“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” (Robert Louis Stevenson, c.1870)
Travellers undertaking journeys into what was often unfamiliar territory tended to carry with them a few equipment essentials, which, for example, might provide basic protection or help deepen their insights along the way. Some travelled light so as not to feel encumbered, but most preferred to be surrounded with a significant array of what they considered essential items or, indeed, comforts. Scientists and scholars for example, might carry maps as well as scientific instruments, equipment, and containers to store archaeological finds, specimens and samples. Items that most travellers saw as essential regardless of the purpose of their journey included maps, travel and guide books – which they hoped would prepare them for what to expect at each stage of their journey – as well as cameras and medicines, money, weapons, passports and permissions to pass and, perhaps most important of all, water containers. In addition, travellers to and across the Middle East and North Africa relied on local staff to ease their progress. These included translators, Bedouin guides and even cooks, the latter carefully trained to be mindful of the kinds of cuisine a foreign stomach, unfamiliar with local dishes and foodstuffs, was able to digest.