Category Archives: The process

Tweeting Wien

Hallo aus Wien! We’re on day 3 of 35 and so far everything is wonderful. The rain today kind of ruined our plans to walk Anywhere and Everywhere, but we’re making do.

Here’s a picture of Brett enjoying our first Döner yesterday. We’ve been waiting only, oh, two years for it.



Also, we realized that since we’re having a significantly different experience here than in the rest of our travels that we have a lot of sort of random little observations that we didn’t really know how to share with y’all. That’s when we came to the exciting/horrifying realization that that’s what Twitter is for.  I (Bowen) have had a Twitter account for a couple of years but use it fairly sparingly, mostly to keep up with other friends who use it and professionally to connect with other food folks and keep up with local organizations (previously those in LA, now the ones in Madison that I’m getting excited about). Not that I need any excuses to use Twitter, but there they are.

In any case – we’re going to try to start posting there (aka tweeting) some of our little day-to-day observations about life here in Vienna. You can see my Twitter profile at If you’re on Twitter too you can respond, retweet, and some other functions I don’t really understand how to use. You can also subscribe to my Twitter feed using an RSS reader (just subscribe to the profile url), but I’m warning you that it will send you a feed for every single tweet. There are probably other ways to follow a Twitter feed, but I don’t know about them.


The best laid plans …

We are in Peru!

It was a bit of a rough night –  long story short, we weren’t able to sleep in the Santiago airport as we had planned (and as we had specifically confirmed with our airline that we’d be able to do), but instead basically had to stay up all night to watch over our luggage in the public lobby area of the airport. We found what we had hoped would be a relatively quiet and dim corner, but turns out that’s where the custodial staff likes to have 3:30 a.m. reggaeton dance parties. Who knew?

But when things go not quite as planned, it’s amazing what double pisco sours and a grilled beef sandwich piled high with guacamole can do (a good way to use up the rest of our Chilean soles, thank you overpriced airport diner).


And we’re here! And we’re staying at a hostel called Pantástico Bed and Bakery, which just doesn’t stop being the most awesome concept ever. The view of Cusco from our hotel room is absolutely gorgeous, and there are literally frolicking kittens that live on the roof outside the window. Not a bad place to spend a few days adjusting to the altitude before we do Machu Picchu and head into Christmas!

Packing: South America and Southeast Asia four-month edition

UPDATED January 29, as we head to Asia! Changes are listed in green.

So. We definitely did some stuff between The Maritimes and today. We drove back across the United States to Eugene, which was an experience in itself that mostly included: driving, driving, more driving, seeing way too many Romney yard signs and getting thumbs down-ed on the highway way too often (not ever really sure why, but possible reasons include: hate Obama, root against Oregon, don’t like hybrids, went to CMC), seeing good friends and eating food food, eating mediocre highway-side food, daydreaming about hotels with hot tubs, and listening to many, many hours of Game of Thrones. We got to Eugene, where we did things including: walking in the rain, going to the Oregon Coast for a few days, spending time with some of our best friends in the world, flying to Los Angeles to see lots of friends and to go to a gorgeous black tie wedding in Beverly Hills (we are very fancy people), running in the rain, riding the roller coaster otherwise known as college football, laying in bed and listened to the rain, and enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. It was all great.

But we never wrote about it and we didn’t really take many pictures, so … too bad for you, friends. You’ll just have to imagine it all. (Please imagine me a bit taller, with thicker hair and a new phone, while you’re at it.)

Tomorrow we leave for the next part of our trip – two months in South America and two months in Southeast Asia. We are beyond excited and hope to get some images and things up on this site on a more regular basis, but who knows – we might be having too much fun.

Much of the last couple of weeks has been focused on preparations for this trip, and we’d be shocked if the very helpful and lovely people at the Eugene REI didn’t miss us today since we didn’t stop by. (Can’t wait for that dividend this year …) We put a lot of effort into our packing list, as you are about to see. Because our road trip packing post was so popular and because we used other travel blogs’ packing lists heavily in planning our lists (and because our travel insurance requires evidence of our luggage contents if we need to file a claim) we’re going to share it all here in detail. Lucky you! You get to see every single thing we’ll have with us for the next four months.

And sorry for the poor quality of these photos – we were in a bit of a hurry to get to our celebratory dinner tonight. (Life is hard.)

