The Real Packing List

I read a great post over at New Life ESL about what women should bring with them. And it got me to thinking: what are the things I’m really glad I brought with me from home?

The things that keep my brain engaged, my creative juices flowing, and my health on point are what my personal well-being really values.

  • An E-Reader. I researched tablets and e-readers for ages before I finally settled on a Kindle Paperwhite.  I chose it because, as a dedicated e-reader, I wouldn’t have to force myself not to be distracted by Angry Birds or other disgruntled wildlife. Call it a positive constraint. I was also concerned about the blue light emitted from backlit tablets and how that would affect my sleep. (If you’re curious, have a peek at this article from Scientific American). Books don’t travel well, so streamlining my library into digital form was great. I liked this one because of its screen, its compact size, and its affordability.
  • A FitBit. Walking is excellent exercise, and it’s a great way to get used to your new surroundings. Get lost, and try to find your way back home. You’ll see some cool stuff. I needed a wristwatch to help time my classroom activities, and I like tracking my activity level and my sleep (as I’ve said, sleep is of the utmost importance). I went with the Fitbit Alta. It’s small, sleek, and simple. I really didn’t think I needed a heart-rate tracker, so there was no need to spend that money. Besides, if you really want to track your heart-rate, just get a dedicated HR tracker. It will be way more accurate. (I’m no help there – I’ve never used one).
  • A Sleep Mask. I can’t sleep on planes. I was determined for that not to be the case for the first 15 hour leg of my journey. I did some research, but finally settled on the Sleep Master. Tim Ferriss recommended it on his blog, and I’ve been pleased. It’s a satiny material, so it’s comfortable, but most important is the design: it goes over your ears, rather than a strap behind them. Way more comfortable, and it muffles a bit of sound, too. Not a lot, but mine arrived with a set of earplugs, too. My first apartment in China had blackout curtains, so I didn’t need it then. Now, I’m not so lucky, so I’m glad I brought it.
  • A Creative Outlet. I’m a guitarist, but I’m also a minimalist. So I bought a ukulele, and it’s given me hours of joy. I got a Gretsch-G9121-T. Here’s a link to see what it looks like, but I would never buy an instrument online. I have to play it first. It’s got a quality preamp stock, comes strung with D’Addario D’Aquilas, and has a nice warm sound. It makes me smile, so it’s worth it. Bring a notebook, too. You can get those cheap anywhere. You don’t really need a Moleskin.

A lot of people bring nice cameras, but I don’t know anything about that, so I can’t honestly make a recommendation. The above are things I use everyday, and they make my life better. Your list might be way different, but just some food for thought.

Be well!


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