12 Minimalist Packing Essentials, Part I: Jackets

OR Aspire Jacket

I’m currently on a 3-month around-the-country (mostly by train) trip, the country being the USA. It seemed like a good time to update my packing list with the twelve items I now consider essential. In Part One I cover items one and two: my waterproof and soft shell jackets.

Why I Loved Beijing

Summer Palace, Beijing

I first heard it when watching In the Footsteps of Marco Polo on PBS, but I’ve heard it repeated numerous times since then: Beijing is cold, unfriendly, faceless.  Go to see the sights, but don’t expect to like it.  Only I really did like it: the city, the people, the food.  In hindsight, I think this is why.

Tips for Living Without Electricity

Gas lines

When Hurricane or “Super Storm” Sandy hit here last autumn, I didn’t have power for eleven days. I was one of the lucky ones, though — I still had my house, a gas-powered stove, and gas-heated water. Here’s what I learned about living without electricity.