Travelling in style: An interview with photographer Thorsten von Overgaard

Photographer Thorsten von Overgaard and I have been preparing to do an interview for many months now. Instead of doing one interview, Thorsten has answered one of my questions with a video, “What do you travel with?”

The “Louis Freedom Train”
When I travel, I call it the “Louis Freedom Train” because the trolley is packed with Louis Vuitton cases and bags. It is also a moment of FREEDOM when I leave for a new adventure. My travelling always consists of one bag with cameras and one bag with computer gear. Only suitcase(s) are checked in.

The Louis Freedom Train in the Charles de Galle airport, Paris. With LV, vintage Dior, Mulberry and Goyard bags. The LV Keepall 55 is a vintage I bought from photographer Jan Grarup that used to take it around the world to war zones. The big black bag is from ACE Hotel and is practical for all the extra stuff you accumulate. It is a copy of the German military bag soldiers would pack all their gear in.

I love bags and the quality of a bag is usually judged on the inside details no matter how well thought out the design aesthetics are and the durability. Only the owner sees the inside, so that is usually where the shortcuts and shortcomings are visible. Louis Vuitton has made bags and suitcases for travelers for 159 years, and they are made practical and indestructible for people who move a lot. I am well aware that is it also a luxury brand, and I guess that is what makes it perfect for me: Luxury that is practical and indestructible, with a well-tested idea behind it. I had too many suitcases destroyed to keep buying cheap bags.

Goyard is another brand that has been in the business of making trunks and bags for 221 years and offers the same quality and price range. Other than that, I only know of Billingham who has made bags for 40 years that last a lifetime of rough use. I have a few of those as well.

An extended home
The key to travelling with suitcases is that they act as an extended home. Simplicity, style and stuff that makes me happy is the key to my travel. It’s luxury lifestyle, simplified to the absolute minimum.

The suitcase is divided into compartments. One compartment holds an empty camera bag packed with soft stuff inside. Another compartment is for a hat that has scarves rolled up inside and soft things around it. The third compartment is for papers for my workshops.

Outside the compartments are a toiletry bag and all the other small things like extra chargers, books, etc. My wardrobe basically consists of a number of the same black Armani T-shirt and black Marc Jacobs cashmere sweaters. Only the number varies depending on how long the travel is, but nothing needs folding or ironing so it is very flexible to pack.

I am a wholehearted hater of wheels. I hate when people trolley around in airports with their pathetic trolleys that block everything. I used to have a Pelican trolley for the Leica dSLR equipment some years ago. I know how practical it seems to pack a heavy bag on wheels, just to realize how unpractical it turns out in airports, taxis, train stations and undergrounds. You have to lift it over countless obstacles. Not to mention that those wheels only work on very nice and even surfaces, not on a London or New York sidewalk.

Wheels are the fastfood of modern travel and basically equip each traveler with an extra weight of four kilos (which is the weight of wheels and handle) and reduce the space in a carry-on by 20% so as to have space for the wheels and handle. Personally, when I travel, everything has to have a size and weight that is practical to carry.

For the photographers and camera fanatics, you can read more about what’s inside Thorstens camera bags on Japan Camera Hunter.

I’d like to thank Thorsten for this interview and his secrets into travelling light and in style. I love that LV suitcase and it’s very cool that he travels with a smoke detector, I didn’t even know you could purchase portable ones. You can never be too safe!

Until my next post … take care!

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