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Monday, May 16, 2022

Review: Travelon's Greenlander Compact Sling

Summer is coming, and with it come farmers' markets, festivals, vacations, and more time outside. If you hate carrying around a bag, but still need to carry the essentials, then the Greenlander Compact Sling from Travelon is your new best friend. I wore it to an event downtown this past weekend and it was awesome.

If you hate carrying around a bag, but still need to carry the essentials, then the Greenlander Compact Sling from Travelon is your new best friend.

The compact sling is the perfect bag for travel as well. Walking through the airport can be stressful and having to dig through your bag for your phone and your passport or ID is annoying. Have everything you need within easy reach, while also not having to rummage in an over-large bag. 

This little bag wears like a crossbody, but the strap is unique, allowing it to come over one shoulder, but also sit at your waist. It's amazingly comfortable, and it sits right against your body, giving you a feeling of security for your necessities. 

I was able to get all the things I would normally take with me to the airport and on the plane, but also things I would take with me on an outing or to a theme park: cash, my ID, snacks, a battery backup for my phone, hand sanitizer, credit cards, and even my keys.

The front zipper pocket goes all the way down to the bottom of the bag. I was able to stash my phone in it on Saturday, so I always knew where it was and could grab it quickly for photos. If I were traveling, or going out, I would use it for sanitizer, my cards and cash, and probably lip balm. (I just noticed that this pocket has RFID-blocking technology.)

These things all slid right in with room for a spare mask if needed. I really love the contrasting zipper and zipper pull that gives the bag a bit of funky color, but makes it feel a little sporty, too. Not only does it look cool, but it doubles as a security measure. See that matching loop? (you can see it better in the title pic.) You can slide the zipper and pull into it and have some extra safety for your belongings.

The inside of the bag is larger than it appears, but it's also manageable and opens wide enough to see everything in it. I'm actually surprised how many snacks fit in here with my battery backup and phone cord. There's a separate slip pocket inside, too.

This slip pocket has RFID-blocking, too, so if you use it for your passport and/or credit cards, you're safe from hacking technology that wants to steal your information or identity. Nobody wants that, and I love that this little bag has that protection. 

It's not the only anti-theft feature either. The main compartment has a clip zipper, like most of the other anti-theft Travelon bags. It clips to a small d-ring on the body of the bag, so no one can unzip it without some effort. You'll definitely notice someone trying to tug your bag unzipped and failing if you're wearing it.

You also have the wide padded strap that is adjustable. It also has security features though. In order to keep this bag functional and lightweight, it doesn't have a large metal clip like some of the other bags do, but has a strong plastic buckle that can lock. This way, you can unbuckle it, wrap the strap around a chair or table when you are hanging out, re-buckle, and slide the lock into place. People won't be able to snatch your bag and run, either off your body or the furniture you attached it to.

The strap and the front, sides, and bottom of the Compact Sling are slash-resistant. I know this is a concern for many people who travel on public transit or go to music festivals where there are a lot of people present. 

Travelon is moving into more sustainable bags, so now you can feel like you're making a difference while also looking stylish. The Greenlander line is made of 100% recycled materials.

I'm sorry for the sun making this a terrible picture. I couldn't actually see my phone screen at all.

If you've got a birthday or graduation for a traveler coming up soon, this could be the perfect gift for them. I know I'll be using this for a lot of activities, because I love to have my hands free to take pictures or browse the market or to hold the dog's leash. There are endless activities where this bag will be super handy to wear. 

More details
Where to buy: Travelon website
Cost: $49.50 - take 20% off with my code SHEREENTRAVELS20%
Colors it is available in: Diamond Ash (shown) | Galaxy Blue (with gray & aqua accents) | Jet Black (with gray and lime accents)
Other specs: size: 5”W x 7.25”H x 1.75”D, strap length: 33-59", 100% certified recycled rPET material (made from recycled water bottles), water-resistant, spot-clean with a damp cloth.

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Disclaimer: I was provided with the Greenlander Compact Sling for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Banksyland On Tour

Last week we had the joy of viewing international art at home. Portland is the first (and possibly only) stop on the tour of Banksy art called, appropriately, Banksyland. This includes art from a private collection, canvas prints of large building murals, videos, and possible recreations. 

Portland is the first stop on the tour of Banksy art called, appropriately, Banksyland. This includes art from a private collection and recreations.

While not all the pieces are original pieces, it's okay, because proceeds from your ticket go toward charity. Eric and I have been to the UK and seen a few of Banksy's pieces, including some of his famous rats. Obviously, we haven't been all over the city, and we've only been in the city for 3 weeks over the last 15 years, so it would be difficult for us to see many.

