Mexico travel pack list

Today, I am headed to Mexico for 2.5 weeks with 4 other friends, passing through Guatemala and (hopefully) Belize on the way. My last gear post was for spending winter in the U.S., so the same stuff would not work for 85F weather abroad. We’re just going to wing the trip, so I will very possibly be doing lots of hiking and walking, Mayan ruin exploring, possibly cave diving, and enjoying the beaches. Here’s what I’m bringing.

Taken with an iPhone 4S so that both my cameras can be in the picture.

All of this fits into the backpack I mentioned in my last gear post. Here are the items by column, with links to Amazon if they have the specific product.

Column 1:
Headphones (I really need to get foldable ones…)
Cell phone charger
Kindle Keyboard
iPod Nano
Android phone (MyTouch 4G)
11″ Macbook Air and charger (got it in March for a trip to Costa Rica. SO worth it.)
Nikon D90 with 18-200mm lens (with CSLR strap) and extra battery
Canon S95

Column 2:
Convertible pants
Hiking capris
Shorts (for sleeping/beaching)
2 merino wool t-shirts
Merino wool cami (for sleeping mostly)
Toothbrush in holder (need to get a smaller one)
Toiletries bag
Tom’s of Maine deodorant
Hair tie and clips
Nail scissors (removed)
Eco-Dent tooth powder

Column 3:
2 pairs of merino wool underwear
2 bras
A pair of merino wool socks
Microfiber towel (this one came with the netted pouch, see below)
Money belt
Eye mask
Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook
Clear plastic rain poncho
Foldable hair brush
Nikon SB400 flash
GoToob with Dr. Bronner’s soap (tea tree)

Column 4:
Silk travel sheets
Sandals
Netted pouch for storing the items below it
LED flashlight (removed, since I have a flashlight app on my phone)
First aid kit
Small bottle with ibuprofen and stomach relief medication
Passport
32GB flash drive
USB SD card reader
Fitbit
and charger
Hearing aid batteries (I’m hearing impaired)
Microfiber cloth
Lightweight wallet (I put it inside a small zip pouch afterwards. Would consider getting a money clip.)
Jawbone UP with charger
2 small notebooks
Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover
2 pens

Column 5:
600ml water bottle
Merrell barefoot shoes
Folder for holding documents
Prescription sunglasses
Swim goggles
Bathing suit
Pack of tissues

Additional items/changes:
I’m also bringing my military hat, Columbia fleece jacket, and lip balm. I’ve switched out the Adidas sandals for my Wellesley flip flops, which are lighter and the most comfortable flip flops I’ve had. I also decided to bring my camera battery chargers because I have the space, and because running out of batteries on my cameras would be the suckiest thing ever.

That’s about it. All of that stuff in a 33L backpack. I have a little more than I need, but I have the space and some of the smaller items have negligible weight. I’ve also saved some space for bringing gifts back (a hand crafted musical instrument?). I’m really looking forward to waking up in 3 hours and going on this trip! :)

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Traveling as a PhD student

One thing that keeps me going is my desire to travel all over the world, learn several more languages1, and get out of my shell and make friends with the locals. Being in graduate school does not mean that this goal has to be put on hold; it’s actually given me some flexibility for traveling. For example, here are the places I’ve visited in the past year:

2010

June-July: Shanghai
July-August: Detroit, MI
August: Denmark
September: NH
October: MA
November: Asheville, NC
December: NYC, MA, NJ, MN, MT

2011

January: Funchal, Portugal
March: Costa Rica
April: Boston, MA
May: Vancouver, BC
May – August: Palo Alto, CA
November: Portland, OR; MA
December/January: ???

How do I travel while being a full time PhD student? I look for reasons to travel, plan strategically, and find the cheapest prices. I make traveling a priority because I enjoy it so much and grow every time I travel. This means that I will spend more money on traveling instead of clothes or eating out, plan the trip to minimize time lost from work, and spend the time to look for cheaper ways to travel.

Reasons to travel

The above trips consist of visiting family/friends, conferences, and a summer internship in the Bay Area. I search for events related to my interests (e.g., Maker Faire in Detroit) and my research (e.g., academic conferences) that I can attend if I submit my work or justify how it will help my research. If I get a paper accepted to a conference, or if I’m attending a workshop, I can get funding to go. There’s usually down time before, after, or during the conference when I can go and explore the city. Visiting friends and family is always a nice break to catch up with loved ones and visit somewhere unfamiliar.

