on my Mac I use Clocks to keep track of the time.

Cost: $2.99 on iTunes Store
Personal vote: YAY

Other must-have apps

  • Tripit Pro to keep track of my flights, hotels, rental cars and more.
  • Skype Pro is an essential tool because every airport/lobby/public wifi/airline nowadays have wifi accounting on Skype. So you don’t have to register every time and you pay with your Skype credit.
  • Spotify ideal travel companion, just remember to local-sync your favorite playlists so you can keep listen while in airplane mode.

Street ThreeSixtyFive Archive – Week 2 of 52

I only post BW, street, archive pictures. One a day, for one year. I will report here every week. Enjoy and follow me on instagram!

#day8 – Lost in Istanbul #365 #archive

#day9 – Vespa in Ravenna #365 #archive

#day10 – Lady in the rain in Prague #365 #archive

#day11 – Striped Shirt in Bologn #365 #archive

#day12 – Guido in Paris #365 #archive

#day13 – Shopping fatigue in Singapore #365 #archive

#day14 – Reader in Vienna #365 #archive

Power Outlets are the new Wi-Fi

Assuming that every airport in the world (as much as every hotel) is offering Wi-Fi connection (free or paid) to the travelers, most of the time is very complicated to find power outlets to charge the devices.
I think that power is a primary need and there’s room for some intelligent solution to it.

By the way, Vienna airport offers free Wi-Fi connection and free power outlets. So sweet!

Postcards from Italy

I’m spending two weeks of vacation back in Ravenna, Italy, my hometown. I decided to spend my holidays here because during the last few months I travelled a lot, and once I’ll be back in Vienna my non-stop-travelling will start again. The plan was to come here, relax and spend some days with my family that I hadn’t seen for a pretty long time.

Being here on holiday is giving me the opportunity to see this city with a new peace of mind and the same streets I used to walk on during my childhood are completely different now through the glass of my camera. I’m unexpectedly surprised by the beauty of this place.

These are the postcards about my new experience, enjoy.

Next week in Rome

Photowalk Rome

Next week I will be in Rome and I will attend a couple of interesting events:

I diritti dell’utente digitale – Rome 7th of June 2011

The Ugo Bordone Foundation is organizing an event about “Rights of the digital users”. My friend Guido Scorza will open the seminar with a keynote speech and it will be my pleasure to be there.

The seminar is free to attend but the registration is mandatory.

Forum della Comunicazione – Rome 7th and 8th of june 2011

Forum della Comunicazione is a yearly event where professionals, managers, opinion leaders discuss about the many aspects of communication.

In the afternoon I will present the Ignite Talk “Symbolic Violence and Social Media“.

See you there!

I will be in Rome from the 4th to the 8th of June. If you are around and you want to hang out for a beer, just let me know!

Enterprise Social 2.0 – Brussels 8, 9 march 2011

enterprise social 2.0

One of the best conference i attended last year was Enterprise Social 2.0 organized by KGS Global. This march, on the 8th and 9th will take place the second edition, in Brussels, Belgium.

Of course i will be there and i strongly recommend to have a look at the speaker’s lineup, it’s really awesome!

See you in Brussels!

Here more infos and registration.