My Travel Clothing Wants and Wishes

packed backpack

Suddenly a new, big, exciting Europe trip is being planned, and it’s happening soon (more blog-y details soon about that.) Ack! I’ve been worrying yet again about the best items to pack (another post I need to write) and I have been very unhappy with my current wardrobe.

A lot of this was spurred by buying my husband an awesome pair of Bluffworks pants, which come with wrinkle resistant cloth and a boatload of hidden pockets. As I lost my passport to scammers a few years ago, hidden pockets would be awesome.

AND YET nearly every pair of girl travel pants I find have no pockets, much less spare pockets. This started me on a journey looking for my ideal pants, and then looking for my ideal jacket, shoes, etc… and coming up empty. Perhaps you, reader, can help?

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Taking the East River Ferry in NYC

Taking the East River Ferry in NYC (4)

While in NYC for a plethora of meetings for the day job, I rented an Airbnb in Williamsburg — my first time staying in that part of the city. Convenient to Manhattan (one subway train away) and a wonderful area surrounded by lots of neat hipster/yuppie shops (right up my alley).

However, getting to other parts of Brooklyn was more of a pain, until I discovered the East River Ferry. Traveling North/South on the East River (how aptly named), the ferry makes convenient stops in Williamsburg, DUMBO (my typical destination), Wall Street, and a bunch of other stops.

The first time I took it, however, the weather was not that great:

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Taking the Amtrak Adirondack Train from Montreal to NYC

Wow, I fell behind on blogging. This last 1.5 months has been crazyI got married, I got LASIK, I launched a Kickstarter campaign for a learn-to-code book I’m writing (funded!), I prepped for and flew to Montreal for PyCon 2014 to teach a three hour class on the same content as the book, then trained to NYC for a few days of back-to-back meetings for my day job, then the last couple weeks has been finishing up the KS campaign, work, work, and more work.

Phew.

I did manage to have some outdoor adventures while I was out. Rather than fly to NYC, I opted to take the train, which sounded simply fabulous. I’ve never been to the North East of the US before, and imagined rolling through forests and greenery.

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Wish List: See the Northern Lights

Northern lights

No brainer for the wish list, right? I almost got to go to Iceland last year before our big Europe trip, and I was hoping (even though it was summer) that we’d be able to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Unfortunately we chose to go a cheaper route through Brussels. Someday I’m going to have to go somewhere (probably outrageously cold) just so I can see this marvel. How amazing would that be?

Have you seen the Northern Lights? What did you think?

photo credit: Preserved Light Photography via photopin cc

I got LASIK!

After LASIK

I was chatting with my partner awhile back about my John Muir Trail plans when I suddenly had a realization – I was either going to have to bring a whole mess of one-day contacts (which are a pain when you’re super dirty), or I was going to have to bring my glasses (…which are a pain when you’re super dirty and sweaty.)

My partner had LASIK done a year or so ago, and I’ve always wanted to do it as well, but the biggest issue is the moola – I’m on super cheap bandaid insurance due to being self-employed (thanks Covered California!) which in no way was going to cover the cost of a $5,000+ eye surgery. So it was always a someday, when I’m either suddenly rich (hah) or gainfully employed.

My wonderful, wonderful partner (now husband) offered to help me pay for the surgery (and I’m fully planning to pay him back!), we decided to go to a consultation just to see if I could even get LASIK, and three weeks later – bam, it was done!

The surgery itself (custom wavefront bladeless LASIK) was super quick, though frightening. I had a sedative, which felt like it did nothing. I was put into a machine, where each eye was suctioned basically to keep it from moving, the flap was created, then the doctor moved the flap out of the way, placed me under the laser, and there were 15 harrowing seconds of a lightshow while I tried desperately to keep my eye still. Seriously, that was the worst part, and it made my heart race. Then boom, second eye, then boom, it was done!

I was driven home by my husband, and immediately put to bed. One thing we learned from him going through the experience was to be very generous with the numbing eye drops the first few hours (otherwise you can get into some major pain), so he woke me up every hour or so to put more drops in my eyes. I also had to wear the fancy eye shield that you can see under my sunglasses above – all that day and night, and then three nights after to make sure I didn’t damage the healing eye.

24 hours later, I had 20/20 vision (with some bloody looking scleras due to bruising.) I possibly might get 20/15. Night vision will be affected for a bit plus halos while my eye heals. Otherwise, I LOVE IT. I am so happy right now. When I went hiking, I would wear contacts which didn’t correct for my astigmatism (cheaper that way) so I’m going to see more clearly than I ever did before. This is probably the best investment I’ve ever had done to myself, and highly recommend other people to do so as well. It’s amazing. If you happen to be in the Bay Area, head to Furlong Vision Correction and tell them Tracy sent you.

