The Joey Travel Jacket is a Love Story
After the economic downturn in 2008 I found myself in between jobs and I started an online course in Mandarin. In this particular course they put you in touch with a group of Mandarin speakers that want to learn English. I of course sent an email to the prettiest girl on there. She answered my email and the next day she wanted to chat via skype.
We immediately hit it off and had a great rapport. We got along so well in fact she invited me to come and visit her in Beijing. She was finishing up her English degree. So I started planning a trip to China. I had travel out of the United States before and knew that cultural differences and safety are of paramount importance. Especially on solo travel.
As I had traveled many times before I knew how to prepare. I even had a new jacket that I thought would serve me well on an extended international trip. It had a lot of pockets much more than a normal jacket. It turns out that what sounds good on paper does not mean it works good in the real world.
The first problem with this supposed travel jacket presented itself in the airplane. I of course had loaded the pockets full of things. It did come in handy by saving me a lot of trips to the overhead compartment. however at the end of the flight when I got up I then picked up my jacket and everything in the open top pockets came spilling out. This was a major design flaw in my opinion. It's like they never traveled with their travel jacket.
We stayed in in Beijing for a few months. China like many other countries is pretty much a cash only environment. Meaning credit cards and travelers checks are not used much at all. This means you to feel safe you need to carry lots of cash and in a way that is secure. I used to carry a money belt but it always was uncomfortable and quickly became sweaty. Not to mention a pain to use.
We used public transportation every day. We visited many fantastic places in and around Beijing. Every day we had to carry lots of cash as well as my snack bars. These were not things you could just stop in any store and buy. Plus you have to constantly buy water as many days we were out all day. Most of the time we could find suitable food but sometimes we could not. As I was not fluent in Mandarin I relied heavily on her to provide all the small tasks. The subway system is easy enough and cabs are not too hard with a modicum of Mandarin. Buses however are mostly in Chinese characters and not pinyin, thus very hard for foreigners to navigate.
I started to think about how much I liked my jacket but how it fell short for real world travel. We talked to her cousin if she could build a jacket if I talk her how I would like it. I had a lot of ideas from how my current jacket fell short in functionality. Before we left I had our first prototype design and began wearing it. It turned out to be a great success. We kept this same base design for almost 5 years. We have even had many other Travel Jacket companies copy some of the features we pioneered. Now unfortunately for consumers many other me too travel jacket companies have cropped up with a bunch of gimmicks and useless gadgets to try and trick you into thinking more features hold more benefits. Don't be fooled, get a jacket that is from a reputable company and has been tested for years. We have built a travel jacket that just simply works. We hope you will love yours as well.