How small of a world do we live in?
After years of traveling anywhere and everywhere, I’ve realized six degrees of separation is more fact than fiction, and at this point, I shouldn’t be surprised anymore by coincidences with strangers.
Living in a digital age has enabled us to better connect more than ever, and this is none more evident than in travel. Often times I’m surprised (or not surprised) when I meet someone on the road, add them on Facebook later only to find out we have a mutual friend! Has this ever happened to you?
Let’s take a step back.
Back in April when I was invited to Jordan, I decided it was high time to invest in a new camera. My old Canon Rebel circa 2008 was on its last legs, and since I knew I was going to be traveling loads and moving to New Zealand in the summer, I couldn’t put it off any longer.
With a little help from my friend Ed of the Polar Route, after I badgered him for weeks on what camera and lens to splurge on, I (we) decided on the Canon 60D and Tamron 17-50mm.
After getting the bill from Amazon (shudder!) I realized two very important things about my new toys. Firstly, I needed to insure them, which as fate would have it, was the best decision of the year because I ended breaking my camera two weeks later falling off a camel in the desert; secondly, throwing my camera and second wide angle lens loose in my purse wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
That being said, there is a HUGE dearth of cute camera bags for sale nowadays, and hell was going to freeze over before I would cart around my gear in a big ol’ ugly camera bag with “Canon” blazoned across the front.
Doesn’t go with any of my outfits and also where I travel and the fact I’m always alone, I don’t like to advertise that I’m carrying valuables with me. “Hey, who wants to mug me?”
And since I was embarking on my new career as a “professional travel blogger,” or at least full-time writer and cookie expert, therefore I needed a classic, serious, Hemingway-esque camera bag to match my new image.
Something vintage. Something sexy. Something intellectual.
Brown leather. Satchel/crossbody/messenger padded camera bag. Room for camera, extra lens, GoPro, wallet, notebook, passport, iPhone, Kindle, oh, and cookies too. Easy requirements, right?
Since my birthday was coming up, I convinced my parents this bag would make the perfect gift (and I would die without it – some people never grow up, tsk, tsk), and sooner rather than later, my new camera had a home, just in time for Jordan!
Super excited about my new Brooklyn, I quickly instagrammed a photo tagging ONA. Later on I got a message from Christine of C’est Christine who not only runs social media and marketing for ONA in New York, BUT who also is a travel blogger and would be on the same Jordan trip as me.
REALLY small world!
Our friendship was solidified the first day in Amman when we showed up at breakfast wearing matching outfits.
The Instagram that started it all
Six months later, and Christine and I are still good friends, and my Brooklyn has traveled with me to eleven countries.
Jordan – America – Canada – UK – Italy – Greece – Switzerland – Iceland – Ireland – New Zealand – Australia
How do I phrase this right? I am not a delicate traveler. This bag has taken a beating; from camel rides in the desert to getting soaked under waterfalls in Iceland to sailing around Greece to road-tripping around New Zealand, the Brooklyn is still in one piece and looks even better than when I bought it.
Durability was as important to me as quality, and I needed a bag that could keep up with me on my adventures around the world for years. Looks like I chose right.
And then it was time for adventures!
There are so many things I love about this bag, it’s hard to pick a favorite. To me it’s really important that I can fit all the things I need while traveling in the bag, which I can, especially with the two pockets on the outside which I can shove something as big as a guidebook in if I need to.
It’s also a small enough size that when I can only bring one carry-on with me on a plane, I can shove it inside a larger tote bag where I can fit larger things, like my giant Macbook and more cookies. Nowadays with strict airline baggage policies, it’s good to have a flexible bag.
I can’t wait to take my Brooklyn to a whole new slew of places this year!
Here are some sightings of the Brooklyn in the wild. Do you have one key thing that you take everywhere with you? Whether you are traveling the world or exploring your own backyard?
ONA in Jordan
Exploring the ancient city of Jerash, image via C’est Christine
Overlooking Amman and the second day Christine and I matched, image via Seattle’s Travels
Riding camels around Wadi Rum, image via Seattle’s Travels
ONA in Italy
After a climb up to the top of San Miniato in Tuscany
At a wine festival in Brindisi
ONA in Greece
Exploring medieval mountain monasteries in Meteora
Visiting the Acropolis at sunset in Athen – holy crap I’m tan!
Discovering the beauty of Delphi
ONA in Iceland
Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon
Learning about medieval monasteries and early settlements
Whatcha looking at? Ferocious viking horses (don’t call them ponies!)
Turf house sitting
ONA in New Zealand
Sunday farmer’s market fun
Rugged south coast of the North Island
Partaking in some serious brunch culture in Wellington
View over Wellington and a perfect rainbow
And now I finally have the chance to both share something that I really love and couldn’t travel without, as well as offer my very first giveaway to you guys to say thanks for reading and putting up with me for so long!
Almost four years of blogging under my belt, and I’ve never done a giveaway! Gasp!
My reasoning is both simple and childish – I have received many offers from companies offering me a giveaway on my blog, but none were for things I could genuinely AND sincerely vouch for, nothing I had tried myself first.
My Brooklyn, however, I paid for (and by me, I mean my mom – thanks mom!) and I’ve used and loved it for half a year, so I am really excited to offer a brand new one for you guys!
So whether you are a seasoned travel warrior or a newbie photographer or a girl (or guy) who just likes to take pictures of beautiful places (me!) now’s your chance to win an ONA Brooklyn of your own!
Just enter the Rafflecopter below before Monday, November 18 midnight EST. Don’t forget!
Please note this giveaway is only for U.S. residents only or for anyone with a U.S. mailing address (if you’re abroad check to see if you have any package forwarding options available, like You Post in New Zealand).
Leave me a comment letting me know that you liked our FB pages, and tell me where you would like to take the Brooklyn around the world!
**Update! Congratulations to Lydia from Connecticut for winning the Brooklyn! A million thanks to everyone who entered and I can’t wait to set up more giveaways for you all!