Travel

Every Day Carry (EDC)

In Which Our Heroine Ponders What Burdens Are Necessary

I have a very bad habit of carrying far too much (mainly literally, but sometimes figuratively) on my person every day. I like to travel light, but I also like to be prepared for any contingency. I also detest not being able to find things – everything I carry must have its designated place in my Daily Kit.

Every so often, I purge my handbag of All That Is Unnecessary and try again, but there are certain Things Without Which I feel Distinctly Uncomfortable. I continually struggle to find the balance between Bare Minimum and Distinctly Overloaded. Add to this my constant Hunt For The Perfect Handbag (which means changing bags fairly often and sometimes forgetting to move some Essential from one bag to another), not to mention the back problems that occur when I overload myself, and you see part of my need to simplify and streamline my EDC.

I imagine that I am not the only one who struggles with this dilemma.

So, how does one decide what is necessary?

For some people, there are auxiliaries that will vary from day to day and situation to situation. Is today a work day? A vacation day? Will I be near home, or will I be far away for the day? Will I have a lot of down time, or is every moment booked solid?

While these are all important things to take into account, most people carry a “core” with them every day. For some, it’s as simple as KWP: Keys, Wallet, Phone. As long as one is carrying those three things, one can contact others and be contacted, one can get into one’s home/car, and one can identify one’s self and make purchases.

For many people, however, there are other daily tasks and activities that require equipment. I gave myself this guideline: If you truly use this every day, then carry it. Otherwise, leave it at home.

In the interests of keeping myself accountable (and possibly inspiring others to take a good, hard look at what they carry every day), here is my current EDC:

(Not pictured: my phone, as that’s what I always use to take photos. Pray ignore the cat hair. Hiro firmly believes that I stuff bags full of yarn especially so that he can cuddle with them.)

My wallet is a Pocket Deluxe Chic Sparrow Elysium. It holds all the usual things (cash, cards, ID), as well as the notebooks in which I keep my Bullet Journal and a fountain pen. (My current favorite is a Pilot Namiki Decimo with a Fine nib, though I have also been known to carry my ever-reliable Kaweco Sport.)

My other supplies are split into Tom Bihn Organizer Pouches by category. Because I have at least one fountain pen with me at all times (as this is definitely my favorite kind of pen), I also carry ink cartridges. In the same pouch, I have a letter opener, a pencil sharpener, and three tiny stamps that I use to track weather in my planner. I usually carry a knitting project, so a second pouch holds essential knitting notions. A third pouch contains a very minimal First Aid Kit with Advil, adhesive bandages (Star Wars and Wonder Woman, because life is too short for boring bandages), and lip balm.

To be honest, I probably still carry more pens than I strictly need, but I use them every day. I also always carry at least one ordinary rollerball in case my husband needs one and forgets his.

The various pouches help me to make sure that I can find everything, even in the most capacious, non-pocketed handbag. They also make it easy to remember to transfer everything from bag to bag.

I use everything on this list almost every day. Those things that I carry “just in case” are purely medical at this point (other than Alex’s pen). There are things I have left behind in the past (like my knitting), but I have consistently regretted it.

What do you carry with you every day? What are your reasons and requirements? Let me know in the comments or, if you’ve done your own blog entry on this subject, please leave me a link!

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Categories: Pondering, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

ADVENTURE!

In Which Our Heroine Remembers That She Has A Blog

I am absolutely certain that everyone else’s year thus far has been just as busy as mine has. Between fire and flood (well, the opposite of flood in my case) and other joys of being a homeowner, plus a few exciting travel adventures, it’s been a rather eventful and interesting time.

I read somewhere that “Adventure is just the result of bad planning.” I think, however, that there are certain adventures that you simply cannot plan for. For instance, you cannot plan for the previous owner of your house to leave no clear indication of where your well might be so that you can find it when the 20-year-old pump craps out on you and leaves you without water for five months while you desperately search for the well, only to find that it is cunningly concealed under a concrete pad in front of the garage. You cannot plan for your middle-aged cat to suddenly become deathly ill so that you must give him subcutaneous fluids daily. (For the worried: He’s made a miraculous recovery. He only needs his fluids about once a week now and is perky and happy in a way he has not been since youth. Everything is wonderful, and the vet is “happily amazed.”) You cannot plan for the company that is pressure-washing your house to have their trailer spontaneously catch fire and burn down your trailer that is sitting right next to it. (Again, for the worried: Everything is fine. Insurance is a fantastic thing, no one was hurt, and the fire was out in a matter of about 5 minutes once the firefighters got there. Also, there was nothing in the trailer except for the race ramps used to get very low cars in there. It might have been much worse. There might have been a car in the trailer.)

Needless to say, this year has been a bit more adventurous than we had hoped. (Or, obviously, planned for.) Things are beginning to calm down a bit, and we have had some (planned) travel adventures, as well!

Alex and I have been doing a good deal more with our local car clubs lately. We’ve been unable to go out of the country (see above), but we have been able to take trips on our own continent. Recently, we went on a trip to the California Redwoods and the Oregon Caves with the Classic Car Club of America. Alex and I had never been to the Oregon Caves, and neither of us had been to the Avenue of the Giants, either. The trip was fantastic, and our car proceeded beautifully, rain or shine.

