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: 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.

Gear Review: Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes

Gear Review: Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes (3)

Shorty review time! I bought these cubes ages ago on my first trip through Europe. I used a suitcase with wheels, and these cubes worked marvelously to keep my clothes organized.

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Gear Review: Merrell Women’s Captiva Strap Waterproof Boot

Gear Review: Merrell Women's Captiva Strap Waterproof Boot (4)

Another amazingly useful item from my travels through Europe!

I’ve wanted a knee-high casual boot for a long time, but most I found had issues — trendy, saggy ankles (never the best look on me), too much of a heel, not tall enough, or not tall enough… so when these Merrell boots (Merrell Captiva Strap) went on sale at REI, I snatched them up immediately right before we departed for Europe.

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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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Gear Review: REI Vagabond Tour 40 Travel Pack

Gear Review: REI Vagabond Tour 40 Travel Pack (10)

The last time I went abroad for several months, I brought a suitcase with wheels — which turned into a big pain. Dragging the suitcase over cobblestone streets in Rome, (can you imagine how loud and annoying that was?), through deep swaths of snow in New York City… while it saved my back, it was very annoying.

For my most recent trip through Europe, my partner and I bought the REI Vagabond 40 packs instead. The one photographed here is the one I used throughout the trip (thus the scuffs and dirt marks!) I managed to use just one backpack for the entire three month trip abroad.

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Top Six Moments from our 2013 Europe Trip

Accidentally driving into Austria

I’m lucky that I have a job where I can work wherever I want (as long as I have internet access), and I took advantage of that fact in the fall of 2013 — landed in Brussels, cruised into Germany via Cologne, trained to Freiburg (and did a big hike), rented a car and cruised around the Black Forest and Romantic Road, visited Munich, then a couple long term (~3 week) stays in Prague and Berlin. Not bad!

There were a few standout memories from the trip:

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