You’ve seen him; the four hour guy. “The Four Hour Work Week”, “The Four Hour Chef”, “The Four Hour Marriage” (oops, that one hasn’t come out yet). Tim Ferriss stands in complete wrinkled splendor on this Sunday’s NY Times Travel Section with his closely cropped head (like me), chiseled chin, sinuous neck, and solid, studly stance (not quite like me). The cover story, “How the Tough Get Going” is full of useful tidbits (i.e. things people need to buy) to make travel less cumbersome, faster, and incredibly cool. The caption under his photo reads ‘a specialist in streamlining life’s chores’ though it could just a easily read ‘a gorgeous metro sexual who appeals to straight women, gay men, and bromancers everywhere’ because, let’s face it, Tim Ferriss’ biggest achievement is that he created Tim Ferriss.
Once you get past a few really atrocious suggestions (like, if you have to check a bag, pack a pistol and tell TSA it is there because they will keep a closer eye on your bag), the article pretty much incorporates all the things I have learned, and shared, in my experiences traveling cross country on a bike and in and out of Haiti. Wheelies are out, duffels are in. I’ve been doing that for years. Netbooks take up less space than laptops. Ditto. Swimsuits are the lightest, most versatile form of workout short. Check. Bring reading materials you can toss. I have left enough magazines in Haiti to fill a dentist’s office.
On page 6 Stephanie Rosenbloom, the author, manages to peel herself away from Tim for a moment to show other Silicon Valley types in their travel savvy splendor. You have to feel sorry for Chris Hutchins, a product manager at Google, standing wide mouthed and holding a pair of microfiber underwear with his smiling wife. I have been wearing quick dry underwear when traveling for years, but I’ve never shown them to anyone and don’t intend to start now.
Still, most to the article is about Tim, and about stuff. The brand names are in bold, the prices in parenthesis. And that is where Tim and I start to be different people. The NY Times is not interested in touting my 30 year old nylon duffle bag, even though that fact that it is bright purple makes it impossible to lose, or my swimsuit, which I won on a cruise for participating in so many workout sessions, or my netbook, which is not the ‘supplementary’ computer they recommend but the actual machine I do all my work on. When it comes to stuff, Tim is all NY Times and I am all garage sale.
Besides that, there is only one other small difference I can discern between us. He is front and center in the NY Times while I sit home reading about him on Saturday night, because despite the constant confusion, he is Tim Ferriss, and I am not.