Bowen’s clothes

  • Hiking shoes (not exactly that link, but close)
  • Keens hiking sandals (not exactly that link, but close)
  • Birkenstock sandals
  • Wool hat – not bringing to Asia
  • Four pairs socks (three pairs athletic, one pair wool hiking) – removing two pairs for Asia
  • Four bras (two sports bra, two yoga-type, one cheap underwire)
  • Knee brace
  • Swimsuit (top and bottom)
  • Gloves – not bringing to Asia
  • Seven pairs undies – two pairs stolen, replaced in Chile
  • Jeans – not bringing to Asia
  • Hiking pants
  • Athletic shorts
  • Brown khaki shorts
  • Black cropped yoga leggings
  • Black jersey skirt
  • Black dress
  • Two new dresses bought in South America – not bringing to Asia
  • Longsleeve baselayer shirt
  • Longsleeve light button-down denim shirt
  • Five v-neck cotton t-shirts – one ripped/stained and thrown away almost immediately after going to South America, and four more purchased between South America and Asia
  • Super touristy Peru t-shirt purchased because I had too few shirts – not bringing to Asia
  • Two solid and striped racerback tanks – only one coming to Asia, the other too stretched out and threadbare
  • Patterned tank – not bringing to Asia (too stretched out and threadbare)
  • Patterned camisole for layering
  • Athletic tank
  • Rain jacket
  • Fleece jacket – not bringing to Asia
  • Two patterned scarves – one purchased in Ecuador

Bowen’s other stuff

  • Half-dozen ziploc bags of various sizes and one kitchen-size garbage bag (for dirty laundry along the way)
  • Money belt with passport, immunization record, flash drive, and padlock key
  • Travel towel with pouch
  • Cheap watch
  • Baggie full of ginger candy (for motion-sickness and general nausea)
  • Baggie with half-dozen granola bars, half-dozen tea bags, half-dozen Emergen-C packets
  • Padlock
  • Suitcase lock (purchased between South America and Asia)
  • Pillowcase (will fill with clothes to use as a pillow)
  • Tide pen
  • Sharpie with duct tape rolled around it (so we don’t have to bring a big roll of it)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Glasses and case
  • Sunglasses
  • Sewing kit
  • Sleep sack
  • South America guidebook and Latin America Spanish phrasebook – not bringing to Asia
  • Southeast Asia guidebook
  • Headlamp
  • Water bottle
  • Two books and one crossword puzzle book
  • Silverware set
  • Camelback reservoir
  • Preserve plastic food container
  • Additional tupperware container

Bowen’s toiletries

Note: many of these things have been refilled/replaced at least once

  • Makeup: mascara, eyeliner, powder
  • Astringent face wipes (put into ziplock baggie)
  • Q-tips
  • Pack of tissues
  • Tinted moisturizer with SPF
  • Big toothpaste, carry-on size toothpaste
  • Comb
  • Floss
  • Tweezers
  • Chapstick
  • Toothbrush with two extra bristle parts (I’ve been using this same toothbrush for 10 years now, literally, just changing the bristles every month)
  • Container with bobby pins, hair bands, pair of small hoop earrings
  • Hand santizer
  • Big contact solution, carry-on size contact solution
  • Five months’ supply contact lenses
  • Two contact cases
  • Small moisturizer
  • Small bottle tea tree face wash
  • Deodorant
  • Travel toilet paper
  • Scissors
  • Nail clippers
  • Shampoo and conditioner (shared with Brett)
  • Small plastic bottle with Dr. Bronner’s
  • Small plastic bottle with shaving cream
  • Razor
  • Black headband
  • Four months’ supply of feminine products (not shown)
  • Small bottle aloe
  • Travel shampoo and conditioner for airports (fancy Asian airports with showers!)

Brett’s clothes

  • Nine(ish) pairs underwear
  • Five pairs socks
  • Baseball hat
  • Wool hat – not bringing to Asia
  • Hankerchief
  • Jeans – not bringing to Asia
  • Hiking pants
  • Khaki shorts
  • Athletic shorts
  • Swim trunks
  • Longsleeve t-shirt
  • Two longsleeve button-downs
  • Two shortsleeve t-shirts
  • Two shortsleeve button-downs
  • Rainjacket
  • Hoodie sweatshirt – not bringing to Asia
  • Fleece vest
  • Flip flops
  • Keens hiking sandals
  • Hiking shoes

