Life update, or something


I’m currently writing from my bed back in Davidson with my new bunny love Winnie on my lap.

Today has been spent packing, reading, and preparing for yet another summer in Asia. When asked why I keep going back there, all I can think of is this — I’m seriously hooked on the continent. I have been entirely in love with the continent since I was seventeen and I cannot imagine my life today without that early introduction.

Already, I can feel that this summer will be incredibly different and yet, somewhat familiar. Packing for several months abroad is far more enjoyable than daunting these days and the only thing I really dread is lugging all my camera gear around with me everywhere I go.

One of the main reasons this summer will be different is because of all that is going on in the two places I plan to spent my time  – Thailand and Burma. I somehow managed to book a flight the same day a coup started in Thailand and while I am a little worried that it will alter my plans, I know that this experience will be unforgettable and I feel ready for most anything.

I head out on Wednesday and am terribly excited to spend time with Amirah before heading to Thailand.

The past few weeks have been incredibly rewarding and I am so thankful for all the work I have been able to accomplish and take part in (including an amazing experience at CPJW in Eastern, NC just a week ago! *More on this coming soon!).

I cannot seem to wrap my head around the idea that it has been a year since last summer’s adventures. This time last year, I was in Rishikesh at an ashram and spending a good deal of time in silence.

Lessons Learned | What to pack







This week, I’m packing a backpack again!

But, this time, I’m going some place new for me  –>


I’m by far no expert on packing, but I have packed a bag a good number of times and have learned a thing or two along the way. After my year off, I definitely learned a good deal (*thanks to having to pack for extremes – blizzards in the high Himalayas and a summer in India) and have a general idea of how to pull things together and make it work. Plus, a lot of friends often ask about the great packing dilemma!

So. . .

What to pack:

(*Note: Recently I’ve been spending most of my time in warmer climates, in particular Asia, but this is a list of things that can be handy most anywhere. Also, if you are traveling less than a month, consider making do with less, much, much less. You’ll be surprised just how little you can live without! ALSO, remember, traveling can be rough on everything including your body, so travel with things you like but never what you LOVE and cannot live without, because it is almost guaranteed to get lost//stolen//broken//etc. You can always find things you need, yes, even if you are in the middle of what seems like nowhere. Often nowhere is someone else’s somewhere and you’ll make it work. I promise you that!)

+ + +

+ One fabulous backpack and daypack (REI, you rock! My REI-brand men’s pack comes with a removable daypack! Brilliant)

+ One hat (Who needs showers)

+ One sarong// lungi// or large scarf (because it becomes your everything from a scarf, a towel, a blanket, a yoga mat, a skirt, a dress, etc. )

+ One hammock (because nothing is better and they can also serve as a bed *depending on the circumstances)

+ One pair of waterproof shoes (J’adore my $1 rubber flats from Indonesia b/c they’re light and flexible, but I also often travel with my old, ugly, though trusty Chacos too)

+ One pair of running shoes or hiking shoes (Few shoes beat Salomon trail running shoes)

+ One water bottle (and water purification tablets or drops)

+ One watch

+ One film camera and film (*If you’re in to that sort of thing)

+ Camera. Batteries. Lenses. More memory cards than you think you need. Cleaning cloths. Filters. Audio equipment. ETC. (*If you’re a photographer, you know what you need AND a good way to transport everything! I use a Lowepro bag and it’s great, although a little too big for a bus or train! Cameras are always the best and worst part of the experience!)

+ Sunglasses (I travel with two pairs generally b/c they also get lost//stolen//broken AND b/c you can quickly change your look without taking up much space in your pack)

+ Good books (I find the book question the hardest. When I started traveling this past summer, I had nine books in my bag. And read twice that. One great thing about travel, especially if you are ever following the tourist trail is that there are always bookstores. Often these bookstores understand your dilemma and offer to sell and exchange your books. It really is a fantastic system. Maybe one of these days I’ll buy a Kindle, but for now, I love having a collection of books on hand)

+ One travel yoga mat (I believe that this travel mat is one of my best friends in life. It is the inspiration for my practice on the road and I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times it has served as far more than a mat – it is as a great bed, a train seat cover, a cushion on the floor, etc.)

+ A Diva Cup (Because! *That is, if you are in need of something like this)

+ A small, fold-able world map . . . or blow up globes (*it will come in hand. promise).

+ A laptop (*if away for more than a two months. once again though, it’s all up to you. Wifi exists in strange places. But if not, there are often friends or internet cafes not too far within your reach)

+ Journals (Nothing beats a stack of blank white-paged Moleskines)

+ Good pens and pencils

+ Travel paint palette (*if you’re into that sort of thing)

+ Black clothes. Especially black leggins (*Mine got stolen early on in the journey this summer and I missed them terribly).

+ Clothing you like, that is mulch-functional and only a few white things (*White will not stay white. Ever).

+ Scarves

+ Travel speakers (*a great way to make friends)

+ An ipod (*full of your power songs//meditation songs)

+ A multifunctional power adapter

+ A pocket knife (*hungry? need to defend yourself on a train in India? You never know)

+ A short length of durable rope (*Clothesline//safety//tying your bag to the top of jeeps//etc)

+ A small sewing kit

+ A pack towel

+ Medicines you might need or want (*Eye drops are always good to have, as well as allergy medicine)

+ Candied ginger (*Amazing for upset stomachs)

+ Snacks

+ + +

Most everything else you can get, find, or make!


And get out there!

[Photos: Travels through Bali, 2012//Grace Farson]

The art of moving


I haven’t quite mastered the art of moving. I leave and go back to Carrboro life today. The car is somewhat packed and I honestly believe it is the worst packing job I have ever done in my life.

I’m just fed up with packing, with moving, and with going. I know within a week of being settled again, I will want to go all over again, but for now, I’m really excited to stay put for a bit. . .

[Photo: Abandoned place in Chapel Hill//Grace Farson]

my favorite things – patterned fabric

introducing a new feature today to this blog  – my favorite things

every once in a while i’m going to highlight a few of my favorite things in this world with either photos or stories or something along those lines. . .

this week, it’s my love for patterned fabrics.

ever since i was a little kid, i have been a sucker for pattern. i still dream of working in the textile industry and one day creating my own. . . but for now, i can only appreciate the beauty of the ones already created.

i think one of the reasons i am so attracted to regions of the world like india and nepal is because of the fabrics you see every second of everyday. life revolves around color, pattern, and texture there.

. . .

“what do i make of all this texture? what does it mean about the kind of world in which i have been set down? the texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is the possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call i do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit i seek.”

– annie dillard

. . .

friends often ask me how/what i pack when i go places, but to be perfectly honest, i’m not the best at packing. i love it, yes, but am i good at it? nah. . . not really.  i over-pack like a person who has never traveled before. i still bring too much stuff with me, but i have learned some things a long the way. . . take, for example, the wonderful sarong/pagne/lungi/whatever you want to call it, pictured in all the images above. this lovely bolt of fabric was a gift to my sister abby’s from her friend catherine. i fell in love instantly with this patterned piece from benin and . . . uh. . . i sorta took it. . . it was the best thing i brought with me while backpacking through europe.

there are endless possibilities and that’s one of the things i admire most about this light weight, rectangular fabric. it serves as a:

1.) a skirt . . . short or long . . . {*see first image. this was taken varanasi. i think that chai in terracotta cups on the ganges river should also be added to my favorite things list too. . . that, or, irish chai. either one. . .}

2.) a scarf {*second image. this one was taken on a trek in nepal. you might need to click the picture and see the image  closer up to actually see the scarf. i just couldn’t bear to crop out the mountains in the image. they look a whole lot better than me! himalayas – another things to add to my favorite things list}

3.) multiple different dresses {*third image. a belted dress on a boat in pokhara, nepal. i don’t remember what i was laughing about in this pic, but i found it the other day and it made me smile. i wish i remembered what it was. . . another sarong/dress/ bathing suit cover-up here}

4.) a towel {basically, it’s the only thing you need with you when you travel}

. . .

+ my what i wore wednesday post coming soon

+ nothing quite like dancing in the fleet foxes’ “liquid laser” show last night.  it was incredible. cold, crazy rain, lightning, thunder + fleet foxes + skipping with hipsters = happy grace. i honestly don’t know if i have ever been more soaked. i was real smart and went to an outdoor concert without a raincoat!{*sad the concert ended early b/c the rain damaged the equipment and the show ended early}. the walkmen were also great live {plus, the walkmen video was filmed in nepal! looks like mustang}.

+ astro homework, here i come! {oohh. also, want to see something crazy? check this out! or any of these from this gallery. ssro uses the same telescopes unc uses in the chilean andes. cool? i can’t get over them!}