What gear would you take on a 5-year, 9,000-mile walk?
Social-media maven Michael Lee Johnson is walking from Beijing to London, tweeting all the way with a bag full of life-sharing gadgets.
OK, let's just say you decide to walk the length of Europe and Asia and bring all your social-media peeps along for the journey. What devices would you bring with you to keep in touch and document your epic stroll?
These aren't questions most of us will ever be faced with, but Michael Lee Johnson is thinking very hard about the answers right now as he prepares to embark on a half-decade long sojourn by foot from Beijing to London later this year.
A developer from England who has also worked in social media (he had a moment of notoriety whenthe 1-cent ad he purchased to promote his Google+ account), marketing and a few startups, Johnson tells me he's treating his trip as a sort of startup of its own.
In fact, the idea for a major overland trip was originally conceived as a marketing stunt for a startup. The startup is no more, but Johnson's dream of sharing the near-entirety of an epic personal journey lives on.
"My entire journey is going to be life-streamed over social media. I will be doing live Google+ hangouts in every village and city, alongside real-time streaming sessions at different points of my journey."
He'll have help with all this from somebody running those sessions from a stationary location somewhere else in the world, but he'll still be hauling a pretty impressive stack of gear in his backpack:
One Bluetooth headset and mic
One unlocked Galaxy Nexus
One Nokia Lumia
Two GoPro HD Hero 3's
One lightweight HP ultrabook
One LiveStream.com broadcaster
One Sony ECM-44B lapel mic
One handheld Garmin GPS
Two solar chargers
One Nikon SLR (or a more compact digital camera)
That list could change if Johnson manages to get more sponsors for the trip. So far, he says Nokia is not only hooking him up with a Lumia phone, it'll also be shipping free upgrades for him to pick up along the way. So if France is rocking a 6G network by the time he passes through, Johnson will be up to date.
Of course, Johnson likely won't have 3G access for a good portion of the walk, so he plans to make use of Internet cafes, hostels, friendly locals , or whatever is available.
He also says he's created an app that will update and post his location every 30 seconds.
Of course, there are challenges to such an ambitious endeavor.
"One of my main problems is the Great Firewall of China, but I will be using private VPN networks to get around that," Johnson says.
There's also the matter of how to fund living and traveling for multiple years. In addition to offering sponsorships, Johnson will be starting his own crowdfunding campaign soon. He applied to Kickstarter, but was turned down.
When it's all over with, he plans to self-produce a film and book about the journey. That is, so long as thieves don't use his constantly updated position to snag all that sweet gear and run. My suggestion: add a taser to that pile of gadgets, Mr. Johnson.