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  1. #1
    Forum Member nsh's Avatar
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    5 days in Amman for refugee work

    I am traveling to Amman, Jordan for 5 days total (including travel) in early spring to advise on policy and strategies for helping/empowering refugees given the huge budget shortfalls facing the UNRWA since Trump ended all funding for the organization on August 31, 2018. [Of note, since its inception in 1949, UNRWA has received unequivocal bipartisan presidential support so this is a huge unprecedented crisis of catastrophic proportions for UNRWA’s refugees in Amman, Jordan, Syria, and the OT.] This isn’t my first rodeo to the camps or Amman so I have a pretty streamlined kit.

    The details: 5 days total, including air travel there and back to US, hotel accommodations with towels, hairdryer, and shampoo provided. Jordan is quite chilly at night time and though warm during the day, I will wear pants and flowy tops for modesty and comfort.

    Technology: I don’t carry anything but my phone and a foldout keyboard. I will present my research but my slides are pre-loaded and sent ahead of time to the group. I will mostly spend time listening and taking handwritten notes. I find that my kindle app with a few books downloaded and an audio book with my headphones is more than enough for me to entertain myself in flight. I usually sleep, watch airplane movies, or zone out if given the chance. I will have WiFi at hotel so I can FaceTime with my family back home on my phone.

    My bag: Tom Bihn Parental Unit- This is a replacement PU because my original PU in black and ultra violent dyneema interior was stolen recently. Though I miss my old trusty PU, the new PU is lovely with the updated grab handles and zippered interior in center compartment. Having used both, I love the new PU updates.
    Plane outfit:
    Wedding ring, earrings, watch
    Gap legging jeans
    A black thermal cuddle dud top (this becomes my pajama top at night in hotel)
    Patagonia vest- I always feel cold on planes and at night so this keeps me warm.
    Red Anorak jacket- an awesome thrift store find that is colorful and just the right spring weight for shifting weather (AC to outside to cold at night)
    Darn tough socks
    Underclothes- bra, panty
    Black booties (my only shoes)

    Packed clothes (These go in the main compartment of the PU along with an insulated Kleen Kanteen with cafe locking lid):
    3 underpants
    1 darntough sock
    1 Eileen Fisher silk scarf- to dress up or vary my look from day time to evening
    Black high waist jeans- these are very lightweight and soft cotton
    3 light flowy tops in assorted colors that are long enough in rear to remain modest but light enough to keep cool
    1 grey light turtleneck top (plane trip home)
    1 pair of nike leggings for sleep
    I mix and match the shirts with my black pants or jeans and everything goes with my shoes and jacket. I wash underpants in sink and dry overnight.

    Essentials: Tom Bihn zippered wallet with money and cards, my passport and global entry card (stored in front TB logo zip compartment), phone with folding keyboard (not pictured)- will also go in the front facing zippered compartment.

    Toiletries:in a black 3D mesh organizer cube leashed into front zippered compartment- see pic
    A mini sample tub filled with my everyday spf foundation
    A green silicone scrubby
    A travel brush and hair elastics
    An all purpose soap made by Palestinian refugees
    Mascara, lipstick, all purpose ointment
    Toothbrush
    Deodorant
    In little black plastic container- ear plugs, toothpaste tabs, lomotil for an emergency situation, aleve

    “Work” kit: in a medium zippered organizer pouch leashed into back zippered compartment
    My homemade Notecard planner on binder ring, 2 space pens, stack of blank notecards

    Misc stuff: in a green 3D organizer pouch leashed into back zippered compartment
    headphones, charger, gum, sunglasses, plastic fork and spoon

    I carry a hero clip on outside of bag “just in case” I want to hang something in my hotel room. I keep a TB luggage tag on the outside of the PU filled with a stack of my business cards! It provides my info if my bag were lost and found and permits me to share my business card if a colleague asks for one!

    The PU is not overstuffed with everything in it and there is actually a lot of space leftover for a keychain knickknack or little trinket to take home to my daughter.

