I wanted to somehow blog about the New Year. At first, I thought I’d rip into Donald Trump and what a damn disaster 2016 was. Seriously, this past year has been the mouth of a meth addict. By December, no one could face it.

But it’s a fresh day, in a fresh year and I thought, “Nah. Be positive.”

I’m here to discuss stuff. Actual stuff, not theoretical stuff. Stuff with glitter and stuff with purpose. Bags and dresses, technology and gear.

Travel got me through 2016, and there are several items that got me through that travel, from fun beach moments to never-ending layovers.

Here’s a rundown of what I never leave home without … and a few items I plan to dig up couch change in order to purchase in 2017.

I’d never leave home without …

Sea-to-Summit brand Compression Sacks and Dry Sacks 

  • You can find them at any outdoors store or online. Your clothes go from this to this and look great in your disembodied hand! Dry Sacks are much thicker, heavier and sturdier and you can throw those suckers in the ocean with all your stuff in them. If you a photographer, they save your life in a rainstorm.

The Thule Perspektiv Daypack 

  • Holy shit. This this is everything I need in a photography/travel daypack. The camera and lens cushioning dividers inside use velcro, so you can remove or customize them. It’s waterproof. Here’s what fits in it all at once: A Nikon 750 camera with a 24-120 lens, another 60mm macro lens, two portable hard drives, a 13-inch Macbook Pro and charger, a pair of sneakers (Seriously!), two t-shirts, a polarizing filter, my wallet, my sunglasses, my favorite hat, my Kindle, Orange TicTacs (essential for fighting Scurvy), and a full-sized tripod. This girl below seems to like petting rocks with hers on. I usually just throw it into the overhead, sit down and signal the stewardess for wine.

 

Dresses from The Reformation

  • I’ve begun cultivating a travel wardrobe. I am so sick of watching grown-ass women in the airport in sweatpants with Juicy Couture written on the ass. It’s not Couture, Nebraska. It’s velour. I have no end of annoyance for airport slobbery. You need to put on proper pants. Anyways, I’ve been packing for my long trips the way I might pack for a quick, upscale vacation. The Reformation is my absolute favorite for travel. They focus on sustainable fashion, but that’s not the main reason I love them. I love the loud prints in super light linens and silk that pack down to nothing. I like the prices ($95 – $250 for a dress), and I love their hilarious marketing in emails. Plus, at the end of the year, they let you know how much water and energy you saved. I saved 78 gallons! Also, I bought this dress.

New Wash Shampoo from Hairstory

I was reading all about this $40 shampoo/conditioner the other day on Refinery29. And, then, I bought it. The next day, I thought, “You are such an fool. This isn’t going make your hair amazing.”

It arrived. I used it. Low and behold … my hair feels amazing. It’s behaving better than it ever has before. I’m going to buy more. I like this stuff a lot.

Moisturizing Face Sprays

  • I like spraying my face. On planes, I really like it. At home, I sometimes run into the room where my boyfriend is working and I yell, “Whole new moment happening!” And then I spray him in the face. Because that’s what it feels like. It’s a whole, new, refreshing moment. I used to use Burt’s Bees face spray. Then I found Kiehl’s In-Flight Face Spray with cactus and rosemary. It’s like a tiny shower when you are hating the whole known universe around hour 11 in seat D38. When I use it, I’m like this …

and also like this …

My MacBook Pro, My Kindle Paperwhite … And My Narwhal

  • Finally, it has to be mentioned I have three, absolute essentials to leaving home. The MacBook Pro 13-inch is the ultimate travel computer. I can’t believe people still use other laptops. I just can’t understand it.

  • The Paperwhite is less than $100, weighs nothing, has a charge that lasts 3 weeks and in seconds, you can have any book in the world. Because of it, I read all the time now. It’s great on a beach or in a dark room. I can see the screen in any light without hurting my eyeballs. I’m also never stuck in Borneo with nothing to read. Oh, and cats apparently approve.

  • You are never too old to have toys. My favorite is a finger-puppet rubber Narwhal I got in New Orleans. Over the last year, he’s been to nearly 15 countries with me. Here he is in Cambodia, in Thailand, in South Korea, in my parent’s Christmas tree in Alabama and having puppet sex with a duck in a bar in Hong Kong.

Now, the things I’m drooling over in 2017 are …

Away Luggage

The Blu Turbo Mini Hairdryer

  • I don’t pack hairdryers because I stay in hotels nice enough to stock them. However … this thing is the size of an iPhone?! Might have to happen just for the sake of cuteness.

The Misfit Ray Fitness Band

  • Finally someone made a fitness tracker that looks smokin’ hot. I don’t want to run around at night in heels and jewelry with an ugly, clunky, neon rubber watch. Misfit comes in a number of finishes, has a battery life of six months without any recharging, and it’s waterproof up to 150 feet.

Golden Goose Deluxe Brand Sneakers

  • THERE ARE SPARKLES ON THE SNEAKERS AND THEY HAVE ZIPPERS FOR TAKING THEM OFF EASILY IN THE TSA LINE! Ahem. Sorry. Let’s call this last one a childishly pricey, definitely-do-not-need but absolutely-want type purchase that will both make me feel like a superhero and homeless-level of broke at the same time. Happy New Year, y’all. Let’s hope 2017 looks more like these sneakers and less like the 15th chapter of a Stephen King novel.

Jenny Adams is a freelance travel writer, author and photographer.
She currently contributes to a number of publications, including National Geographic Traveler, Hemispheres, American Way and Imbibe.

She’s the former Bar Columnist for the Miami Herald, the current Copy Editor at Robb Vices and is also wrestling a half-written novel, set in New Orleans.

Jenny’s got an knack for getting lost, an addiction to full-fat cream cheese, and a deep and abiding love for every Water Buffalo she’s ever seen.
Her bookshelf is mainly Tom Robbins, her favorite word is ‘visceral,’ and you can find out more about her at www.jennyadamsfreelance.com.

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