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  • feedwordpress 04:37:14 on 2021/01/03 Permalink
    Tags: In My Bag   

    What’s In My Bag, 2020 


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    Instead of sharing what’s in my backpack this year, I want to share the apps and pandemic purchases that were meaningful to me, along with a few words on each. Something I haven’t shared with you yet on this blog is… I went down a #vanlife rabbit hole and ended up camping and working remotely a decent chunk of the year. I learned a ton and feel much more resilient. So this is a phoneful and truckful update of my year.

    First I’ll start with apps, these all link to Apple’s app store but almost all have Android equivalents that I also use:

    • Calm and Waking Up — Very different but both incredibly valuable meditation apps. I had an 82-day streak with Calm this year! I wouldn’t have survived without these.
    • Fitbod — You tell the app what equipment you have, how much time you have, and it gives you a workout like a trainer would, rotating muscle groups.
    • Streaks — An app for starting and tracking habits. This is a funny one because I actually stopped using it because it worked. The things I was tracking on Streaks became daily habits and I stopped using the app every day. The same thing happened for me with Zero, my daily fast became part of my routine so I’d only use Zero if I was doing a longer one.
    • Tumblr — It was so nice to have a social network centered around creativity and humor.
    • Asana — Getting organized helped lessen anxiety.
    • Pocket Casts — I switched to this because it syncs between devices, and I used my Android device a lot especially while driving.
    • AllTrails — I spent more time in nature this year than almost any previous, and AllTrails was an amazing way to find great hikes.
    • The Economist — The most insightful news, and the weekly cadence helped me avoid the wild variance of the daily news cycle. My favorite news app.
    • YouTube — Wow, there’s a lot of stuff on here. This was the year I started to “get” why people spend so much time on YouTube. Some favorite finds were Jacob Collier and Mark Rober.
    • Walmart — Surprisingly good on road trips for curbside pickup orders scheduled a few hours ahead. Yes, I have now joined 95% of the US population.
    • Blueground and Avantstay — Good for longer stays in places. I found both through Airbnb, which is still the king.
    • Food apps in order of usage: DoorDash, Uber Eats, Tock, Toast TakeOut.
    • Camping apps in order of usage: AllTrails, Chimani, Recreation.gov, iOverlander, Boondocking, FreeRoam, Harvest Hosts.
    • App I deleted and re-added the most: Twitter. I love the things I learn from using it, but hate feeling like I’m wasting time.

    When on road trips I found Android Auto running off the Pixel 5 much more reliable than CarPlay, which would frequently freeze up on me. Things have improved with iOS 14, but I still always use the Pixel when I’m on a longer drive.

    I also have been living with my Mom since July, including her two cats and new Coton du Tulear puppy. Pets are humbling! It’s been great to learn how to support them best, as I last lived with animals when I was in high school and wasn’t that conscious of the responsibility then.

    Amazon says I made over 850 orders this year, more than double from any previous year. Here are the non-tech purchases that ended up having a big impact on me:

    Clothing and wearables, like much of the world I trended toward comfort and away from normal shoes and socks:

    Electronics:

    There you have it. As always, if you’ve tried something here and found an alternative that’s better, let me know in the comments!

