Tag Archives: urban exploration

3 Ways to Pack Your Tom Bihn Synapse 19

in-the-metro

As you may have guessed from previous posts (like this one and this one), I’m low-key obsessed with my Tom Bihn backpack. I could regale you for hours with info about all it’s features. It is just so. dang. packable. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding…

So, instead of tell you about all the versatile pockets and roomy compartments, I’m gonna walk you through a few of my favorite ways to pack the Tom Bihn Synapse 19.

how-to-pack-tom-bihn-synapse-19

The Pockets:

1. Main Compartment

2. Shallow Center Pocket

3. Deep Center Pocket 

4. Left Pocket

5. Right Pocket

6. Bottom Compartment

For 1 Bag Air Travel:

1. You’ll be amazed at how many clothes will fit in the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 with the help of a packing cube (or two). The double-sided packing cubes are genius if you want to keep your clothes organized (think: tops on one side / bottoms on the other OR day clothes on one side / loungewear on the other) or separate dirty and clean.

Your laptop or tablet will fit comfortably in this compartment as well.

2. This is the perfect space for all the small bits you may need readily available while up in the air. Tuck in your earbuds, your favorite lip balm, and a snack.

3. Slide your toiletry bag down in this front pocket and you’ll have no qualms about pulling it out when you go through TSA. This one from Tom Bihn has clear sides and was designed as a 3-1-1 toiletries bag for air travel. There’s plenty of room inside for all your essentials.

4. This side pocket has a space for your writing implements so you might want to tuck in a little notebook as well. It’s also a great place to stow a small flashlight, your sunglasses, and a collapsible bag.

5. Think of this as your electronics pocket! There’s plenty of room for a camera and there’s an additional pocket along the lining that’s perfectly sized for a phone. Clip a clear organizer pouch to the O-ring inside and fill it with your various chargers. No need to frantically search for cables that have made their way to the bottom of your bag!

6. Finally, the bottom compartment will hold a pair of sandals or flat shoes, a pashmina to keep you cozy when the plane gets cold, and a collapsible poncho if you’re headed to a rainy climate.

For Working On-the-Go:

1. As this is the largest compartment, this is where your bulkiest items will go. If you’re working on-the-go this probably means your laptop as well as any notebooks, folders, and books you may need.

2. Slip in a pair of earbuds that will cancel out any annoying noises you may encounter. You could also keep a stockpile of business cards tucked in a fancy holder.

3. Amazingly enough, this pocket was designed by the folks at Tom Bihn as the perfect place to hold a water bottle. This is great for keeping weight distribution even and totally cuts down on spills. You could go with a classic or class it up.

4. Store your pens, memory cards, and a wireless mouse in this convenient side pocket.

5. The other side is perfect for all your chargers. Again – one of the clear organizer pouches would be perfect for corralling them all. And don’t forget to throw in a snack bar or two! It’s hard to work when  you’re hungry!

6. Finally, the bottom compartment is a convenient location for your wallet. And it’s wide enough that it will accommodate a billfold style design. Don’t need that much space for your wallet? This is a great place to store an umbrella, as well!

For Having Outdoor Adventures:

1. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just urban exploring; you’ll want to have a few essentials in your Tom Bihn Synapse 19! The main compartment is a great place to store an extra layer of clothing, in case it gets cold, and any equipment you may need to bring along. (Think: camera or video gear, tools, DRONES!)

2. Safety first! Don’t forget to bring a small first aid kit. Buy one or make your own out of an Altoid can. Making your own allows you to really customize the contents for your particular adventure.

3. Again, the Deep Center Pocket is the perfect place for your water bottle. Toss in a bandana, too. They have SO MANY uses. (Here are 25.)

4. This is a great place to keep sunscreen and bug spray close at hand. You might also want to toss in a multi-tool or your eating utensils. Spork? Chopsticks? 3-piece cutlery? Your choice.

5. If you’re venturing away from civilization, it may behoove you to reserve this pocket for “I can pee anywhere!” materials. Think: tissues, wet-wipes, anti-bac, etc. Of course, these could come in handy for other purposes, too!

6. Finally, pack a lunch! This bottom compartment will ensure your sandwich won’t get squished amidst all your other equipment and it’s spacious enough to accommodate an adventurer’s appetite! The menu, of course, is up to you.

