Tomorrow we leave New York City (specifically Brooklyn, where we live) to embark on our journey. We've spent the last couple weeks packing up and cleaning our apartment so we can rent it out while we're away. As you probably already know, packing sucks! Packing our bags for our journey was another story...for Manor it was easy: he just threw a bunch of shirts and underwear into a bag and called it a day. Of course, I'm simplifying...but that's basically what it looked like to me! For me, on the other hand, it took much, much longer, and was not without a few anguished cries of frustration. For those who don't know me very well, I love clothing and have a lot of it. Narrowing my wardrobe down to a few choice outfits that I will surely wear over and over again in the next six months was extremely difficult for me. Not to mention all the cosmetics, accessories, and shoes I'll need! And squeezing everything I wanted to bring into a large backpack was next to impossible. But it's done now, and for better or worse I've got my bag packed and ready to go.
One thing we did get rather into was buying electronics for our trip. Manor and I spent many hours discussing and researching several practical products to bring with us. In this day and age you can do away with bringing books, CDs (or tapes!), a large bulky camera, film, and heavy laptops. We took advantage of this and bought several new items for this trip that we're super-excited about:
- A Macbook Air. The volunteer-work Manor will be doing in India requires him to have a computer and this baby is currently the lightest, slimmest, smallest guy on the market that still has lots of power and memory. We decided on the 13-inch model and it was pretty much love at first sight.
- The Sony NEX-5 Mirrorless SLR Camera. After lots of research and talking to photog friends, we decided that a mirrorless digital SLR camera was ideal. Mirrorless SLRs use a fairly new technology wherein they have the same size sensor and photo quality as a digital SLR, but do not use mirrors, which is what makes regular SLRs so big, bulky, and heavy. The great thing about mirrorless SLRs is that they can still use interchangeable lenses. We decided on the Sony, even though Sony can be annoying in the way that they make you buy their brand pf everything, down to the SD memory card, because it was the best deal: we got the camera body and two lenses (a pancake 16mm and a 18-64mm zoom), plus a case and memory card for $700. Not bad.
- The Nook Black and White, 2nd Edition. I may have been a bit biased in this decision because I used to work for Barnes & Noble (until a couple weeks ago!) and I got a discount on the Nook. However, I am extremely happy with it--it's so light and small (only 6.5 x 5.0 x 0.47 inches and less than half-a-pound), and easy to use. We've already loaded up lots of books I'm excited to read on the trip (including several very large and long ones that would weigh a ton in their printed form): Tina Fey's Bossypants, Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, and Karl Marlentes' Matterhorn. Not to mention the dozens of free classics available! We also put some guidebooks on there: Lonely Planet's guides to India, Turkey, and Southeast Asia.
- HP Touchpad. This was a bit of an impulse buy. We weren't planning on getting a tablet once we decided on the Macbook Air, but when these babies went on sale for only $99 after not being able to compete with the iPad, Manor ran to Best Buy and grabbed one before they were sold out. We're not in love with it, but it will surely come in handy on long train rides when we don't want to pull out the laptop. Plus, I already downloaded the Scrabble application so I'm good to go.
So now that we've invested all this time and energy into these products, I hope they prove useful on our trip. Tomorrow we takeoff to Israel, our first stop. It's really happening!