Monday, July 28, 2008

REI rocks

Copyright (c) 2006 Wendee Holtcamp
A chubby prairie dog in the National Zoo, Washington DC

The lazy days of summer are here, I'm getting into a routine that is nice. The nice thing is that it changes daily but it involves working on my laptop outdoors in the mornings when it's cooler, heading to the gym at some point during the day often with a friend - whether doing weights and bicycle or treadmill or that kick-your-ass stepmill, and sometime pilates. Then the steam room - ahhhh. Sometimes I go walking in the evenings, with Amy or others who join in. And then I work some more, researching articles, interviewing people and sometimes writing. Writing is the killer part!

Now that I've gotten into a sort of routine, even if it does change daily, it's time to mix it up! And none too soon, there's just a week before I leave for Australia!! Holy moly mackeroli, I'm so excited, I can not wait. I'm due for another adventure and need some time with friends. Actually I plan to really focus on my book while I'm overseas. I am making some small, slow progress in the book front, but it's not near as much as I'd like. One word of wisdom I've learned long ago and need to heed -everything takes longer than you expect!

Am I the only one that must start packing like a week ahead of time? If I don't, I inevitably forget something. But if I have that suitcase out and start tossing in things I know I'll need, things that I don't use every day (like my SCUBA mask, or my US-Australia electrical converter) than I don't forget them! Actually I'm not sure if I'm going to dive this trip but I might snorkel at Mission Beach. And I bought a killer Mask when I was there before! You can actually see it in the post a few below... it's all clear, and has a big glass viewer (whatever the heck it's called). Lots of room to view the kaleidoscope of colors undersea.

Oh, I bought a new rolling duffel at REI. I LOVE that freaking store! Some people haven't even HEARD of it which shocks me but man it rocks. It stands for Recreational Equipment Inc and they have this membership thing that's only $20 for a lifetime and you get 10% dividend paid back to you at year's end - off every single purchase (not sale items though, I think). But the best part of all is that anything you buy at that store ever for any reason, any length of time after your purchase, you can take back and return even without a receipt (well if you're a member they have a record of every purchase) and they'll give a full cash refund or a store exchange. I've taken back pants I just decided I didn't like the way they fit after wearing them in the rainforests of Peru and a year later. I bought a North Face backpack once and then decided it was sort of scratchy on my shoulders so took it back and exchanged it for this totally amazing Osprey pack that is made from recycled materials!! And the cool thing, nothing is wasted. Four times a year they have a "garage sale" selling all that used stuff!!

So, I have a lot of trouble with luggage breaking. I have awful awful luck in that department. I'm telling ya, every single piece of luggage I've bought in the past 3 years has broken. Yes I travel a lot but sheesh, luggage is supposed to be MADE to travel with! One time the whole plastic frame just got crushed. Usually the seams just bust (am I guilty of overstuffing??). I usually get moderately priced stuff at like TJ Maxx or Marshalls and even though it may still be under warranty you have to mail the darn thing back. Like who the heck is going to pay $40 in shipping for a piece of luggage that is only worth as much? So I decided THIS time I am going to buy a luggage at REI! That way if anything ever happens to it, I can return it no questions asked! Hallelujah! So I got this rocking brick red rolling duffel and I love it! It has all these compartments and it is just really cool. We'll see how it works for me in the land down under.


Janet N said...

It's nice to hear of someone else has packing issues. Mine is that small roller is not quite big enough and larger one is hard to keep under 50#. I've been looking at roller duffels, and will wait on your evaluation. Have fun!

Unknown said...

Oh I can pack with the best of em! I had this small rolling duffel I brought to the Galapagos and I was amazed how much stuff I stuffed in there!! Rolling up tshirts etc. But hey it did bust at the seams too... so maybe it's not such a good idea. I'm a little worried about those packing restrictions too but I have a big carryon rolling thing that I put a lot in too. Only the LA airport gives a hoot about the carryon weight- every other airport never pays any attention!