I’d really like to have a nice map of our travels, but this has proved more challenging than I’d like. Maybe I’m missing something obvious?

I did find a little map creation program called GoProTravelling that allows me to list the places we’ve been and the dates and transportation types. It then makes a map that I can embed. So I’ve stuck it on a ‘Map’ page in the navigation bar above.

I can’t say I’m super thrilled with the output. It can be quite slow to load. And I don’t have much control over any of the imagery.

It does, however, offer a mildly entertaining little animation. This shows our journey with a little airplane when we’ve flown and a little car for everything else. It can also display some other animations for walking and bicycling. It’s a bit disappointing that I’m stuck with the car for our long train trips, but what the heck.

If anyone has tips to offer on better, but not overly burdensome, ways to construct a decent travel map, please pass them on!

A few weeks before we started this, Mark & I were in Paris. We’d planned it before we started planning this, and just decided we’d do it anyway just because … it’s Paris.

My murse, with the iPad mini

My murse, with the iPad mini

We go into a moderately priced clothing store we’ve been to before and Mark finds a purse. A man purse. My immediate reaction was to joke about it, but then I took a look. Maybe that would be a good substitute for carrying around a full knapsack, I thought. It seemed too good to be true – just the right size to carry both my iPad Mini and my Kindle. Plus room for some extra stuff. On a whim, I bought it. The worst that could happen is that I’d be out $25 or something.

Oh my god, it’s transformed my life. It’s perfect. I carry my iPad and Kindle everywhere. Plus there’s room for extra stuff – sunglasses if I think I’ll need them, chapstick just in case, dental floss, a small container of Purell. Even a small zippered compartment for my iPhone and small camera. How could I have lived all these years without a purse? Why didn’t the women tell us about this thing before?

Mark's Mao Murse

Mark’s Mao Murse

Well, it turns out the Chinese were way ahead of us; all sorts of guys there were carrying man purses (or murses, if you prefer). And sure enough, walking down the streets of Beijing Mark saw his ideal murse. When the cute little sales girl said in her cute little Chinese accent “Chai’man Mao – it’s cuute!”, he was sold.

So there you are. We now walk the streets of strange cities with two purses.  Guys, suck it up and get yourself a purse. You’ll thank me for years to come.


A Cube, with all my sweaters and long-sleeved shirts

One more tip if you’re traveling. Buy the cubes. We discovered these Eagle Creek packing cubes – thin, lightweight nylon bags – before we left Boston and bought a couple. They come in full, half, and quarter sizes so you can store t-shirts in one, pants in another, socks or underwear in yet another. When we discovered just how easy they made packing and unpacking, we did some online research to figure out how to buy more of them in Beijing. So we took the subway out to a mall – us, a mall – and cleaned them out; bought every full-sized cube they had.

Be forewarned: if you’re coming to visit us somewhere, we’ll probably ask you to bring cubes!