Life, Packing Lists, USA

Fall Refresh


There’s nothing like a move halfway across the world to bring out my inner shopaholic/basic b*tch. The end of summer always feels more like the beginning of a new year to me, and I guess the trend of back-to-school shopping has stuck with me well into adulthood. But in truth, though my minimalist tendencies are cringing at the number of new items that have entered my life, knowing that I’ll have to move them again soon enough, I’m trying hard to buy quality items that either contribute something to my health and well-being, or will stick with me for several years. As I was packing to leave Amman, I left behind a lot of household items that I’ll either retrieve later or use again if/when I’m living in Jordan again. I didn’t have a lot of donations, but I left behind the worn-out, low quality things that weren’t worth dragging onto three airplanes.


When I reached Istanbul, it finally kind of hit me that I was leaving, and I wandered the airport in disbelief that I’d actually done it. I forgot what time zone I was in and ordered a glass of wine at 10 am and tried not to ugly cry the whole time. I came across some Jo Malone perfumes and remembered a scent I’d liked a couple years ago but had talked myself out of buying – and picked up a bottle of it. Major life upheavals, if nothing else, call for a new scent.

My route this time took me AMM – IST – SFO – LAS. That Istanbul to San Francisco flight was about 15 hours and I think the longest flight I’ve ever been on. When I booked my ticket, I paid the $80 extra to have an exit row seat (the wall to the bathroom was in front of me instead of another seat) and it was so worth it to be able to stretch my legs out and prop my feet against the wall in front of me. Unfortunately, I barely slept on the flight, and the night before and after I only got 2 hours of sleep, so it was a very sleep-deprived few days.

I haven’t even been here a week yet, but in a few days, I’ll (hopefully) be flying out to Germany again for grad school – with an Iceland stopover along the way, something I’ve always wanted to do. That means I went out today and finally replaced the carry-on suitcase I’ve hated since the day I purchased it (my duffel bag failed a few years ago in the Las Vegas airport and I bought the only suitcase I could find in the terminal – overpriced, an awkward size with flimsy handles and a design I didn’t care for).

I’m also doing things like refreshing my skincare routine, getting new eyeglasses, finally buying that Patagonia jacket I’ve been talking myself out of for the last five years, and trying to restart my yoga and fitness habits as the weather gets cooler.

Fall Favorites & Travel Essentials

Gaiam foldable/travel-friendly yoga mat (similar)
Calpak voyager carryon – I wasn’t sure how I felt about the front zip section, but it will fit my laptop, Kindle, etc. perfectly. I’m kind of obsessed with it now.
Rituals skincare
Patagonia Better Sweater
Leather tote from Duluth Trading
Frames from Fetch Eyewear – they donate their profits to animal welfare, and animals should be rewarded for not being people.
Jo Malone colognes
Uniqlo – good, basic staples
FabFitFun – I signed up for a subscription, mainly because I really wanted the bag and teapot in their Fall box. I plan on sharing the rest with my mom to justify the extra stuff.
ThinkTank Photo Lily Deanne camera bag – last but not least, I upped my camera bag game when this bag was big time on sale at B&H. My Domke bag stayed behind in Jordan – it’s in good shape and is fine for things like working in refugee camps, but I decided it was time to have a bag that says “I’m a professional and have my shit together.”

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