Plan strategically

Once I find somewhere I want to go, I plan ahead to make sure that it’s feasible and doesn’t conflict with any important academic deadlines or events (I usually know these at the beginning of the semester). When I’m visiting family or friends during the school year, I try to take advantage of weekends (especially long ones). Conferences dates are not as flexible, and the best I can do is notify my professors in advance that I’ll be missing classes or meetings, but they are usually supportive of it. I also plan my work so that I get at least most of it done before traveling, because I know enough about my work ethic while traveling to know that while I can get small tasks done, I can’t do anything that requires several hours of focus in a row.

Find cheap prices

Traveling often will drain your wallet, and there are loads of tips on getting cheap airplane tickets and hotels. I skip the luxury, even 3 star hotels for cheaper lodging, because I know I won’t be spending most of the time in the hotel, and as long as there is a clean bed and shower, I’m happy. If I’m visiting friends or family, chances are good that I can stay with them, and they can show me around town. For plane tickets, I use Kayak, Jetblue & Southwest (within the U.S.), and sometimes Sky Scanner, to find the cheapest dates and times to fly. I highly recommend reading Life Nomadic and the author’s blog (Tynan) for more advanced travel tips, including how to travel light.

I’m really interested in how other grad students make the time and money to travel and how they choose places to go to. If you’re a grad student who loves to travel, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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1List of languages I want to learn eventually
Portuguese (beginner)
Italian
Russian
Japanese
German
Spanish
Arabic
Hindi

Posted in Musings | 7 Comments

Why I got rid of all games and social check-in apps from my phone

Last weekend, I decided to delete all of my games and social check-in apps from my phone. I had been checking in weekly (and more recently, daily) since October 2009, and had many hours worth of Angry Bird levels unlocked. So what pushed me over the edge?

I was exploring San Francisco with my boyfriend, specifically the North Beach area. Every time I went somewhere, I checked in on both foursquare and Gowalla; foursquare for the badges and points, Gowalla for the new place stamps and also the North Beachin’ trip pin. With each place, I had to stop in the middle of the street, pull out my phone, turn it on, search for the location name, and check in to the location. And because I was moving frequently from one place to another, I was checking in several times an hour.

Pretty pins *o*

Sometimes, I would get frustrated because my signal wasn’t good enough, so I had to move around a little and spend more time on painstakingly slow Edge data waiting for the place list to load. At one point in Washington Square, I felt relaxed for the first time during the day because it wasn’t spent being anxious about recording the check-in on my phone. Nevertheless, I kept checking in until the day was over.

The next day, it somehow hit me that checking in, an act that’s supposed to remind you of being in the present by being deliberately aware of where you are, actually had the opposite effect for me. My favorite and happiest moments were not when I was checking in, or even visiting the touristy areas; it was having conversations and making jokes with my boyfriend as a result of being in a new environment that provided new stimuli for conversation. The experience was all about who I was with, and taking in sights, sounds, and smells of where I was. Every moment spent on the phone is a moment lost.

That thought hit me pretty hard, and I also started remembering all the other times in the past when I’ve played games to pass the time on the bus, walking home, or during other seemingly mundane everyday events, because I wanted to speed up the boring bits (just like in the movie Click). I decided then that I would delete all my games and refused to be tied down by meaningless accomplishments (e.g., reaching level 20 or something in Zenonia, unlocking all Angry Birds easter eggs) that demanded my attention and kept me from being present in the moment, no matter how boring I thought the activity was.

I was reluctant to give up foursquare and Gowalla entirely, after professing my love for them to my friends and committing part of so much social time for location check-in apps, achieving lots of shiny badges, and keeping a location history as part of the things I track about myself. As I was thinking about my history with playing MMORPGs, Neopets (I amassed millions of Neopoints and several painted pets), and random Mafia-type games, I realized that collecting badges on foursquare and Gowalla was no different; it was just a more socially-acceptable (perhaps), grown-up-version of playing games in real life.

