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I Love My Xshot Monopod!

I’m really big on photos, and one of the major downsides of traveling abroad solo, is the difficulty in having your photo taken. Whether it be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or the State of Liberty, it’s not easy trying to take a decent ‘selfie’ with the landmark in the background.

During my trip to NYC in January, I decided to purchase a monopod. I’ve seen countless videos online with regular folks obtaining awesome footage or photos with the help of this device. After a bit of research, it appeared as though the most travel friendly monopod for my lifestyle was the Xshot.  It claimed to be small enough to fit inside of my pocket, while having the capability to extend to 30 inches in length!

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I made the order on Amazon.com for approximately $20 USD, and patiently awaited the arrival of my package.  I am happy to report that I am absolutely thrilled with my Xshot! It’s an extremely handy gadget which gives me the an entirely different dimension to my photography. With a proper grip on the handle, blurred images aren’t a factor, and the 10 second timer on my camera is all that’s needed to snap a great selfie.

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I think that all travelers could benefit from purchasing a monopod, whether it’s an Xshot or not, just as long as it’s portable. Families could easily take group shots at various destinations, or even capture of photo of someone sticking their head out of a train window. The possibilities are rather endless! If you have one already, let me know what you think of it!

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I’m Leaving Again!

Delta taking off from St. Maarten, taken during the yacht trip

Aircraft on Final Approach

It’s been confirmed… Next Saturday, I will be boarding a plane to Trinidad and Tobago where I will be living for the next seven months! I’m being sent on an Air Traffic Controller course, so this trip is being taken care of by the government. I’ve never been away from my home for such a long period of time, but I’m quite excited! I’ve been working in the field for 4 years now, and it’s time to take my career a step further!

One thing however, which is causing me a fair amount of stress at the moment, is trying to figure out what to pack! I only intend to leave with one regular sized suit case and a carry on, so minimal packing is key. I have no clue where to start. I leave in just over 6 days from now… Do you see the dilemma?

Have you studied abroad before? This is my first time, so please do share any tips that you may have!

Official Packing List!

After months of careful consideration, I formulated my packing list. Deciding what to take on a month-long trip through 2 different climates was no easy task. At the moment, it’s the monsoon season in Asia, which means that I’ll be roasting in temperatures of up to 33 degrees celsius. Fast forward a little over 2 weeks into my trip, then it’s fall in Europe, with temperatures dropping to 10 degrees celsius in Venice, and even lower in Switzerland.

I wanted a nice combination of casual clothing, but also a dash of fashion for my nights out. After all, I’m on vacation! There was also the Mediterranean cruise to consider, and of course I wouldn’t want to look too out of place onboard. There are formal nights to consider too! That may sound all fine and dandy.. but then there’s a constant reminder that I’m packing really light, so I need to keep my backpack under 15 pounds. Sigh.

So with no more delay…. (drum roll please 😀 ) Here’s my list:

Clothing

2 tank tops, 2 dressy tops, 1 long-sleeved top, 2 tees ( only 1 pictured above)

1 pair of Bermuda shorts, 1 pair of leggings, 1 pair of jeans, 1 mini skirt

1 black tube dress, 1 hot pink dress

1 jacket, 1 hat, 1 purse

1 bikini set

Not pictured: 6 underwear, 3 bras, 2 pairs of socks

Footwear

1 pair of flip-flops, 1 pair of heels, 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of Birkenstocks sandals (here)

Cosmetics

1 solid deodorant, 1 mini lotion, toothpaste & toothbrush, 1 chapstick, contact lens & case, eye drops, 1 small grease

Not pictured (2 of my favorite eye shadows, 1 tube of lip gloss, bar of soap with soap dish, 1 hair brush)

Electronics

My latest toy, Sony Cybershot H55

2 cameras, 1 kindle, 1 blackberry curve, 1 iPod classic (160gb for storage) and chargers

Miscellaneous

1 small umbrella, 1 underwater camera case, 1 kindle light, ear buds, 3 Master locks

Extras

A few other things are on the list, which aren’t pictured above. They include:

1 sleep cap, 1 shower cap, Charmin toilet seat covers (purse pack), band aids, pain killers, 1 wash cloth, 1 sarong, 1 pen, 1 notepad, cash, credit and debit cards.

Documents

1 passport, insurance documents, 1 doctor’s letter with prescriptions, printed flight and hotel reservations, 4 passport photos.

All packed! 1 day and 10 hours left to go! 

My backpack has wheels, so I can roll it along in airports etc, and the small shoulder purse has my documents, kindle and phone.