Travel

What to Pack in Your Carry-On

Elie and I will be leaving for Vietnam in three weeks to celebrate my 40th birthday.  For most of the time we’re there, we’ll be biking with Butterfield & Robinson, with a few days by ourselves exploring Hanoi and Saigon at the beginning and end of the trip.  I feel like a kid counting down to Christmas!

Everyone keeps asking me, “Why Vietnam?”

I wanted to do something adventurous for my 40th birthday, something outside of my comfort zone.  Other than our recent trip to Bali, I haven’t travelled through Asia at all and the culture and food is unfamiliar.  And, despite living in biking-obsessed Bellingham, I’m a timid biker and I rarely see the seat of a bike.  It’s good to face your fears and reach past the edges of comfort—to stretch and experience something new.  So, we’re biking through Vietnam.

In the four years Elie and I have been together, we’ve made quite a few international trips—Australia, Bali, the Greek Islands, three trips to Israel, Paris, and two trips to Mexico.  With each trip, I’ve gotten better and better at packing.  I keep a running list in my iPad of things we use during our travels, and on every trip we edit the list.

I think a well-packed carry-on bag is essential to being comfortable on the flight and feeling good when you reach your destination.  Can you survive a flight without all these things? Yes.  But why not give yourself a little comfort and some small luxuries, even if you’re flying coach?

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When Elie and I traveled to Paris in the summer of 2012, we happily—and with gusto—dove into all Paris had to offer.  Velvety chocolates, flaky croissants spread with raw milk butter, rustic breads made from wild yeast, creamy sheep milk cheese from the Pyrenees, even rabbit terrine and head cheese.  We tried them all.  Simply because we were in…

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