Hi! My name is Donna. I chase clean air. Let's go! Out of Los Angeles and into the world, chasing clean air, beauty and a sustainable life!
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Sun rays bathe path leading to the Redwoods of Big Hendy Grove. Hendy Woods State Park, California.
Always on the lookout for clean air destinations, Coastal Mendocino tops my California list. I loved how the clean air, vivid natural colors, and tall Redwood trees -- protected in special preserves -- made me feel.
A suitcase to rely on... I am always on the lookout to pack more efficiently for travel. Bring only necessities, (if only I understood what they were for changing weather and lifestyle conditions) and use the best suitcase for carry-on--which is what I normally take because traveling light is a priority.
I was at the airport a few months ago, when a well-traveled businesswoman raved about her suitcase that had traveled with her for 5 years. She rattled on about her suits and running shoes and computer stuff all combined in her one Victorinox Carry-on luggage. She opened her suitcase to show me how well organized she was.
Victorinox Spectra Expandable Compact Global Carry-On with Baggallini Tote
Pack it right!
Packing well is more than utilizing a quality suitcase or backpack, it's knowing what to bring and how to roll, align and pack. Don't get me wrong, using a quality suitcase or backpack is extremely helpful, but you still want to maximize your space with simple tips.
I use the following tips to pack efficiently, typically traveling with one carry-on suitcase and a large Baggallini Travel Tote with a sleeve that fits snugly on top of my luggage. These totes are very spacious: I'll carry toiletries, a Kindle, a small purse to be used at my destination, a rolled-into-a-pocket down jacket, sweater, wool hat and camera in just one tote.
Now packing the suitcase:
Lay out clothes you want to bring, and eliminate all but the essential. (Note, this is the hardest part for most of us) Think about weather and activities. Stick to a simple color scheme, and add colorful accessories if that's your thing.
Roll socks and place them inside shoes to save space. Wear your bulkiest shoes during travel. In my case, hiking boots.
Align shoes foot to toe along the inside edges of suitcase. I packed two pairs of sandals - flat (day) and low-heels (night) - and wearing the hiking boots on the plane.
Fold shirts and pants into airtight packing cubes or garment folders. I use two small Eagle Creek Pack-It-Garment Folders in my carry-on luggage. And roll skirts and dresses into the spaces left over on the sides. For my next trip, I'll bring one skirt, one dress, one pair of hiking pants, one pair of shorts, one workout pants, a few shirts that I can layer. Bathing suit.
Stack the heaviest items at the bottom and the lightest on top.
Pack toiletries and cosmetics on the top or if you have a large purse, in your purse for easy use while traveling.
Capra Bolt Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot by Merrell ($140) proved true to size and comfortable right out of the box.
One pair of light hiking socks for Southern California heat, and I was off on the gravelly Santa Monica Mountain trails.
That's where the Capra Bolt's grippy outsole -inspired by the Capra mountain goat - offered stability and confidence. Walking on varied terrain with the occasional rock pile became easier to navigate. Note, I also use Leki hiking poles for added stability and knee protection on descents.
On this hike headed toward a waterfall with no water, yes, true, we all walk to the waterless waterfall in our 5th year of drought, I navigated the stones, rocks and occasional crevices and tree trunks with ease.
Stability reinforcement in Merrell's Capra Bolt included a TrailProtect pad and M Select FIT.ECO blended EVA contoured footbed with organic odor control and an air cushion in the heel to absorb any shock. Also these light hiking boots with added ankle support breathe well, thanks to a breathable mesh lining.
Merrell's Capra Bolt Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot proved the perfect choice for hiking in summer heat. The fact that the boot is waterproof means if I ever see rain again, will I?, I'm prepared. The fun red and green colors were fashionable and easy on the eyes. Most importantly, the Capra was comfortable and did the job day one. So I hiked in them the very next day. Happy feet.
Check out Merrell's Capra Bolt Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot here.
Buy a beautiful, unique tote made by disadvantaged Cambodian women. Perfect for travel, these "Netty Bags" are repurposed plastic netting and transformed into colorful, functional bags. Highly individual with a look unlike anything I've seen. I love the texture. I am using the Island Tote in pink with a black strap for carrying daily essentials and my piano book. A MacBook Air will fit neatly inside too.
Ethically made out of recycled materials, the Netty bags are not only beautiful, and lightweight, and give disadvantaged women jobs but the materials are better utilized as a purse than as potential pollution in our seas. Every bag purchased will help provide mosquito nets to families in need.
To buy a Netty Bag go to Net Effect Traders and find a wide selection of handcrafted bags that look happy and perfect for summer.
Lightweight hiking boots that go almost anywhere, most of the time. Keen created a year-round comfortable go-to "hiking boot" for active women in mild climates like Los Angeles.
Weighing in at only 10 ounces, Keen's newest addition to its hiking boot line-up is called the VersaTrail Light Hiking Boot. Whether climbing, hiking or walking about town, these well-designed shoes are perfect for spring and summer in most areas.
With a rather large collection of personal hiking boots to choose from, I found myself reaching for my new Keen light hiking boots several times in the past month over previous "favorites". Keen VersaTrails feel more like a walking shoe with superior traction for walking around town and taking local hikes in the Santa Monica mountains.
There are four things I truly appreciate about this boot, which made them my Spring 2016 go-to hiking boot:
1) Excellent traction and support without heavy weight. In drought conditions, the trails have gotten quite gravelly and I was concerned the traction may be insufficient. And that I may lack adequate support for uneven terrain. Not so. I felt supported despite the boots having less material than my "normal" ankle-high hiking boots. That said, no matter the hiking boot, I always use hiking poles (Leki) for added support and to protect my knees, particularly on descents.
2) These VersaTrails easily go from city casual to the hiking trail without missing a beat. That's why they're Versatrail for versatile. No need to change into another pair of shoes, lugging unnecessary extras around.
3) No shoe laces! The beauty goes beyond simple lines to an added safety feature. While not common, shoe laces can come undone and be a nusance.
4) Keen VersaTrails are attractive in more ways than one. Not only do my boots look great in teal/gray, but travel well, too - compact and light!
I am a long time fan of the Keen brand, and now have the pleasure of wearing lightweight hiking boots, perfect for our local mountains and travel.
Until next time breathe easy and make life an adventure!
To stay connected with my search for clean air, LIKE Chasing Clean Air on Facebook and subscribe to the Chasing Clean Air blog feed. Want more? I write newspaper travel articles for Creators Syndicate, highlighting wildlife and habitat preservation.