(Love seeing photos with my new wedding ring!)

Big exciting updates

Married in Las Vegas

My goal when I started this blog was to write 2x weekly, and the last couple weeks have been silent… but I had good reasons!

As you can guess from the photo - I got married! Eloped in Las Vegas and everything. I’m really happy to have such a wonderful person in my life (even if I’m definitely the outdoorsy one in the family.) I run a weddings company for my day job and let me tell you – no regrets at all on eloping. Will be planning a big party in a year or so, however!

Second, last Friday I got LASIK! I’m going to write a full post on this, but planning for (and then recovering) definitely distracted me from my outdoor activities and posting about them here. That all said, I already have 20/20 vision and it will probably get slightly better once my eyes completely heal. I am so excited to ditch contacts and glasses!

What a fun couple weeks! Stay tuned for that LASIK post. :)

Wish List: Attend Burning Man… Again

wish list: burning man

The day I got home from Burning Man, after 6 hours of driving starting at midnight.

A few years ago (2010) to be exact, my partner and I attended Burning Man. Burning Man is basically a giant weeklong festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, where upwards of 50,000 people show up to “celebrate community, self-expression, and self-reliance” (according to the Burning Man website), or “party” (according to the bros we camped next to when we attended.)

Regardless of the designation, Burning Man was one of the most awesome things I have ever done — something completely out of my element, completely different than what I do day-to-day here in “real life.” My favorite part was the art, which was everywhere — giant, fire-breathing sculptures (with no fences, assuming you would be smart enough to stay out of the flames, which was kind of a nice change of pace from the overly warning-label obsessed society we have today), humans who’ve decorated themselves as art, as well as camps that dedicated themselves around a theme (giant climb-y sculptures, a full restaurant, and thousands more.)

I’ve wanted to attend Burning Man since High School, when my eccentric and lovable world history teacher would wax poetic about his years going to Burning Man, but even then (in the year 2000), ranting how it had “changed”, and grown into a pop-culture event and that he was no longer attending.

14 years later, it’s at least twice as big as it was in 2000, and even more mainstream. My Facebook posts this year were filled with my friends talking about getting tickets. Every September after the event, friends upload scores of photos to Facebook to show off their time at Burning Man — something I completely avoided doing when I was there (no electronics, tried to stay in the moment, and kept my experience private), and I will admit to feeling annoyed at friends bragging about their experience publicly.

Those annoyances aside, I’ve wanted to go again — my first time, I spent a lot of my visit feeling unsure and worried since I didn’t know what to expect, and I hope that going a second time, I’ll be able to relax, enjoy, and experience the event even more. No time like the present, right? Except that the tickets are very expensive and my wallet is fairly empty — so my partner and I have applied to financial need tickets, and will leave it up to the fates whether we go this year. Unfortunately normal tickets are completely sold out at this point.

So: Burning Man, wish-listed for 2014 but will wait to 2015 if I need to.

Snow in California! Finally!

Can you believe the California drought? I went up to my cabin several times this winter and there was absolutely no snow. It’s especially bad for Strawberry and Pinecrest, where my family has a cabin — tourism drives the economy and no one wants to head up to the mountains if there isn’t any snow.

We went up expecting light snow and that’s what we got. Just enough that the roads were a tiny bit icy, but not enough that we needed chains and there was only the tiniest amount of slippage when driving before it got warm. Of course, we took advantage of the two inches of snow and went sledding (+ bonus dog!)

Tips for Working Remotely While Traveling Long Term

Tips for Working While Traveling

I’m lucky that my day job at WeddingLovely means I can work pretty much anywhere, as long as I have an internet connection and my laptop. Over the last four years I’ve taken two major trips abroad — in 2010, a two month trip to Rome, Paris, Bruges, and Amsterdam, and in 2013, a three month trip to Brussels, Cologne, Freiburg, Munich, Prague, and Berlin (among other smaller stops.)

The biggest challenge is balancing work and travel — on the second trip, the middle part of the trip my partner and I rented a car and traveled around the Black Forest and the Romantic Road in Southern Germany. Our stops ranged from 2-4 nights, and our work productivity slowed drastically. Changing places all the time takes a ton of time and is rather exhausting — so you’ll generally want to spend your time visiting the area rather than on a computer. When we reached our next major long-term stop (in Prague), we were so behind in work that we pretty much spent a full week without going outside, leading to some friends to exclaim, “You’ve been in Prague for a week and you haven’t seen the castle yet?!”

Here are some tips from experience to make sure you can work and play while traveling abroad:

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