Banksy rats we saw in London

Banksy has art all over the world. Much of it is political- or human rights-related, and makes you think about everything around you in a different way, which can only be a good thing. Art should make you view things differently. Banksy has been doing guerilla street art for decades and has worked with other artists to create an anti-corporation defunct theme park exhibit and bought a boat to be used as a way to help refugees that don't live in an EU country, since distress calls from non-Europeans don't really get answered. 

Banksy has devoted a career to being anonymous, but also using his money for good and to make statements, whether social, political, or corporational. Greed is bad, war is bad, exploitation is bad. People can be and do good. Cops want to help people, but can get caught up in their power over people. Look for beauty everywhere, because it's there.

Banksy created a whole hotel museum full of Banksy art in Jerusalem to show the huge disparity in how people live within Israel. Called the Walled Off Hotel, a play on the Waldorf Astoria, you can actually stay in rooms here. Budget rooms are cheap and outfitted with Israeli military surplus. They are much like hostel rooms with shared bathrooms. In the same hotel, you can stay in a lavish suite. The photos themselves probably don't do enough justice to how it feels to visit.

I really enjoyed the transitions of the video art showing how a blank wall is transformed and how they can use things that are already on the street/sidewalk or even on the wall to make it personal. Clearly, you aren't getting the full experience with this exhibit, because they can't recreate the significance of the art on certain buildings, but when you can't travel, this is kind of the next best thing. Easily accessible art is always a good thing in my opinion, and is echoed by those that put on this show.

This show isn't huge, but there is a lot packed into a small space. You learn about the pieces and the relevance of certain things. You learn about Banksy's views of corporate greed, advertising, the government, war, and the beauty around us. You can watch a short video on the obtaining of that refugee boat, how corporations use advertising to exploit you, and how Dismaland, the anti-greed theme park, came together and was received.

You should know that this is an unofficial exhibition. Banksy did not endorse it, as he believes that art should be free and accessible to everyone. This is why almost all of his artwork is street art. Literally, anyone who walks past that building can view it, for nothing, and take their time to admire, enjoy, and critique it. If nothing else, I felt our money going to charity, even if it's just to enable more people to see and experience more art, was put to good use. 

There's also a very small gift shop that I didn't think was necessary, but there were some cool things in there, including Banksy-fied skate decks. What's your favorite traveling art show or permanent museum?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

How To Try Travel Sharing

It's no secret that travel share is a booming industry. With less mainstream ways to travel on a budget, it's easier than ever to travel the world without going broke. I'm all for going independent when I can to save some bucks, especially if I have plenty of traveler reviews to back up the safety and legitimacy of it all. 

It's no secret that travel share is a booming industry. With less mainstream ways to travel on a budget, it's easier to travel the world affordably.

Instead of staying in a hotel or eating at a traditional restaurant or going to the big box car rental places for some wheels, why not go local and more affordable?


I've been on the travel share bandwagon for a long time. While I love a hotel and still use them when needed, I love to feel more at home when I travel and enjoy having a kitchen and laundry at my disposal. If you do, too, try:
  • Airbnb - Indisputably the most well-known way to rent a vacation space. Choose from a room in a home to an entire apartment and everything in between. Get to meet locals where you can while making use of the spaces they aren't using. (Here's an account of one of my Airbnb experiences.)
  • Homeexchange - Want to really save some money? Swap your house with other travelers where you want to go. Take in their mail, feed their dogs and generally be them for the duration of your trip.
  • Homeaway - Like Airbnb, see a long list of spaces for rent, go through HomeAway, so you know your reservation is safe and secure.

You may already be using Uber and Lyft to get around, but why stop there? If you want to drive on your own schedule, rent someone else's car while you're in town. See locals who can spare their wheels while you're visiting on these great sites:
  • Turo
  • GetAround
  • ZipCar - Unlike these others, these are shared cars in a city. Rent it by the hour. Pick it up and drop it off at a designated location.

I'm open to meeting new people and I love to eat. Now you can visit locals for homemade meals or meet someone for food at a restaurant. This is especially good for people who are traveling solo and don't like to eat alone and those that are really outgoing.

Other stuff
Sometimes you get to a place and realize you want something specific, like golf clubs or skis. Since bringing them with you can be crazy expensive, why not rent some from someone while you're in town? 
  • Loanables
  • BabyQuip - Rent baby strollers, car seats and more.
  • Baby'sAway - Same as BabyQuip, but great if you're traveling with more than one baby.
  • Spinlister - Need a bike? Rent one at your destination!
Travel sharing is perfect for those that want to help out individuals while also getting a hyperlocal experience.

Do you have a favorite travel share company?
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