Travel Essentials: What’s in my bag ?

With all the travel I have to do in between work and my adventures, the last thing I need is to stress about packing.

I learnt how to pack on the fly and be as effective as possible. That being said, I do struggle sometimes with packing light simply because I value my fashion 😉

Here, I’m sharing with you my packing wisdom:

The very essentials

We, travellers,  usually worry a lot about forgetting things and not packing everything we need.

The only things you should really worry about are :

  • Passport/ID: without a passport or an ID card, you can’t really go far. Can you?
  • Money/Credit/Debit cards: I wish I can tell you that your curiosity, adventurous spirit or love for travel can alone take you places but that would be far from the Truth. The ugly truth is travel requires money wether you’re travelling on budget or on a luxury trip.
  • Mobile phone: You can argue that one can travel without phone. It’s possible. But we use our phones so much these days to take photos, check maps, search for coffee shops , order an Uber, even pay with the phone. So if you depend on your smartphone, make sure you have it with you.

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Travel organisers: the life-savers

Earlier this year, I was on a two months trip to the States Where I was in cold Vermont and super hot Nevada among other places. For that, I had to pack for all kinds of weather.

I knew I wouldn’t need my flipflops in New York or Philadelphia where it was snowing. That’s when the travel organisers came in super handy. I had my clothes for separate kinds of weather in separate bags.

It’s just a great way to be more ogranised and to less likely loose items or leave them behind in hotel rooms.

You have better things to do when travelling than spending ages looking inside a huge suitcase to find that sock.

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Stay connected

If you are plannning on using your phone , tablet or laptop, you may want to consider taking your chargers with you. Also remember these chargers may not work where you’re going, make sure you have a universal adapter with you, maybe a power bank, a solar charger,etc.

It’s up to you to decide what you need and what you’re willing to take with you.

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The little things that matter

Sudden headache, cold, blisters or even diarrhea; you never really know. That’s why keeping a little first aid kit would never harm.

Also make sure you have travel size toiletteries as weight and size matter a lot when packing and travelling.

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Keep active

You may not be the exercising kind and that’s absolutely fine 🙂

I’m the exercising kind but also the foodie kind. That’s why I make sure I’m exercising and burning all the calories I’m gaining while travelling.

Running is also a great way to explore somewhere new.

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Et Voila! This is pretty much how I pack.

In my head, packing is a five sub-tasks jobs :

  1. Make sure I have my passport, money and phone.
  2. Pack all my gadgets and technology items.
  3. Make sure I have my running/gym gear with me for when jetlag wakes me early.
  4. Pack my toilettery bag.
  5. Pack the clothes and shoes I need in my travel organisers.

Obviously, things are a bit different if I’m about to take a trip with specific requirements and equipments such as a trekking or hiking trip (hint hint to an upcoming blog post 😉 ).

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Seattle: On & Off the Tourist Path

“Seattle is such a cool city”,that’s what I kept telling myself as I’m wondering the streets and neighbourhoods of this beautiful city for the second time.

The first time I visited Seattle was back in March 2016 for the Women Who Code Connect conference. This time, I’m also here for a conference, Microsoft Build ,with a few extra days to explore the city.

I know that many of the 6000 Build attendees are either first time visitors and/or only here for a short time. So I thought I write down few suggestions on what people might want to do and see in Seattle. I hope you like my suggestions 🙂

The tourist path

I like to think about myself as a traveller not a tourist but as a first time visitor, we all tend to follow the tourist path. That’s what I exactly did during my first visit to Seattle.

In no particular order, if you are visiting Seattle for the first time you may want to check:

Pike Place Market

I don’t know about you but I love a good old farmers market especially one with plenty of food options to choose from. My favourite restaurant in the Pike Place Market is the Athenian because seafood 😉

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Space Needle

Am I right in saying this is THE icon of Seattle? There are really some cool facts about the Space Needle and you get to have an amazing view of Seattle and Mount Rainier.

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Chihuly Garden & Glass

I didn’t really know what to expect when I visited Chihuly Garden but I loved it. I highly recommend that you visit this exhibition.

I’m a much better photographer now 😉

museum of Pop culture

Back in 2016 when I visited, this was called EMP museum-music+ sci-fi + pop culture. Needless to say anymore.

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I couldn’t even get the whole installation in the frame
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This should convince you to go check the museum

Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room/Starbucks Pike Place

Alright, I’d usually highly advise against drinking Starbucks coffee especially that there are too many great coffee shops in Seattle but I’m going to make this one little exception. I did not go to the Reserve Roastry myself but I went to the Starbucks store located outside Pike Place Market also known as Original Starbucks because it’s the first Starbucks store established in 1971.

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I wonder if Micah is still there?
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Original Starbucks!

 

Off beaten path

There are so many beautiful neighbourhoods in Seattle to explore like a local, away from the hassle of downtown.

Before leaving Pike Place Market, you may want to check :

The Gum wall

People do miss this brick wall because it’s in an alley under Pike Place Market and it’s actually as the name suggests : a wall of gum! Cool? Grim? that’s up to you 🙂

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Fremont

Thank God for the local friends who suggest cool things to do and thank you Glenn for suggesting I visit Fremont.

Fremont is funky. The first thing you see when arriving there is a sign saying “Welcome to Fremont, center of the universe”. How cool is that! It’s a laid-back neighbourhood with a funky vibe along Lake Union, you get to walk along the lake, visit all the vintage and records shops and see some cool art.

Capitol Hill

Gay clubs, hip bars, indie stores and awesome coffee shops, that’s some of the things to expect in Capitol Hill. It’s a wonderful place for a brunch and a wonder, which what I exactly did there. I can highly recomment the Oddfellows cafe .

Oh if you happen to be in the area, make sure to check out Elliott Bay bookstore.

 

Hopefully this would give you some ideas on what to do in Seattle. Make sure you enjoy the good coffee while in town and have fun!

Dear Friends, Stop Telling Me I Go To Weird Places

Dear friends,

If I wanted to go on a sunny holiday to relax, I would go to my charming mediterranean country, stay for free in my parents house, use dad’s car, get fed by my mama and be spoiled by my friends.

I like to think of myself as a traveller who wants to hang out with locals, find out about hidden gems and go to places with not so much selfie sticks.

PS: I have nothing against selfie sticks unless they are taking 3/4 of your photos or when they are taking up my personal space.

I know that you love me and do worry about me but stop freaking me out with your “Ohhhhh! Isn’t that a dangerous place?” every time I tell you about my travel plans (You too mama! Especially the places you’ve never been but so sure it’s dangerous for me to be there).

Dear readers, who do not necessary know about my travels ( It’s OK, I do forgive you), ‘dangerous’ places I’ve visited include Lebanon, Serbia etc.

As if Beirut was more dangerous than Paris this past year ( *Sarcastically rolling my eyes*).

Back to you, dear friends.

It is really harsh to base your judgement on news from ten years ago. The Lebanese civil war ended in 1990 but yet some people only have this image of a very beautiful country and its friendly lovely people, same applies on Serbia.

I get the fact that your perception is most of the time fed by media and I’m no exception. But for that exact reason, it’s important that we leave our comfort zones, couches and TVs and go out into the “wild”.

Let’s face it, we live in hard times and it’s important to try to get to know each other, it’s important to open up to others.

People are nice, most of them. During my travels to the States, Lebanon, Serbia, etc. I met some amazing strangers with whom I had in common just one thing: our humanity. But that was enough.

If what you consider as weird place is a place with no resorts, junk food or similar experience to your homeland, then yes I love visiting weird places.

Places where I can learn something new, where I can open up to a different culture.

Weird is good.  The world is worth the risk.

PS: I have nothing against resorts, it’s just not my type of travel.

 

Yours truly,

The traveller inside me