What's in My Bag

What’s in my bag? — Alexander Caro

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What's in my bag? issue #70

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Alexander Caro is an IT Consultant who works in the education technology sector. Born in Massachusetts, USA, he currently works in Monrovia, Liberia. Since graduating from the University of Oxford with a Master of Science degree in Education and Technology, he has worked with organizations based out of Western Europe, the USA, South Asia, and West Africa. In addition, he has written for outlets like RealClearScience and Too Many Adapters. He aims to use technology to enable greater access to educational opportunities for all. You can find him at his personal website and on Twitter.

 

About the bag

Altus Alejandria 65 Backpack (90 €)
Over the past few years, I have found myself frequently working from different countries around the world. Naturally, you tend to discard all but those few items most useful to you in your day-to-day life when you uproot yourself regularly. Having a backpack like the Altus Alejandria 65 has proven essential in that regard. Originally, I acquired it when I was living in Spain two years back. Since then, it has held up remarkably well throughout my travels.

The bag is actually convertible into two smaller bags. When I first reach a new destination and want to explore the area, I leave the larger portion of the bag behind and take just the smaller backpack with the items I’ll need for the day.

What’s inside the bag

Mi Power Bank: This power bank, which has 20,000 mAh and 18W fast charging, has reliably kept my devices charged for the past year. I have only rarely managed to fully drain it while on the move, despite frequenting places without consistent or reliable electricity.

Zojirushi Stainless Mug: While getting a latte a few years back at the Brussels Airport, I noticed a hurried looking traveller beside me filling up his travel mug with coffee in the airport lounge. I asked him about it, and, despite his rush, he excitedly told me how his Zojirushi mug keeps his drinks steaming hot or ice cold for many hours after filling it up and suggested I get one for myself. After doing a bit of research online to confirm what this kind stranger told me, I bought the same mug over a year and a half ago and still use it nearly everyday.

Towode Fingerprint Lock: Last year, I had a brief period where I was excited to find cool stuff to buy from AliExpress. I came to learn the hard way this site has its own set of pitfalls, from long delays with shipping to products of questionable quality, but in the process I found some neat gadgets. The Towode Fingerprint Lock is one such gadget. With it, I am able to easily turn my luggage into smart luggage or doors with lock hasps into smart doors.

Haylou GT1 Pro: My initial interest in AliExpress was piqued by my desire to try out some wireless headphones. After searching around the web to compare the various options, I happened upon these gems. I had never heard of Haylou before, so I was a bit apprehensive at first. However, as I am not someone to be concerned with brands, the rave reviews these headphones received convinced me to give them a try. I just want quality, and that is something Haylou provides with these TWS Bluetooth 5.0 headphones. Obviously, these are not quite as nice as Apple’s Airpods, but at a mere fraction of the price you get headphones that are nearly as good.

Hk Waist Bag: Never would I have imagined I would own a fanny pack a few years back. In fact, I had nearly forgotten these sorts of bags even existed. However, with the reintroduction of fanny packs into popular culture and their sheer utility when you want to bring your Kindle, passport, wallet, phone, and powerbank with you, but don’t want to lug around a full backpack, I decided to give it a go. I’ve not regretted it yet!

EWA A106 Speaker: Despite its tiny size, this portable Bluetooth speaker packs a punch and comes with a neat carrying case and carabiner you can use to clip them to your bag.

PackTowl Personal: This quick drying, odor-resistant microfiber towel is one of the most massively useful things an international traveller can have. Need I say more?

Kindle Paperwhite: Last but not least, as my longest running travel companion, my Kindle Paperwhite is one thing I cannot go without. Whether it is learning to code through Eloquent JavaScript or philosophy and history with Enlightenment Now, my Paperwhite has proven itself to be my most valuable item for long journeys. With it, I am able to pull up any one of hundreds of books in an instant. In addition, thanks to its use of e-ink technology, the battery is able to last for weeks on a single charge, and the words look as crisp as those on a real book. I use a slightly older generation Paperwhite, but the newest gen includes additional storage and is waterproof to boot.

-- Alexander Caro 10/7/20