Brett’s other stuff

  • Southeast Asia guidebook
  • Camelbak reservoir
  • Two books, one crossword puzzle book
  • Glasses and case
  • Sunglasses
  • Steel bottle for carrying … uh … water
  • Headlamp
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Headphone splitter (so we can listen to something at the same time)
  • Silverware set
  • Playing Cards
  • Swiss army knife
  • Padlock
  • Lighter
  • Travel towel and pouch
  • Earplugs
  • Chicobag
  • Waistband pouch with passport and immunization record
  • Pillowcase (will stuff with clothes to use as a pillow)
  • Sleep sack
  • Garbage bag for dirty laundry

Note: many of these things have been refilled/replaced at least once 

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Small plastic bottle of shaving cream
  • Razor
  • Two travel toilet paper (one’s almost empty from our last trip)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Eye drops
  • Floss
  • Other eye drops
  • Big contact solution, carry-on contact solution
  • Five months’ supply contacts
  • Two contact cases
  • Big toothpaste, carry-on toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Dr. Bronner’s bar soap
  • Deodorant
  • Moisturizer with SPF
  • Lip Balm

Electronics (shared)

  • MacBook Pro (mine – it’s a few years old and I’m planning to get a new one when we return anyway, so we mostly cleared this one and filled it with movies, podcasts, and music)
  • Laptop lock
  • Laptop charger and appropriate converters
  • Bowen’s iPhone (to use as iPod) and charger
  • Outlet converter and instructions – not bringing to Asia
  • Samsung phone (for buying SIM cards and using as a phone wherever we go – also has an amazing camera for taking videos)
  • DSLR (Canon Rebel T2i – not shown, was taking this photo) and charger
  • Tiny travel camera tripod (not shown, forgot to put in photo)
  • Point-and-shoot Canon camera and charger
  • … uh, travel alarm clock again (also in photo of Brett’s other stuff)

First aid stuff

  • Emergency blanket
  • Two travel bottles ibuprofen
  • Malaria and diarrhea prescription meds
  • Two Epi-pens for me
  • Ace bandage
  • Non-drowsy allergy meds
  • Jungle juice insect repellant
  • Iodine tablets for purifying water
  • Benadryl anti-itch stick
  • Assorted band-aids
  • Dramamine
  • Benadryl (the drowsy kind)
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Seasickness patches
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray


All together, that makes for:

I alternate between thinking it’s a ridiculously huge amount of stuff and that it’s really quite lean for four whole months of existing.

And yes, we’ll be carrying that on our backs for the next four months. We’re pretty excellent packers, if we do say so, and all of these things fit together in our bags pretty darn well, with room enough to spare for some good souvenirs.

Stay tuned for more, hopefully soon. In the meantime, be thinking of us Wednesday morning, 10:20 a.m. Buenos Aires time (8:20 Eastern, 5:20 Pacific) when we touch down!

Packing: Road trip edition

We spent most of our two days in Eugene focused on preparing and packing for this three-month road trip, and thought we’d share a little about how that went.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what it takes for us to drive across Canada and back for approximately 3 months … including two wedding weekends full of formal events, many weeks of camping, plenty of not camping (i.e. normal clothing time), grad school campus visits, and a huge variety of climates and regions.

Camping supplies: 1 tent, 2 sleeping bags, 2 sleeping pads, 1 egg crate mattress cover, 2 pillows, 2 camping chairs, 2 head lamps, 1 compass, 2 flash lights, 1 hatchet, 2 Camelbak water systems, 1 electric lantern, extra batteries, 1 roll duct tape, 1 large cooler and 2 ice packs

Car supplies/random supplies: 2 umbrellas, 1 first aid kit, 1 emergency car kit, 1 set tire chains, 2 heavy ponchos, 1 road atlas, 1 guide to Canadian campsites, approximately 15 maps and 10 Tour Guide books (thank you, AAA), 1 bottle laundry detergent, 2 padlocks

Cooking supplies: 1 two-burner propane camping stove + 2 cans of propane, 2 plates, 3 bowls, 3 sets of silverware, 2 travel mugs, 2 plastic cups with straws, 2 water bottles, 2 tupperware containers, 1 flask, 1 thermos, 2 rubber spatulas, 1 chef’s knife, 1 pair kitchen shears, 1 can opener, 1 citrus squeezer, 1 liquid measuring cup, 1 pair metal tongs, 2 plastic cutting boards, 1 corkscrew, coffee filters + red plastic coffee thingy, SodaStream + two bottles (yes, seriously), 1 set camping pots, 1 10″ cast iron skillet, 2 kitchen towels, ziploc baggies, 1 roll of paper towels, 1 bottle liquid soap