Where would you take your Tom Bihn backpack? Do you have a favorite travel accessory you recommend to anyone who will listen? Tell me about it below! 

P.S. A Tom Bihn-accompanied trip — Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette, LA

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A Fun Afternoon Adventure: Pokemon Hunting!

pokemonbeth

A few days ago, Chet and I drove over to Florida International University to catch some Pokemon. The campus is HUGE, and lucky for us, full to bursting with little poke-critters just looking to be nabbed. Although everyone and their mother has hopped on the Pokemon GO trend, I thought I’d offer my two cents. This app acts as a remarkable catalyst for adventure (urban OR natural), conversation,  and healthy habits.

It struck me, as we walked around FIU for hours in the mid-day sun, how encouraging it was to see so many families with young children out looking for Pokemon amidst the engineering buildings and law libraries. Maybe, like us, these families had some connection to the university. But maybe not. Maybe they live nearby and noticed the plethora of poke-dex filling creatures up for grabs. Maybe their kids have never stepped foot on a university campus before. Perhaps, their surroundings will ignite something in their trajectory and years later they’ll return as a student. Who knows!

pokemonchet

The same can be said for all the parks and businesses and churches and organizations that are no doubt being newly discovered. You can’t come back to a place you never knew existed. (Case in point – There’s a sushi place near us with a Pokemon gym and HI< HELLO they have the best bento box lunch specials so yep, see ya soon.)

Anyways…If a free app can incite curiosity and new experiences then of course I’m all for it. If a feature on your phone motivates  you to have real life conversations then what a change of pace. If playing a video game gets you to go outside and explore your environment then play on!

This is all to say, if you’re looking for a super budget-friendly afternoon date or family outing, I highly recommend heading out on a hunt.

Have you been playing Pokemon GO? Discovered any new-to-you places along the way? Let me know!

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mid-week round-up

yellow flowers

What are y’all up to this week? We scooped up our dear friends Carrie and Ganer from the airport yesterday evening and are so excited to have them staying with us for the rest of the week! I really hope the weather holds so we can show off the finer points of Miami (read: beach, pools, tropical gardens). Either way, I know anything we do will be ten times more fun with those two in tow! Hope you have a great week, and here are some links for your enjoyment…

How fun would it be to go on vacations in this tiny camper?

I’d love to take The Productivity Planner for a test drive.

Can you pass the Southern Slang Challenge?

Jamie Oliver’s 10 Food Revolution recipes.

A fine-dining empire in the wild, wild west.

Bourbon has feminine roots but is still considered a man’s industry.

How Blac Chyna beat the Kardashians at their own game.

A false bottom in a mug held a Holocaust victim’s treasure for more than 70 years.

Men are sabotaging  online reviews of TV shows aimed at women.

The secret poems found on Boston’s streets.

A female chief breaks up 850 child marriages in Malawi.

Compete. Empower.

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Postcards from Louisiana

Hello loves! If I could send each and every one of you a personalized postcard from down here in Cajun Country, these are the images I’d want included on the front–drooping Spanish moss soaked in sunshine, boats painted and faded into my favorite hues, cheeky lizards, and the spoils of exploring tucked away gems of this culturally rich city. On the back, I’d tell you about stuffing myself with hole-in-the wall plate lunches and the thirty-some mosquito bites I’m newly sporting from hiking through the forested wetland. Hope you all are well!

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Bluegrass Stay-cation, Pt. 2

Easter Sunday Chet and I set out on an all-day adventure in my neighborhood and finished the holiday with an Easter feast. You may be picking up on a pattern…one of my favorite budget-friendly activities is just walking around a given area. Stop where you want, eat what strikes your fancy, take pictures, enjoy the weather and the scenery–it’s as easy as that. You know that awesome feeling you get after you get home from a day at the beach? You’re all sunshine tired and bursting with happy endorphins, exhausted but alert, and food tastes amazing? Yeah, you can totally get that feeling not at the beach. Just go outside and explore your neighborhood! Here’s how we got it…