My foursquare badges

That was it. I wanted to keep track of places I visit, but I didn’t want my time and experiences being sucked away by the lures of virtual achievements, so out went all game and location check-in apps from my phone. I can’t describe how freeing it felt, and even though I’ve had moments of foursquare withdrawal since then (and darn it, why did the Android Market have to release Fieldrunners now), I kept reminding myself that doing this puts me on the path to being the person I want to be, and the pangs of withdrawal were quietened.

There are no doubt other aspects of my life that I would benefit from paying more attention to and questioning my actions to make sure they align with my goals, but how would I have the chance to think about them if I was busy indulging in entertainment on my phone? Maybe one day I’ll go back to social location apps…after they’ve perfected automatic check-ins.

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Summer 2011 Goals

This summer, in addition to interning at Nokia Research, Palo Alto, I have been venturing little by little outside of my comfort zone (social & physical) and adapting surprisingly well. Meeting interesting people and hearing from friends who are on their own adventures has inspired me to think about my own goals for the summer. Self-improvement is a big part of my life, so it was only natural that I think about how to make the best of my time in the Bay Area.

Now, normally, I would consider a good summer to include some kind of international trip. Well, my trip to Shanghai didn’t exactly work out due to my internship, but after I gave up holding on to what I thought would be a great summer experience and embraced what I had access to, it turned out to be more enriching and awesome than I anticipated. The following goals emerged as a result.

1. Learn more programming skills: I’m learning a lot of programming skills that I had been meaning to learn but never made time. For example, I am learning how to make web apps using jQuery, Django, and Python, and how to create data visualizations using Protovis and Google Charts. From my project, I quickly developed an appreciation for location tracking applications and data visualizations, and I can’t get enough of infographics feeds1 in my feed reader!

2. Be proactive about meeting new people: At a networking session at a conference, I got the idea to ask people what their passions were as a way to break the ice with strangers (this icebreaker question can be whatever you’re interested in knowing about other people, after the standard introduction). I’ve had plenty of opportunities to practice this at meetups, such as the Rationality/Less Wrong, Habit Design, and Reddit meetups, and the Quantified Self conference. I still have a long way to go, but my experience so far has been positive. Another useful thing to try would be rejection therapy, which helps you overcome fear of approaching strangers (and asking for things) by desensitizing you to hearing “no” or being rejected in other ways (and realizing that it’s not that bad). Nick tried this and was able to get: a free ice cream, ghost story from a librarian, hug, photo of him trying on someone’s hat, and a homeless guy’s story and photo. If you’re at a social event where you don’t really know anyone, it helps if you’re with a friend who knows other people and can introduce you, but I’ve found that it also gives you an excuse to stick by your friend during the whole event than venture outside of your comfort zone.

3. Read more: When I was younger, I would inhale several YA fiction books a week, but I’ve lost most of my interest in fiction because it felt like another form of entertainment consumption (i.e. watching TV, movies), of which I already had enough. Instead, I discovered several non-fiction topics that I wanted to learn more about, and loaded my Kindle with the following books.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes
SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt
All Over the Map by Laura Fraser
How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes
To help me get through them, I am reading a different book every time I turn on my Kindle.

4. Get fit: In the spring, I got out of breath climbing up 2 flights of stairs, and saw exercise as grueling physical labor. This summer, after joining a super-fancy, awesome (and expensive) gym, I splurged on a personal trainer. Three times a week, I go in for a training session, and leave feeling exhilarated and accomplished. I’m not expecting to be able to hike Machu Picchu by the end of the summer, but I will at least have made it into a habit, and will be hooked on it. It’s not for every one, but I highly recommend getting a personal trainer if you’ve never tried it and are thinking about it. My body composition is retested every month, so I will know in a week how my body has changed.

5. Write for 1 minute a day: Yes, I know, every time I post, I keep saying that I’ll get into the habit of writing once a week (ha!), but it never happens. I recently attended the Bay Area Habit Design meetup where we committed to doing one habit for 1 minute a day after a daily routine. We then had to direct message @habitdesign saying that we had done the habit for 1 minute after the daily routine. I chose to write for 1 minute a day after I take a shower. The goal was to do it for just 7 days. So far, I’m on my 6th day, and I can’t bear to go to sleep without writing at least a minute. And thus this blog post was written!