    I unpack my bag at the hotel and then use my PU as my day bag, easily stashing my red coat in the main compartment and carrying my bottle filled with tea. I realize the PU is often thought of as “just” a diaper bag but, for me at least, it works just as well at the synapse 19 for one bag travel.
    Attached Images Attached Images 5 days in Amman for refugee work-40096861-07ed-49d9-a6e2-f9bb0ff85436-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-8d8fe205-35ea-414a-933a-ff3c3d6cb90e-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-ae8b3338-add5-4b7d-8e6e-52dd7a997f07-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-9874c730-a4fd-4d04-a64b-eb514fd5b7ba-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-8a148964-61ad-4e9a-af6f-9161974636a9-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-96cb8c39-63a4-4c78-b663-61eebeb9695d-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-ec7023f6-ed4e-4d4c-a926-c632388b95f0-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-e408b353-ecbb-4fb0-9bb4-b37c26861087-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-24aaa5b3-cddb-4df2-baeb-2e7669cfb624-jpeg  5 days in Amman for refugee work-669b1f6b-027b-4825-b1a4-dede51faa7f8-jpeg 
    Last edited by nsh; 01-18-2019 at 10:27 AM.

  2. #2
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    I'm liking the card setup with the calendar at the front. Not too fond of the binder ring, I'm now going to have tho think about this to consider an alternative. Be safe over there, I've only been once but I did like the place.

  3. #3
    Forum Member nsh's Avatar
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    Yes, if you can think of a good alternative to the rings then please let me know!

    Places like Levenger sell these “pocket brief cases” but I like to have my cards bundled together on the ring and easily shuffled around. Every week or so I take the cards off the ring and place them in an accordion style file folder and file them away under their appropriate subject folder. Existing planner systems never seemed to work for me because I dont think the way they have the planner laid out, this card system is cheap and maximizes my flexibility. The calendar card at the front cost me about $3 for a set of 2 and I hole punched it myself. They are really handy to keep in wallets too!
    Last edited by nsh; 01-18-2019 at 11:17 AM.

  4. #4
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    I am seriously impressed that you can use the PU like this - I have always thought the PU was a very adaptable and practical bag for all sorts of uses, not just for parents/babies, but it often seems to get rejected.

  5. #5
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for sharing your travel system, and for the photos! Good luck with the vital work you are doing.
    It's amazing that you can travel so light. I do like the binder of cards idea! Might be something to adopt. I carry notebooks, but this is more compact and would weigh less.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  6. #6
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    What a wonderful pack out! Thanks so much for sharing

    Best of luck on the trip
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  7. #7
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    Wow, how wonderfully efficient! Inspires me for how I can use my PU when my kids are bigger and it's too much handbag for me. I LOVE the organization of the PU. It's a great bag!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Have you tried screw binding posts instead of the rings?

  9. #9
    Forum Member nsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kajikaiko View Post
    Have you tried screw binding posts instead of the rings?
    I havenít but it might be worth a try...one idea I had was to use my leftover TB zipper pulls and create an elasticized ring but I would need to find a way to unfasten it....off to experiment!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Forum Member nsh's Avatar
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    This is a very simple way to tie the cards together using an extra TB zipper pull. Given the size of the cord I was limited by the number of cards in the stack but it was really easy to unfasten the loop and add or remove a card. Extra cards are stored in the medium organizer pouch when I am traveling anyways. It doesnít really let me flip through the cards but I like the simplicity of the set up (and it fits my frugal ways).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    I would suggest some steel cable ties like these in please of the binder rings: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079DM26RY..._YH.qCbPYBMG19

    They are flexible and could hold more cards, plus you could clip it to a key holder.

    Best of luck! From another PU user(although mine is generally a diaper bag )




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Forum Member TRD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallbug View Post
    I would suggest some steel cable ties like these in please of the binder rings: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079DM26RY..._YH.qCbPYBMG19

    They are flexible and could hold more cards, plus you could clip it to a key holder.
    I was just about to post the same thing. I have one of these I bought at Ace Hardware before the internet was a thing and itís still going strong.

    OP Please post a recap if you can when you return.

  13. #13
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    I just did a Jordan trip in Nov/Dec. for two weeks, you are right, it gets cold! I one bagged it with my Synapse 25 with a SK inside it that I pulled out for my seat essentials so I wouldn’t have to disrupt the packing of the other items. I hope all goes well for you! I love Jordanian hospitality!

  14. #14
    Forum Member northerngypsy's Avatar
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    @nsh, I'd love some more detail on how you make the technology work so minimally. Thank you!

  15. #15
    Forum Member nsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by northerngypsy View Post
    @nsh, I'd love some more detail on how you make the technology work so minimally. Thank you!
    Hi 👋
    I have one of those iPhone plus phones so the screen (for me) is quite large. I have preloaded all my work apps and a voice recorder app. I use a foldout keyboard with stand to type longer documents and notes. I also have the kindle app for reading novels. I carry headphones to listen to podcasts or audio books en route. I donít analyze statistical files in the field so my computer isnít needed.
    I hope this helps!

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