Food (all non-perishables until we start camping): 1 bottle olive oil, 1 bottle balsamic vinegar, sea salt, pepper, red chili flakes, 4 heads garlic, 4 yellow onions, 6 packets of concentrated chicken broth, 2 cans anchovies, 2 boxes macaroni and cheese, 1 box Israeli couscous, 1 box quinoa, 2 cans turkey chili, 2 cans pinto beans, 1 can black beans, 2 cans Albacore in water, 2 cans Albacore in oil, 1 can green chilis, 2 cans chipotles in adobo, 1 can El Pato salsa, 4 packets Indian food from Trader Joe’s, 1 box cereal, 1 bag of granola, 3 cartons plain soy milk, 1 jar peanut butter, 1 bottle maple syrup, 1 box just-add-water pancake mix, 3 bags pasta, 1 bag raisins, 1 bag dried cranberries, 1 bag dried apricots, 1 huge can of peanuts, 1 bag honey roasted peanuts, approximately 10 energy bars, 1 canister quick-cook steel cut oats, 1 bag brown sugar, 1 box Triscuits, 2 huge boxes Peppermint tea, 1 canister ground coffee, 1 bag peppermint hot chocolate, 1 bag Persian hot chocolate, 1 dozen Emergen-C packets, 4 bottles plus 1 box wine, 10 beers (more will be purchased, don’t worry), 1 bottle bourbon, 1 bottle irish whiskey, 1 bottle gin, 1 bottle tonic syrup (for SodaStream), and absolutely no dessert, which I just realized and which makes me very, very anxious.

Entertainment: A few dozen CDs, iPhones loaded with podcasts, music, and audio books, 4 books for each of us, 1 French phrase book, laptops and chargers, camera and charger, tripod, 2 decks of cards, 1 travel Scrabble set, 10 skeins of yarn and a crochet needle, The Joy of Cooking, 1 binder of recipes

Bowen clothes and personal items: 2 pairs jeans, 1 pair camping pants, 1 pair running tights, 1 pair fleece pants, 2 pairs khaki shorts, 1 pair athletic/hiking shorts, 1 black jersey skirt, 2 casual dresses, 1 cardigan, 3 tank tops, 2 t-shirts, 1 running/athletic top, 2 long sleeve shirts, 2 pullover shirts/sweaters, 3 scarves, 1 down vest, 1 down puffy coat, 1 mid-weight fleece jacket, 1 rain jacket, 1 athletic/running jacket, 10 pairs underwear, 2 bras, 1 sports bra, 1 knee brace, 8 pairs socks (2 wool, 3 athletic, 3 other), 1 pair tights, 1 pair running shoes, 1 pair hiking boots, 1 pair Keens hiking sandals, 2 pairs casual sandals, 1 pair riding boots, 1 pair high heels, 1 wool hat, 1 pair gloves, 1 swim suit, contacts/solution/case, shave cream/razor, body wash, toothbrush/toothpaste/floss, face wash and headband, deodorant, tampons, Q-tips, comb, hair dryer, a bit of jewelry, a few makeup items, hair pins and ties (bridesmaid dress and shoes already in LA, but will continue on with us)

Brett clothes: 3 pairs hiking socks, 2 pairs athletic socks, 1 pair white socks, 3 pairs black socks, 1 pair jeans, 1 pair khakis, 1 pair travel zip-off pants/shorts, 1 pairs shorts, 1 pair athletic shorts, 10 pairs boxers, 4 t-shirts, 4 button-down short sleeve shirts, 1 long sleeve athletic shirt, 2 button-down long sleeve shirts, 2 flannel shirts, 1 dress shirt, 1 bow tie, 1 pair suspenders, 1 fleece vest, 1 sweatshirt, 1 fleece jacket, 1 down puffy coat, 1 pair gloves, 1 scarf, 1 wool hat, 1 baseball hat, 1 pair running shoes, 1 pair flip flops, 1 pair hiking boots, 1 pair leather walking shoes, 1 pair Keens sandals, contacts/solution/case, shave cream/razor, 1 bar soap, toothbrush/toothpaste/floss, deodorant (suit and dress shoes already in LA, but will continue on with us)

Other: allergy medication, nail clippers, tweezers, bug spray, sun block, Ibuprofen, shampoo and conditioner, passports, 2 suitcases, 2 backpacks, various bins and bags

And all that stuff needed to go in here:

But we did it!