6. Continue eating healthy: Some of my friends may know that all last semester, I was on a low-carb diet that I started after reading 4-Hour Body. As a result, I lost about 6 lbs by following the diet for most of the time over 3 months, developed new healthy eating habits, and drastically reduced sugar and carbs from what I eat (and my taste for them). I gained all of that back at the end of the semester from the CHI conference and eating out every day for the first week and a half I was in Palo Alto (we were living out of a motel and couldn’t cook for ourselves). Since then, Nick and I have been testing the Bulletproof Diet, and I’ve spent most of the summer refining what I eat to see what works best for me in terms of maintaining or increasing energy, losing fat, and increasing general health. I will write later about the specifics of my diet, how it’s changed, and what differences it’s made for me.

Bulletproof and delicious

There are also other things I accomplished as a result of my lifestyle in the Bay Area:

1. Manage time better: I am spending 8:30am to 7:30pm on weekdays out of house (including commuting for 2 hours). By the time I come home, cook, and eat dinner, I have less than 2 hours of free time. In addition to my internship work, I am also working on CMU responsibilities. I knew I had to take advantage of being in the area to make connections and explore, so it was a challenge to maintain a balance between my priorities.

2. Think about my muse: In the 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss describes the concept of a muse as something you are passionate and excited about doing that you can make a living out of. My version of thinking about a muse is not necessarily to focus on the monetization aspect, but to just figure out what it is I like to do in general, and go from there. From talking to many people and working on my internship project, I’ve been able to think about potential research or startup ideas that I’m really excited about. I may write about my ideas in more detail in the near future.

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1FlowingData, Good.is Infographics, Infosthetics, and Information is Beautiful (This is one of the few physical books that I own. It’s absolutely beautiful, delicious, and is great for turning to a random page and learning something new.)

Posted in Musings | 2 Comments

Winter 2010 travel pack list

I’m leaving Saturday for a 2.5-week winter break in NYC, MA, NJ, MN, and MT, visiting friends, my family, and my boyfriend Nick’s family. A year ago, I spent about 4 weeks in OH, NYC, MA, NJ, MI, and back in OH, and I packed a backpack and a carry-on suitcase with about 7 days worth of thick winter clothes. I was proud of myself for packing “light” and not needing to wait for baggage claim. For this winter break, I’ll only be taking with me a 33 liter backpack with um, 2 outfits, one of which I’ll already be wearing (and other gadgets, of course). Sounds nuts, right? However, I’d rather not be walking around NYC for two days with a suitcase, and migrating frequently between other states meant that the less I packed, the less stressful traveling would be. The trick is to layer, and just change your base layer every day or few days. Merino wool clothing is amazing and key to packing light for all kinds of weather. Provided that it’s winter and I already don’t sweat that much, I can definitely last this break with only 2 outfits (less if I wanted/had to).

With inspiration from Tynan’s 2009 and 2010 gear list, I set out to create my own travel pack list. I’ll modify it depending on where I’m going, but the goal is always to be able to fit everything in my backpack and not break my back carrying it around all day. I normally like to shop on Amazon or Zappos, but you can get these items in some stores or on the manufacturer’s website. Disclaimer: If you buy using an Amazon link below, I get a commission.

Pack:

North Face Base Camp Hot Shot
North Face Base Camp Hotshot backpackI had my previous backpack since high school and it was finally beginning to fall apart. What I liked most about it was that it had its own designated laptop compartment, and storage area in the front for miscellaneous things. However, I didn’t like the fact that rain would seep through the fabric, or that the front part usually bulged enough to annoy people on a crowded bus / require a lot of pushing and coaxing to get it under a plane seat. This North Face backpack is perfect because its front compartment doesn’t bulge out, and when full, instead of expanding to one foot, it expands to 7 inches maximum. It’s easy to reduce that by tightening the two side straps, which reduces my backpack bulge on a normal day to about 3 inches. Items inside stack upward neatly instead of every which way, AND it’s waterproof! It took me an hour to get used to its neon Tron-like markings on the back and straps, but when you put it on, it actually doesn’t look that bad. Oh yeah, and it has straps across the chest and hip straps that can be hidden away if you don’t want stuff to dangle everywhere.

