Last year, I revealed, after just a few months working and travelling for Automattic, what I carried with me in my backpack. A year on, and many more trips, and that content has changed.
The theme for this year is “brown leather”.
- The Aer Fit Pack 2 backpack. This is the latest backpack provided by Automattic to its employees. It has a very large front section and a useful shoe holder at the bottom, which I tend to use for water bottle storage (just in case it leaks).
- Hoxton slim leather card holder. There’s room for receipts and notes as well. Most of the time, the only cards I now need when travelling are my Curve and Monzo. Both are phone-app based – Curve (sign up with my code TKYPB and get £5) lets you, essentially, direct all of your other cards to this one and then you choose which one you want to use for any purchase. Monzo is my current account, which I’m in the process of making my main one.
- Hoxton travel pass holder. As my wallet but a rather splendid travel pass holder – whether for plane, train or bus tickets this keeps everything organised.
- Mnemosyne A5 Notebook. A high quality, ruled, Japanese notebook for all my travel notes.
- A Clairefontaine pencil case. The contents are the same as last year too!
- A black + blum Eau Good charcoal filter water bottle. Using a stick of activated, oak charcoal, this filters the water naturally.
- Umbrella. Because I’m still English 😉 A windproof, auto pop-up brolly for when I get caught by the inevitable rain.
- Apple 13″ MacBook Pro, 2016 model. This is my Automattic-provided laptop and I genuinely love it. With the revised, short-travel keyboard and trackpad and all USB-C connections I was expecting to hate it but it grew on me really quickly. And using USB-C is less than a burden than I thought. The only issue – that slam keyboard is prone to issues.
- OneAdaptr TWIST+ World Charging Station. This twists (hence the name), causing the mains pins to alter configuration, basically allowing you to modify it to plug into various electrical sockets around the world. On one side is a connector for your MacBook adapter (and it works on the old and new adapters too) and then there are 4 USB ports too. With everything, bar my MacBook charger, only requiring USB then this is the only travel adapter I need to take. In the picture, my MacBook charger is already connected.
- Ray-Ban Justin sunglasses. With a matt-black finish, I really like these.
- Bose Soundlink Colour Bluetooth speaker. This is the first generation model, splashproof instead of waterproof, but I got it for half price from a local Bose retailer. Superb sound and you can connect multiple devices to it via Bluetooth. I’ve got it, shown here, in a smart case, which also holds the charger and cables.
- BUBM cable and electronics organiser. A neat, soft case that holds my various cables and electronics items – see below for what’s inside!
- Belkin phone holder.
- Braun alarm clock. When staying in hotels, I often find they no longer provide any form of bedside clock – I find using a phone for checking the time in the night to be too disruptive. You can’t beat the clock, which has a white-on-black display.
- A Qlipter – a rather neat carabiner that you can twist and configure in all sorts of ways. Handy for hanging bags off of.
- Boots Dry Eyes Eye Mist. Contact lens friendly and able to spray on even closed eyes, this is great for the inevitable dry eyes that you get when flying.
- Apple AirPods. For the money, these are excellent quality. I keep mine in a brown, leather protective case.
- Ralph Lauren Glasses. If the eye mist isn’t enough and I need to ditch the contact lenses, I always carry my glasses with me. These Polo branded glasses in red and matt black are rather smart.
- kalibri Business card holder. In a smooth, brown leather, these aren’t as good as the Hoxton accessories but, until they make a business card holder, this will have to do. It holds a lot of cards and also has a number of additional pockets on it too (essentially, it can replace your wallet too).
- Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (3rd Generation).. My reading method of choice when travelling. I take advantage of services such as BookBub to get books at sale prices, so I’ve always got a large library available at any time. I keep my Kindle in a soft, protective slip case.
- Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth headphones. Very comfortable and with a great sound, where these really shine are with their noise suppression, so are very useful on planes and trains. Also in the case is a lighting to headphone jack cable, for when on flights I can’t use Bluetooth and need to connect it to my iPhone (yea, I forgot it last time so couldn’t use them).
- Flare ISOLATE Earplugs. Not designed for sleeping in but when you need to shut out the sound around you in normal life. As I suffer from sensory overload, this can be particularly useful in noisy environments.
- Fidget spinner. Yep. In an attempt to keep my hands still when they need to be, this is a useful distractor. This is a high quality version made in a heavy metal.
Woah, something’s missing!
Yes, some items from last year are missing. Let’s explore some… and why…
- TrackR. Yep, I was using these to track my baggage but I found they ate through batteries and, even when powered up, rarely worked. Tile seem to be a better option, which I may consider.
- A Sony Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Because… well, I never used them when travelling.
- Moulded sleep mask. Never ended up using them. If I’m tired on a plane, I’ll usually sleep anyway.
What’s in my cable bag?
- Short USB to Lightning connection cable (i.e. for charging my iPhone).
- Card reader. I have no idea where I got this from now but in the side are slots of SD and Micro CD card. At one end is a USB-C connector. On the other is a combined micro-USB and full-size USB 3 connector. All of this is wrapped up in a metal shell.
- Apple USB 3 to USB C converter.
- Assorted USB converters and a Sandisk USB-C memory stick (32GB). The converters are Victsing USB 3 and micro USB to USB-C. There is also a micro-USB to mini-USB adapter too.
- USB to Nintendo 3DS cable. As I’ve stopped carrying the 3DS then, yes, this is something I can take out now.
- SIM card converter kit. A neat collection of SIM adapters, an ejector pin and even a sanding card for getting your SIM to the right size.
- Apple Watch charger and power bank. People love this when they see me with it. It’s basically an Apple Watch charger that also has a power bank built-in, meaning that, when charged, you don’t need to plug it in. With a clip on it, you can take it anywhere. And it’s cheaper than the official Apple Watch charging cable.
- Cable Matters USB C Multiport Adapter. This is useful for presentations, as it provides numerous display options.
- Jetpack power bank. Made by Jackery this is a 6000mAh power bank with a built-in torch. Nicely portable and convenient.
- Retractable, WordPress-branded multi-connector. Provides USB charging to micro-USB/lightning and USB-C. And the ends glow.
- USB re-chargeable LED torch. A decent torch is essential and this is great – LED powered, it’s extremely bright. It has different lighting options and, when you take the end-cap off, it has a male USB connector for quick charging.
- USB-C to USB-C cable (i.e. the one that goes from my MacBook charger to the MacBook itself). This is tied up with some leather cable ties, which you can buy cheaply as a random assortment of leather off-cuts (various colours) with a simple press-stud added.