How did we do it, you ask?

Well. We learned some pretty good packing lessons from last week’s road trip, including the following:

  1. Put everything in bins, bags, or pockets, and commit to always returning those items to those places. Don’t let things float or get piled around the car! This also helps so that you can’t see specific items from the outside of the car, and thus reduce the risk of theft (which is a particularly scary prospect when everything you own and need for the next three months sits in your car most of each day).
  2. Always have a trash/recycling bag in the car, use it, and clear it out whenever you get somewhere (I say this with full recognition that a plastic container with the last bites of today’s coleslaw has been residing in the center console of the car for about 12 hours now, and will be there at least until lunchtime tomorrow. WHOOPS.)
  3. Bring everything you want to pack into the car outside at the same time, then pack it all in. It’s much easier to pack the car efficiently when you see everything you need to fit in.
  4. Locate and categorize things so that when you stay somewhere for the night, it’s easy to take in what you need and leave the rest. We know exactly which bags and bins need to come out of the car when we’re not camping, and which can stay in the car, and items from these two categories do not contaminate each other.
  5. If you’re camping or otherwise living out of the car and you’re using suitcases, try to find a way to lay them flat without too much stuff piled on top – that way you can open them and access your stuff without having to haul the bags in and out of the car.
  6. Get to know your car – We’ve always been surprised at how much our car can hold, but we took a bit of time to explore the car and found some really great extra packing spaces. Turns out there’s a pretty big compartment under the floor of the trunk (above the spare tire), and a little secret compartment on the side, both of which we had no idea existed. We’re storing stuff in those places that we won’t need for a while, like our winter coats, our dressier shoes, and some extra books. The pockets behind the seats, the glove compartment, and the center console also turned out to be great storage spaces, along with underneath both of the seats. We also decided to put down the rear seats (creating one huge space behind the driver and passenger seats), and found we could fit a ton more stuff that way.

Flat suitcases! (Mine’s behind the red one, under that green backpack.)

Secret compartment! Full of books and bags and shoes and puffy coats!

All this meant that packing the car was actually quite easy, and we ended up with plenty of extra space to be used for things like seeing out of the back windshield (handy) and acquiring more stuff (fun, but probably not the best idea).

I see you, back windshield! 

And we’re off!


Two days to Eugene … One pickup truck, one Prius, one UHaul trailer, two Patty’s burritos, three months of ignored podcasts, three Some Crust coffees, two iPhones full of music, and a whole lot of snacks (thanks, Cheese Cave friends!)  Continue reading

How we sold all our stuff and still had a good weekend

Three weeks ago or so, we had a garage sale, with a goal of selling almost all of our furniture, a good portion of our clothes and books, and a huge variety of things we knew we didn’t want to move and store. Neither of use has ever had a garage sale before, and we were surprised at certain things that work and things that didn’t.

The first step was going through all of our stuff and deciding what to sell and what to keep. This was the hardest part. The fact is, I’m a bit sentimental about stuff.  I also hate wastefulness.  These two facts together make it very difficult for me to get rid of perfectly good stuff, regardless of whether we have a need for it or whether it is worth the space in our limited volume of rented trailer.  “No, I haven’t worn that hat in six years, but I got it in Mexico and had to search a whole bunch of shops to find one big enough to fit me, and it’s still perfectly intact.”  Gone.  Sold for $2.  Needless to say, it was a difficult process culling all of our stuff to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  Bowen is much more practical about these sorts of things, if not occasionally overly ruthless in her quest to make sure we can fit everything.

But after sorting through everything we definitely had a very successful sale, and were quite surprised by much of the way things worked out: Continue reading


Welcome to our new blog!  We’ve started this site to keep in touch with everyone as we embark on our year of travel and adventure – to share pictures, stories, and our thoughts about our year off, and to stay in touch with friends and family along the way. We can’t wait to get started! (Especially because that means all our stuff will have been sorted, packed, and moved, instead of strewn around the house in a state of absolute chaos, as it is right now.)

See more about us and why we’re taking this year off here, and see our travel itinerary here.

If you’d like to keep track of our travels, either add to your preferred blog reader or use the function on the right to sign up to get email notices of new posts.

p.s. This is the only good recent photo of us that doesn’t include football attire. Another reason to travel.