Outerwear:

Scottevest Fleece 5.0 Jacket
Scottevest Fleece 5.0 Jacket I got this after Nick’s mom recommended Scottevest to me. I was also looking for a fleece, something that I could wear indoors and outside, and Scottevest happened to have this sweet fleece jacket with 24 pockets and removable sleeves. What more could I want? Yes, there are a lot of pockets, but I am able to put all of my travel documents, lip balm, wallet, cell phone, mp3 player, Kindle (that’s right), and even a water bottle up this thing. It even has a handy extendable key holder that I’m totally attached to. Ladies, make sure you check out the sizing chart, as this is a men’s size item. I normally wear a women’s M and had to get the fleece in XS.

Columbia Interchange shell
Columbia shell with Scottevest
I’ve owned a Columbia winter jacket for several years now. I have an Interchange Basique but it seems like they’ve replaced it with newer models. It has a removable fleece jacket and a water/wind proof outer shell. To my surprise, the Scottevest fleece (XS) is actually exchangeable with the Columbia fleece (women’s M, above picture)! The shell is easily detachable and takes up little space when folded up.

The North Face Women’s Paramount Peak Convertible Pants Asphalt Grey 6 Short
The North Face women's Paramount Peak convertible pants
Oh man, oh man, these pants are AWESOME. They come in short and long sizes, zip off easily into shorts for warm weather or exercising, not to mention they are waterproof and warm in the winter (with leggings, below). Please note that they run pretty small, so get a size or two larger. They also come in gray, which I prefer, which pretty much means these pants are perfect.

Kamik Brooklyn Black boots
Kamik Brooklyn winter boots
I’m really picky when it comes to owning pieces of clothing and shoes. I could spend hours researching the best combination of style and usefulness. I can’t stand high-heeled shoes, and any shoes I buy must be comfortable walking in for any distance. They must also be compatible with just about any outfit, since I’m not one to hoard shoes. These boots are waterproof, really warm, and light. Awesome in the snow. I’ve walked in them all day in NYC and they are decent, though if I had space for an extra pair of shoes, I would have brought my Merrell sneakers for that. I wear black Classic Vibrams for warmer weather.

Gloves
Convertible glovesI’ll be upgrading my gloves soon. I’ve stuck to my cheap Target fleece convertible gloves (similar to picture) for year-round use. They do get wet in the snow and are not completely warm when it’s really cold outside, but it hasn’t bothered me enough to make me buy new ones this winter.

Innerwear

Smartwool Women’s Next To Skin Microweight Tee

Smartwool Microweight Tee

Merino wool base layers are key to staying warm, and Smartwool and Icebreaker are my two favorite brands. I can wear this t-shirt as a single layer in the summer, as a layer in cooler weather, or as pajamas. They are very soft against the skin, and very lightweight. Please note that Smartwool and Icebreaker seem to have different sizes, so always check for your size on the manufacturer website before ordering.

Icebreaker Women’s Oasis Crewe Bodyfit 200 Top

Icebreaker Oasis Crew Bodyfit 200

This is my long-sleeved second base layer.

SmartWool TML Light Sportknit 1/4 Zip Sweater – Women’s

Smartwool Sportknit 1/4 zip

I bought this as a warm mid-layer, and because I loved the color and thumb holes! For someone who works a lot in a cold room, the extra warmth over my hands was very welcome. I wear it with either or both of the base layers underneath, and it’s really soft and comfortable. My next mid-layer will be from Smartwool.

SmartWool NTS Microweight Bottom – Women’s
Smartwool NTS Microweight Bottoms

I switched to the Smartwool leggings from the Icebreaker’s Women’s Bodyfit 260 Leggings because they were too long for me and the elastic goes up beyond my belly button and is really tight. The Smartwool leggings are perfect! I got them in small and they wrap tightly around my legs and ankles instead of loosely like the previous pair. Also, the waist is a thicker elastic, is super comfortable, and rests below my belly button. They also feel thicker than the Icebreakers.

Underwear

I haven’t upgraded to merino wool underwear. I’ll be bringing 2-3 pairs of underwear, a pair of Smartwool Basic Kneehigh Socks, a pair of Icebreaker City Lite Crew Sock (they feel more durable than the Smartwool socks, which apparently are known to wear down pretty quickly) and two bras. Underwear is really easy to hand wash, and you can wear the backup pair while waiting for the other to dry.