We needed fuel in the form of eggs in a basket brunch (Wink was photo-bombing the shoot)…

winkandbrunch

eggsinabasket

…”Ashland” Estate is gorgeous and just a few blocks walk–historic buildings, gardens and lovely paths abound…

ashland

ashlandselfie

branches   waterspoutgame

gardenerscottage tree

…the blocks surrounding Ashland are great for ambling–we stop for pretty trees…

treeselfie

…stumbled upon a renovation of a home on the Historic Register and we found our way inside…

homereno

door

house1 house2

…love these blurry pictures because we look like ghosts…

ghosts1       ghosts2

…how perfect is this scenery?…

walking

…after a trip to Starbucks for iced coffee and banana bread, stop and smell the tulips…

tulips1   tulips2

…soaking up the last of the sunlight before a delicious Easter dinner, including a rhubarb pie made by the master baker you see below. ; )

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Thanks for tagging along! Now go on a quest of your own and get cray sunshine tired…it’s totes worth it. ❤ 

Bluegrass Stay-cation, Pt. 1

Last week was full of all sorts of adventures in the Bluegrass! Chet came up for his spring break and I took some much needed time off work. I tried to plan a nice balance of fun, budget-friendly activities as well as plenty of chill time. (We plowed through all of True Detective like champs for the majority of the chill time.) Here are some snaps from our Saturday, if you’d like to see…

We started off the morning picking up some ingredients at the Farmers Market…

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…explored downtown and popped into some shops…

housestars chalkboardcorner

thetwins winewall

…drove to Leestown Rd. for Pops Resale (record store day) and all the goodies in that strip mall–used book store, toy store, and this giant gem…

antiquemall

…got lost in the labyrinth within and found lots of scary “deals”…

doll     clown     potchair

…cooked a delicious all-local meal consisting of: bread and cheese, pork chops, green beans and new potatoes…

cookin

Perfect sunny day! ❤

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Do you ever staycation in your own city? Exploring with someone from out of town is a great way to see stuff you wouldn’t otherwise bother checking out! I hope these series of posts can give you  ideas or inspiration for adventures in your own backyard. Just in time for Summer!     

Hobbies on the cheap: Urban Exploration

As I’ve gotten older, I have found, I’m always on the hunt for cheap hobbies. I think it has something to do with committing so much of my free time to extracurriculars from about age 3 to 23. And now that I’m a (boring) old adult who works 40 hours a week, I don’t want to spend the other 128 hours watching TV, hitting up the occasional happy hour and cleaning my apartment. I want to find new and exciting things to do without draining my bank account of the money I earned during the 40 workin’ hours. It’s a delicate balance.

So, let’s start with something that can range from thrilling to educational at a cost of ZERO dollars. Urban exploration is all about exploring your city and surroundings, seeking out it’s oddities and unique infrastructure. While I can’t condone any law breaking for the sake of a new hobby, any sort of exploration–even legal exploration–can be exhilarating. I’ve always loved going places that feel off limits or hidden to see things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. I climbed up the belltower of a church the hour before my confirmation. I’ve been in all sorts of nooks and crannies on my college’s campus (and a lot of other college campuses too). I love checking to see if doors are locked and if they’re not, curiosity just gets the better of me! Perhaps I read too much as a child? jk no such thing. Perhaps, at nearly 30, my imagination is still too active? also no such thing.

Now that the weather has warmed up, I have my eye on a few places I’d like to explore! Setting out on an evening walk can take on a whole new level of excitement if you commit to making it an urban exploration adventure–veer off the path, stop for things that strike your eye, look for clues, read signs and historical markers, do research, Nancy Drew the shit out of your town! Take pictures or don’t. Bring a friend or don’t. Just keep your eyes open to the wonders around you.

For some added inspiration, check out the video below! If you don’t have half an hour to commit to watching something right now I HIGHLY recommend you come back to this page when you do…I promise this short docu, called “UNDERCITY”, is worth it. It follows Steve Duncan on a few urban exploration missions in New York City. All his emotions; fear, exhilaration, nerves, EVERYTHING–are just so palpable. You just have to watch it for yourself! What a rush!

Where would you love to explore this Spring? For the next month, I’m gonna make it my mission to hunt down some cool stuff that has otherwise been tucked away. And to hold myself accountable with this new hobby (I told you I spent a lot of time in extracurriculars…I need structure! lol) I’m going to document some of my findings on Instagram with the hashtag #urbanexploration. If you’d like to play along, let us know how to follow YOU on Instagram in the comments below. Happy hunting!