     
  • feedwordpress 03:44:13 on 2018/10/31 Permalink
    Tags: In My Bag   

    What’s in My Bag, 2018 Edition 


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    1. SDR Kashmir Travel Folio, made with this super-cool material called Dyneema, which is twice as strong as Kevlar and 15 times as strong as steel, but virtually weightless.
    2. Garmin Forerunner 935 which is a triathlon watch, so it can tell me how much I don’t run, how much I don’t bike, and how much I don’t swim. Crazy sensors on it, and it’s lighter than an Apple Watch, which I tried again to use this year but wasn’t able to handle another device in my life that I had to charge daily. It has a weird charger, pictured next to it, but only needs charging once every few weeks so I don’t mind at all.
    3. This is the latest 15” grey touchbar MacBook Pro, customized by Uncover to have the Jetpack logo on it. I like the keyboard quietness and performance improvements of latest generation.
    4. Fit Pack 2 from Aer is the same I wrote a whole blog post about last year, and I still love and adore it every day. They have a few bigger and smaller packs, but the quality is just fantastic and I love all the pockets. Mine is starting to tear a little bit by one of the shoulder straps, but I do keep ~18lbs in it regularly.
    5. This is a grey wool buff, which works as a scarf, a hat, or an eye cover if I’m trying to sleep. I tried this out because of one of Tynan’s also-great gear posts.
    6. Passport, because you never know when you’ll need to leave the country.
    7. Kindle Oasis with this random case on it. I dig that this one is apparently waterproof — which I’ve never tested — but doesn’t feel like we’ve found the perfect size and weight balance yet. Reading is my favorite activity right now so this is my most-loved item.
    8. Imazing 10k charger. Great capacity, charges via USB-C. (2nd year)
    9. I’ve started carrying around some stationery so I can write notes to people when I’m on the road. Now I just need better handwriting…
    10. Delfonics is a funky-cool Japanese stationery, and this 3”x4” Rollbahn notebook is tops, and actually fits in my pocket. The Amazon one linked might be larger, I found it at Paper-Ya on Granville Island.
    11. A small leather bracelet I got in Seoul, Korea.
    12. Two things here: a rolled-up chamois cloth for cleaning glasses, inspired by my late friend Dean, and a WordPress ring I wear sometimes.
    13. Three pens here: A cool customized one we did for Automatticians; a Lamy Accent 4pen which has red, blue, black, and a mechanical pencil built in; a Sharpie for signing stuff.
    14. Have gone away from the carbon fiber clip and now using this small Paul Smith card wallet.
    15. Apple Magic Mouse 2. When this one breaks I’ll switch it out for a black one.
    16. Charger for the MacBook Pro.
    17. A super small international adapter, which is also nice for converting the 3-prong in the next item into a 2-prong. It’s Lenmar but I’m not going to link Amazon because they’re charging too much, just picked up in an airport store.
    18. Probably my favorite new item of the year: I have given Native Union a hard time in the past but super love this combo extension cord and USB charger. It is an 8-foot extension cord, which is remarkably handy, has two AC outlets, 3 USB ports, and one USB-C. Total life-saver.
    19. A dyneema accessory pouch, retaW aoyama / tokyo fragrance lipcream, Aveda Peppymint breath refresher, Aesop Ginger Flight Therapy roller, a spray hand cleanser, and Mintia COLDSMASH.
    20. District Vision makes these these running sunglasses in Japan, which I found at the Snow Peak store in NYC.
    21. These sunglasses are a collaboration between Salt and Aether.
    22. A single-use packet of Sriracha. Hot sauce in your bag? Swag.
    23. A palo santo smudge stick, smells great when you burn it. I’m turning into a hippie.
    24. Hermes business card holder.
    25. iPhone XS with a Jetpack Popsocket.
    26. Pixel 2, now replaced by a Pixel 3 XL.
    27. This is a bag with some small opals I gave as a Burning Man gift.
    28. iPad Pro 10.5 and Apple sleeve with Pencil holder, which is still one of my favorite gadgets of the year. Everything about this device just works and is a pleasure to use, and I’ve already ordered the new 11″ Pro and related accessories.
    29. Half meter (the perfect size) lightning cable.
    30. Apple USB-C dongle.
    31. Cool multi-function USB cable with lightning, two micro-USBs, and USB-C. I give these away all the time now and it’s nice to pair with the battery in #8 because I know I can charge anybody with this thing.
    32. Short USB-C.
    33. Combo micro-USB and Lightning.
    34. Short lightning cable, just like 29.
    35. Velcro cable ties, great for tidying pretty much anything. I just take a few out of the big pack and roll them up to travel with.
    36. Retractable USB-C, don’t love these as they break but it’s the best of what’s out there.
    37. USB-C to Lightning, great for super-fast charging.
    38. My favorite USB-C hub so far, the Satechi Aluminum Type-C Multimedia Adapter with 4K HDMI, Mini DP, USB-C PD, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, Micro/SD Card Slots. Pretty much everything you could possibly need.
    39. A pretty handy Ventev dashport car port charger that’s small and light. (2nd year)
    40. A few spare SIM cards, some SD cards, thingy to poke SIM card holder, and combo USB-C / USB-A 64gb stick.
    41. Lockpick set. (4th year)
    42. Bragi Pro custom earphones. For many years I had custom in-ear monitors, but the convenience of wireless overcame that, even before they started taking headphone jacks out of phones. Bragi now allows you to send in ear molds from an audiologist and they’ll make these custom true wireless headphones that fit and sound great, but I have trouble recommending because the case is so heavy and once got so jammed I almost thought I’d have to throw the whole thing away, and the app has never been able to “connect” for me because it gets stuck on turning on some fitness sensors. If it could connect I think I could turn off the other feature that is annoying, which is the touch controls that I find get triggered by my hat or when my head is against a chair. So, a qualified “maybe try this.”
    43. Sennheiser Culture Series Wideband Headset, which I use for podcasts, Skype, Facetime, Zoom, and Google Hangout calls with external folks and teams inside of Automattic. Light, comfortable, great sound quality, and great at blocking out background noise so you don’t annoy other people on the call. I’d love to replace this with something wireless but haven’t found one with as high fidelity audio.
    44. GL.iNet GL-AR750 Travel AC Router which I use to create wifi networks different places I go, which is often faster than hotel/etc wifi, and I can also VPN encrypt all my traffic through it. Pretty handy! But not user-friendly. Often keep it in my suitcase and not my backpack. I have a retractable Ethernet and micro-USB attached to it.
    45. Matte black Airpods. I love Airpods and these look super cool, I think these were from BlackPods which looks shut down now but Colorware has some alternatives. (2nd year)
    46. Westone ES49 custom earplugs, for if I go to concerts or anyplace overly loud. (4th year)
    47. An ultralight running jacket I think I got at Lululemon Lab in Vancouver. They don’t have anything like it available online right now but it folds up ultra-tiny, weighs nothing, and is a nice layer for on an airplane. My only complaint (as with all Lululemon products) is the low quality of the zipper. (2nd year)

    That’s it for this year. As a bonus I’ll link some of my favorite other-bag items including toiletries: Muji dopp kit bag, these amazing travel bottles for creams, travel atomizer, Elysium Basis, Muji q-tips, Aesop Two Minds Facial Hydrator, Sunleya Sun Care SPF 15, folding brush / comb, Philips Sonicare Brush, Aesop toothpaste, Tom’s SLS-free toothpaste, Orabrush cleaner.

    If you’re curious, here are the previous years: 2014, 2016, 2017.

    If you have any questions please leave them in the comments!

     
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