Toiletries

Humangear GoToob 3 Ounce (3 pack) Travel Bottle
GoToob 3oz containersWoah, I can’t get over how cute and useful these are. The bottles are made of soft silicone so it’s super easy to squeeze out whatever liquid you put in it, so you can take your shampoo/conditioner/bodywash/toothpaste/lotion on the go. Since I will be visiting friends and family, I don’t need to bring any of these except for toothpaste (and a toothbrush). Otherwise, I would highly recommend Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint 18-in-1 Pure-Castile Soap. For deodorant, I prefer Tom’s of Maine. If you’re also prone to messy eating or like to wear white, bring a Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover for quick stain fixes.

Gadgets

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.53GHz Laptop

15 inch MacBook Pro

Netbooks, although more portable, are too low-performance and too quickly outdated to warrant my buying one. Yes, this laptop probably contributes to most of the weight in my backpack, but I can’t really justify the expense of buying another lightweight laptop just for travel purposes. I own a Apple Magic Mouse to make working at a desk easier. It’s actually really nice being able to work on the same computer no matter where I go. The only viable improvement would be a MacBook Air, but I can’t afford one.

Kindle 3G (3rd generation)
Kindle e-book readerAfter owning a Nook for 6 months and being driven crazy by its battery issues and super slow page turns, I gave it away and ordered the latest Kindle. Wow, what an improvement! It’s super light and small, has way more books than the Nook offers, has ridiculously long battery life, and is just really nice to use. It totally beats lugging around heavy books to read on flights. I own the WiFi version, but in retrospect should have gone for the 3G instead because it has worldwide connectivity. With the Kindle Leather Cover, it’s really easy for flight attendants to think I’m reading a physical book and not ask me to turn it off :)

T-Mobile myTouch 4G Android Phone, White (T-Mobile)
myTouch 4G phoneI recently upgraded from the T-Mobile myTouch 3G to the myTouch 4G. It has 4G speeds, a front-facing camera, HD video, extremely responsive, running the latest Android OS, and is probably the best Android phone that T-Mobile offers at the time of writing. Also, being on the GSM network means I can use it with international SIM cards, unlike Verizon phones.

Apple iPod Nano 16 GB Orange (5th Generation)
iPod NanoMy MP3 player history looks something like this…Rio Riot, Archos Gmini 400, iPod Nano 2nd generation, iPod Touch 1st generation, and I’m now using the outdated iPod Nano, 5th generation. The reason why I have a separate MP3 player is because I’m paranoid about the battery life on my phone and listening to music for hours would drain it faster. This nano is already pretty small but the newest touch screen model blows it out of the water. I can see myself replacing it next year when Apple releases their next model. I use Sennheiser HD 202 headphones which provide awesome sound, but it’s not collapsible, and the cord drives me crazy. It’s also great for blocking out some noise on an airplane.

Nikon D90 with 18-105mm lens
Nikon D90 I’m an amateur photographer, and I just love lugging around this baby. It’s a few steps higher from an entry-level digital SLR, but a lot cheaper than the professional models. It’s heavy, but takes amazing pictures. The 18-105mm lens that it comes with is great for normal day to day shooting. I bring my Nikon 50mm f/1.4D lens with me everywhere because it’s so light, and amazing in low-light conditions. I also have a Nikon 105mm f/2.8G macro lens, which I don’t bring with me while traveling because it’s just so heavy and bulky, but it takes amazing macro shots. For my flash, I use the Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight Flash, which makes a huge difference in indoor shots. The Nikon wireless remote and Nikon rechargeable battery are must-haves for traveling, as are a few 8GB SD memory cards.

Aside from a few other miscellaneous items like Altoids, pens, hand sanitizer, and clip-on sunglasses, these are all the things that I’ll bring with me this winter break. Granted, the list would look a lot different if I were planning a backpacking trip around Europe (no laptop, for instance), but for domestic travel, it’s enough. My mindset in the past few years has switched to a more minimalist approach to owning things, and making sure that the few things I do own are high quality and long lasting in style and use. I’ll be traveling internationally at least three times next year, so the list will undergo scrutiny and revision. If you have any suggestions for this list or would like to share your own list, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Update 12/26/10: I’ve added some new clothing items as I’ve gotten them over the winter break. The new pants, socks, and leggings are great! See above list.

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