An Ode to my MacPac…

As I was recently rooting around in my loft for something, I found my big macpac, and realised I’ve had it for 10 years this year. It’s the best rucksack I’ve ever bought, it has a lifetime guarantee, and it’s EXTREMELY well-made, so I thought it was worthy of a little shout-out.

I bought my matching big and little macpacs in 2007, before going to Nepal for a year.

My big macpac has gone with me to Nepal, India, Malaysia, Singapore, France, Liverpool, South Sudan, India again, Nepal again, Kashmir, Oxford, the USA, The Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Iraq, Jordan, Canada, USA again, Australia again, Senegal, Kenya, Iraq again, and Senegal again.

Other than an unfortunate incident once where my Big Mac got ripped in an airport and needed to be patched (I sent it off to macpac and they fixed it up and shipped it back to me), it has held up remarkably well! In Nepal I used to keep it empty under my bed, but padlocked as my passport was in there, and when I lost the key, I had to beg the locksmith to cut through the padlock carefully not to damage the zip!

It’s incredibly comfortable, exactly the right size, and I love that it unzips like a proper suitcase instead of rooting around in a normal rucksack. I also love that you can fold in and zip up the straps when checking it in at airports so they don’t get damaged en-route.

My little macpac has gone with me EVERYWHERE in the last 10 years. It’s literally my everyday bag, it carries my laptop into work everyday, it goes with me on mini-breaks and weekends, and in addition to all of the countries my big mac has been to it has ALSO been with me to Qatar, Madrid, Italy and Switzerland!

Obviously daily use for 10 years has left my little mac a bit grubby, but considering what it’s been through, it’s holding up INCREDIBLY well! It’s even still mostly waterproof, as I learned after a can of tonic water exploded inside it once in the Philippines…

This little bag goes with me pretty much everywhere, is still sturdy and comfy after 10 years, and it zips onto the front of Big Mac (although I hardly ever do that).

So, all in all, as a fairly frequent traveller, I give these bags 10 out of 10 and highly recommend them for your travelling adventures.

🙂

The one with all the excitement!

Well well, it has been an exciting week!

So, some work-related context first: My manager C (now ex-manager) and I developed two water and sanitation e-learning courses on behalf of several NGOs in a consortium. It was a beasty piece of work that got bigger and bigger, and ended up taking us about 2 years to do.

However, we’re dead chuffed with the final products, which are available online here if you fancy taking a look (the courses are called Technical Project Management for WASH emergencies, and Information, Education, and Communication for WASH emergencies). We also managed to produce them onto CDs, and in French, and the feedback from staff out in the field has been fantastic. However, even better was the fact that we got shortlisted for an e-learning award! We presented our courses to the judges back in September, and were invited to the very swanky e-learning awards dinner to find out if we won. Our category was for ‘Excellence in content production – not for profit sector’, and there were 5 other organisations/companies who were shortlisted in our category. The ceremony itself is all very elegant and formal – black tie, including a champagne reception and a 4-course dinner at the Mariott hotel in London (Ooh-er Mrs!). The e-learning company who developed the courses with us very kindly paid for our tickets to this shin-dig, as well as putting C and I up in a hotel in London for the night. Continue reading

The Hounslow Triangle

Thursday 7th May 2009

Hello everyone!
Here is the first of my African blogs!

However, before I describe my first impressions of Africa, I’ll have to tell you what a drama I had getting there!
My flight was on Friday, at 9.35pm, and I was due to fly to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and connect to Juba in South Sudan on Saturday morning.
Having gone through the usual tedious process of Heathrow security, I was reading my book, waiting for them to display the gate number, when a voice on the tannoy system announced “Could all passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis Ababa please go directly to the transit desk.”
Hmmmm, it didn’t sound good. Continue reading

Home Home Home!!!

Wednesday 2nd July 2008

Ok, where did I leave off last time?

Well, I whizzed across from Haampi to Goa for a night, and then took a very long train journey north. It was around 36 hours to Agra, and like the good Brit that I am I was well prepared for the boredom with several books, a pack of cards, my ipod and various snacks etc.
After reading for several hours, I busted out the cards for a few games of patience, which drew fascinated looks from basically everyone in a 5-metre radius of me.
They stared and talked excitedly for about 30 mins before one young man was clearly voted the one to speak to me. He stood up reverentially and asked in a shaking voice if I was doing magic.

I wasn’t sure if he was referring to Harry Potter style magic, or the more basic card tricks, but when I explained that I was merely playing a game a murmur went up around the bunks and the young man looked more puzzled than ever. He then looked at me in awe and asked how I could possibly play a card game with just one person!!
All highly amusing! Continue reading