essentials of (a long-term) travel bag

Over the past few years, I have spent at least 3 months away from my home base of Houston–from one month to three months at a time. In the past, I have made the mistake of packing too many clothes and not enough self-care essentials. This time, I packed the essentials first and filled the gaps with clothes.

I desire to feel even more alive than the sensation of bitter New York winter on my strategically covered skin.

These things allow me to make any space feels like me:

And the most magnetic blue monkey gift of all, a quartz with tourmaline and chlorite inclusions.

Within 24 hours of arriving, I bought a yoga block, unhomogenized grass-fed local milk (to feed my kefir grains), almond milk, bananas, sprouted pumpkin seeds, Hayden Flour Mill rolled oats, Canaan olive oil (sourced from landrace varietals, organic, and fair trade), Seed+Mill tahini (ground in NY), dried white mulberries, and shared a meal at an Ethiopian restaurant with a friend.

My Danish home 

I’m in love with this city.

I’ve decided the way to travel is to travel to the same places, experiencing them as a new human, learning from the evolution of not only that city, but as being human yourself.

This city, for me, is Copenhagen.

When I first discovered Copenhagen, it was the dead of winter of the year 2010. I had never known a white Christmas. My lovely friend Iris, who any day now will have a baby, taught me what hospitality meant. She welcomed me to her parents home in Jutland for Christmas, and her father could not fathom a visitor without a beer in hand at all times. I can never forget this memory.

Now, on my fourth trip to Copenhagen, it has been decided that I am part Danish, and that this IS my second home. How often do you visit a city where your name is called out while riding a bike? Or that you appear at a wine bar only to be greeted by people you know. Or to be invited into a home to be cooked a meal by Cambodian parents. Or to chase a beer with a negroni. Or to drink milk straight from the holding tank. Or to wear the shoes you left here on your last visit?

Challenge to visit a place more than once. More than twice. More times that you can count. Expand and contract with it. Learn about the people and culture and the people that visit. Be a regular—have a place to call home. The world—it is smaller than we think— it is for exploring deeply the things we do not know (yet).

This time I leave behind one of my first ceramic pots, some hair, some ideas about conserving water on a farm, and promises to be back within a year.

I came to Copenhagen this time to celebrate a 30th birthday and an almost new Danish life. I have yet to decompress from the experiences here, but I know I will never forget it.

I feel so alive.

(This excerpt of my visit was written after cutting my own hair, being a natural chauffeur on a GoBoat, biking with my hair down like I own this town, a natural wine tasting of countless bottles of Danish, French, and American wines, a homemade meal of roasted chicken, risotto of chicken hearts, wheel of cheese, and Danish melon, followed by chasing a beer with a negroni, and biking home under the moonlit Danish summer night.)

forced into meditation

Moved to tears waiting for a subway in a station I used to frequent. Not sure if it was the culmination of events the past week or just that I finally understood again what it meant to live in the present. A well-bearded man filled the air with his powerful voice and brought a flood of emotions to my eyes. I couldn’t decide if these memories came from moments of sadness or happiness. Whatever it was, it stilled the circling air and placed me into a state of meditation. I could hear nothing except the strength in his voice. I didn’t know if I should walk towards the train or prolong this once rare moment.

I didn’t know if I should walk towards the train or prolong this once rare moment.

I was thoughtlessly aware.