One fun thing about living overseas is that I just can’t open the Amazon app and have whatever I like delivered in two days or less. Fun you say? Yes, as the days go by, I add things to my wish list on Amazon. As the time approaches for me to return to the US for a short stay before heading out to the next country. I have to arrange for things to be delivered to a friend’s house (Thanks Friend!) and time their arrival for just before I get there. During my first three months of living abroad, I have found that there are certain things I needed which I didn’t bring, or things that just didn’t quite work out and I need to try a different type of the same thing.
Since I am returning to the US the first week of December, Black Friday through Cyber Monday was a great time for me to go through my wish list and sort out the things I had changed my mind about.
The first thing I realized after arriving in Cuenca, was that I was not comfortable wearing my Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket while cooking on a gas stove and cleaning the kitchen. The weather here is chilly and I only have a small space heater. I prefer not to keep the little heater running when I can put on warmer clothing. I bought a cheap fleece pullover from a street vendor. I should have gotten a zip-front hoodie, but at the time, I was just looking at the low low price. It has done the job, but since it is already wearing out, I decided to replace it with a better quality wool hoodie with a zipper. I am quite comfortable in beating up on wool clothing since it is very durable. I found a great wool hoodie on Amazon, which I think will last me for a long time. I chose the Minus33 Merino Wool Trailblazer Midweight Wool Full Zip Hoody for men. I like men’s jackets and hoodies because of the looser fit, though I wear women’s jackets.
I had thought that the little zipper compartment of my small Travelon purse would be good enough for change as I travled, but I found that it was very hard to dig coins out. In Ecuador, the currency used is the American Dollar. Mostly dollar coins, along with some smaller coins including 50 cent pieces. Right now I am using two Ziplock bags stuffed into the side pocket of the Travelon purse for my coins. I keep the dollar coins in one bag and the smaller coins in the other to make paying with change faster. I have ordered the Double Pocket Coin Purse by Signare, so that I can keep my money divided in whatever way makes sense for the currency I am using. It reminds me of a purse I once traveled with, which I used to keep the currency of my arrival and departure countries separate.
One item on my packing list has been exceptionally useful. That is my Sarong. The Sarong I have is one I picked up at a grocery store in Honolulu. It is beginning to show a lot of wear. I ordered another one. I am hoping that the Sarong Wrap from Bali wears better.
When I packed to make this trip, I only packed one shopping bag, the one I knew I would use in the airports to carry food, water, and ect. I have been using the Sarong tied into a bag to bring my groceries home since I have been in Cuenca. I assumed that it would be easy to buy shopping bags here. There are shopping bags, but they all have short handles or they are not large enough. I like bags I can put over my shoulder. I found two types of bags, which I couldn’t decide between: The HOLYLUCK Reusable Grocery Bags and FLIP AND TUMBLE – Reusable Grocery Bag. I ordered them both, intending to take them both to Mexico to try them out. Lightweight nylon shopping bags are a lifesaver when you have to carry your shopping across town.
I did a pretty good job figuring out what tech to bring with me. One of my splurge items I bought was my Amazon Echo Dot. I have the first generation, but it is pretty much like the 2nd Gen shown above. I did feel a little foolish to bring it, but have found it fits into my lifestyle traveling as much as it did at my old home. I use it constantly for a quick spelling lookup and for the spanish word I can’t think of. So Alexa is helping me to learn Spanish. Of course I always use it for timers and alarms. I decided to upgrade to the third generation, now that I am sure I am going to continue to travel with my Echo Dot.
Before leaving the US, I gather up a small bag of dongles so that I didn’t have to carry full-length cables for all my devices. After being here for a while I realized that I didn’t have a lightning to micro USB dongle. The reviews on the ones I bought have dropped since I bought them. I hope they turn out okay. A lot of the bad reviews were about it not transferring data, but I only want it for power, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Powering my devices is a big issue for me. I am going to be getting a new iPad Pro while I am in the US, and decided to upgrade my wall charger. I love Anker power products, and have ordered the Anker Premium 60W 5-Port Desktop Charger with One 30W Power Delivery Port, since I can also use it to power my laptop, I am currently using the Anker 40W 4-Port USB Wall Charger with Foldable Plug. It works great when the outlet it is plugged into is vertical. All the outlets in my condo are horizontal, and I have to brace the charger with a box of tea and a can of tuna to keep it from falling out from the outlet. Switching to the new one will eliminate this problem since it has a cord that will not pull down on the outlet in the same way.
When I got rid of all my stuff, I sent my original Amazon Echo to my ex. It was too large for me to travel with. Now that he has been living with it for a while, he is ready to start making his home a smart home. We did some cyber shopping together and he decided on getting a single light bulb to start with, a smart plug, and a light switch. Below are the ones I recommend he get. He acts as my business manager while I am aboard, so he also found inc and paper for the office he keeps for me.
It was a lot to buy all in one shot, but it is actually a lot less than I would have normally spent over the same time period. When I went to place my order, as I reviewed the wish list, I was able to change my mind about several hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise.