What's in My Bag

What’s in my NOW? — Nabhan Islam

Issue #148

Nabhan Islam is a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) in the biopharmaceutical industry. When not behind his desk or traveling for conferences, you will find him hiking or visiting UNESCO sites according to a well-defined bucket list. His other interests include good design, ultralight gear, coffee, gin, sci-fi, video games, and cycling.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hoody
Years later, I’m still amazed by the performance and versatility offered by my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hoody. It offers enough warmth for a windy summit bid, making coffee on a crisp morning, or stargazing at 1am, but isn’t heavy, bulky, or restrictive. The wispy shell fabric is windproof and none the worse for wear despite carrying firewood and the occasional bushwhack. The warranty is solid too. The insert pin sheared off during my last hike, and Mountain Hardwear replaced the entire zipper free of charge. This is one of the first items I pack for any 3-season hike and I can’t imagine my outdoor life without it. Just an amazing piece of kit.

BiKASE Bottle Cage
I’m particularly adverse to the plasticky taste imparted by LDPE, but non-cycling water bottles don’t fit well in standard bottle cages. It was a ridiculous catch-22 situation until I discovered the BiKASE ABC bottle cage. ABC stands for Any Bottle Cage, which is made possible by an adjustable retention strap. Now I’m able to use my bottle of choice, a 710mL Nalgene with a capCAP. According to the specs, you can fit up to a 1L Nalgene or similar bottles from Hydro Flask, Yeti, etc. I have noticed the ratcheting mechanism has scratched my Tritan-based Nalgene, which doesn’t bother me, but it’s worth noting if you want to keep your bottle in pristine condition.

LG Portable Air Conditioner
The increasing frequency and severity of heat waves in North America has sharply demonstrated how important home A/C is going to be to our physical well-being for the foreseeable future. What makes this model unique is the use of a variable-speed compressor, which adjusts performance based on the ambient temperature. As a result, the compressor can run continuously (no more on-off cycling), and is much quieter and energy efficient than a standard A/C. Compared to baseline use, running the A/C all day during this summer’s heat waves (approximately 1 week/month) only incurred an extra $10/month in electricity (YMMV). Highly recommended.

SiriusXM subscription
My car includes a complementary SiriusXM subscription, but I didn’t really explore the channels until this summer while on road trips in areas without cellphone or FM reception. In addition to the refreshing lack of commercials, I truly enjoyed (re)discovering music from my grade school and university days, some of which I haven’t heard in years or even decades. There will still be a place in my heart for FM radio and iTunes (namely areas without satellite reception, go figure) but I’m definitely hooked.

MSL Talk Podcast
This podcast is directly relevant to my line of work but likely quite esoteric to the general public. Nonetheless, you may find some topics relatable to other areas of the pharmaceutical industry or working for a large corporation in general. Tom has a pleasant personality and each episode is usually 30-40 minutes so it’s an easy listen during a commute or workout. Suggested episodes are #124 (story telling), #117 (core values), #95 (emotional intelligence), #93 (strengths-based psychology), and #80 (gratitude). Disclaimer: I have been a guest on the podcast but did not/do not receive any remuneration for my time or content.

Expanding on “Thank you”
Severe weather events, COVID-19, mass shootings, political acrimony, ongoing wars, the plight of refugees, inflation… the last few years have been arduous for everyone. I need to thank my friends, family, co-workers, and front-line workers more often for helping to shoulder the burden of life in this new normal. It’s amazing how expanding a rote “thank you” to “that was very helpful, thank you for your advice” or “thank you for helping, I really appreciate your effort” can really brighten someone’s day and in turn improves your mood. Try it!

What’s in your NOW?

We want to know what’s in your now — a list of 6 things that are significant to you now — 3 physical, 2 digital and 1 invisible. 

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