This is our 1938 Bentley. I love this car. Love, love, LOVE. It’s right-hand drive, brought to the United States from England in the 1950s. Alex drives it. There is no power steering (obviously), so it takes far more upper body strength than I have to wrestle it around at low speeds. Alex and I do agree that, given the option, we might have brought something else for a long road trip, but the experience was wonderful. It’s amazing how well a car of this era can move along modern roads (though you wouldn’t want to take it down the freeway for any length of time).

Here is a redwood tree! (Me included for scale.)

We hope to take more road trips this autumn and next year.  As I become a More Confident Driver Of Classics (not the Bentley, thank you), I will be able to help with the driving on some of these trips.  I also really enjoy the idea of being able to just throw some things in the trunk of a car and go Adventuring.  (A little planning is good, but Spontaneous Adventure is so much fun.)

Perhaps Adventure is less a lack of planning and more just enough planning to be safe, but not so much as to remove the Element of Surprise from one’s travels.

Do you, Dear Reader, have any adventures planned this autumn?

P.S. Here is a photo of Loki, showing off how pleased he is to be feeling better.

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

That Wistful Feeling

In Which Our Heroine Does Some Navel-Gazing About Travel

Once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. One of my Autumn Resolutions is to be more regular about posting, and it’s never too early (or late!) to start.

Today’s post is about travel, and how the best-laid plans “gang aft agley,” as Robbie Burns so aptly puts it.

Alex and I had plans for this month. We were going to England, where we would spend time together in various places. (We went to the UK almost exactly two years ago, but that was with my parents. While it was a very pleasant trip, there is a big difference between travelling with four people and travelling with two.) First, we planned to go to London, to see off the competitors in the London to Brighton Run, visit the Sherlock Holmes exhibit at the Museum of London, and see what a real Bonfire Night in London looks like. Then, we planned a leisurely journey, stopping at enticing places along the way in a romantic, carefree manner, until we reached Birmingham and the giant, all-indoor NEC Classic Motor Show.

However, for a variety of reasons (not least of which is the fact that Life has been insane, and we didn’t want to add the stress of planning an international trip to said insanity), we decided to put off the England trip. (I’m hoping we can try for sometime in March — no motor show, but the Sherlock Holmes exhibit ends April 12.)

Before we called off the trip, I had already started plugging dates into my Google Calendar — Bonfire Night, Remembrance Day, the NEC Motor Show, and so on. I never got around to taking those dates, or the automatic reminders for those dates, off the calendar.

Thus, every so often, an alert pops up on my computer or phone to remind me of what I’m missing. I don’t cry about it or anything, but I do feel a bit wistful when my calendar reminds me that I’m celebrating at home, rather than in England. (Glenna C’s recent jaunt to England, complete with photos, definitely boosted my wistfulness. Just saying.)

While I know we made the right choice in not going to England this year, I still miss being there. I’ve been three (four?) times in my lifetime, and I feel homesick every time I leave. I will say that the weather here has been conspiring to be as English as possible for this time of year (cold, damp, foggy), and I’m grateful. I’ve pulled out my woolies and tucked my T-shirts away for the winter. I’ve also pulled some bangers out of the freezer and pulled up my favorite recipe for onion gravy, so good old bangers and mash are definitely in my future. I’m looking forward to cooking at home more, getting the house really clean and organized, and continuing my eternal game of catch-up with my blogs and other writing.

At the same time, I’m already starting to plan the next trip, and the next…

I’ll keep you posted.

Categories: Pondering, Travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Rome, Sweet Rome

Greetings from Rome, Italy!

Why, yes, it has been a long time. Blogging has certainly gotten away from me this year. I’ve done some writing (both letters and work on the novel), but most of my brain has been occupied with travel over the past few months. Alex and I will be in Italy for the next 19 days, and I wanted to share our trip with you, as well as some Travel Tips for seeing the places we visit. (Plus, the weather is absolutely gorgeous here, and I’m getting some good photos.)

We arrived yesterday after an extremely long set of flights. The timing was great, though, since by the time we got our luggage and everything, we were just in time to catch the Leonardo Express train to the center of Rome, catch a taxi from there, and check into our hotel. (We’re staying at the Grand Hotel Plaza, and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s not cheap, but the location is worth every penny.) We had a nice, relaxed afternoon, went out for a small dinner, drank a bottle of wine between the two of us, and slept pretty well. (I woke up at around 4:30 and dozed until we finally got up around 7:00.)

Everything is beautiful here. Even the desserts are beautiful.

Today, we went to the Forum and the Coliseum. Here’s your first Travel Tip: Go to the Forum first, as early as you can. Your ticket will also get you into the Coliseum. Going to the Forum early means you beat all the tour groups and get a nice, quiet walk around the site. Get lunch when you’re done (the Forum is seriously huge, so take your time seeing it all), then take your ticket to the Coliseum and enter the express line. You already have your ticket, so you don’t need to stand in the Extremely Long Ticket Queue.

Here are a few photos from the Forum. Note the Forum Cats.

The Coliseum was definitely worth the trip, as well.

These are both in the same area, and they were a fairly easy walk from our hotel. I have no idea what we’re doing tomorrow, but it’s going to be fun!

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