Through New York City, with Knack.


This past month, Yusef and I made the 3,000-mile drive across the United States to our new home in the Washington, D.C. area. It was an experience - as my first “real” road trip, there are many, many things I now know about obnoxiously long drives.

Once we arrived in D.C., it was bopping from hotel to hotel; little did we know that our furniture and appliances and clothes and books would arrive three weeks later. So in the midst of the mess, we decided to go to New York City for two days. We’ve done long road trips before. What’s another 5 hours?

All I had brought with me on the trip over from California was a carry-on bag with clothes, and a backpack from Knack Bags that’s been a sidekick over the year. We wanted to be light in NYC, so Knack it was.

Very infrequently do I talk in-depth about any particular brand; it’s important to me to show you how I focus on living my life on simple and minimal terms, and what I have to get there. I’ve written about the Knack bag before — it’s a backpack that fits my traveling lifestyle perfectly, and I’m proud to be able to team up with them to share this. It’s not common for me to find products that align perfectly with the messaging I send out into the world about carrying what one needs and doing so in a simple way, and for the time I’ve had this bag, short trips have been a breeze.

The Knack bag fits changes of clothes, my laptop, camera equipment, chargers, books, and a secret pocket for a water bottle as well. It’s also a bag I’ve started to use for work - I used to travel very frequently, and a go-bag for the week I’d spend away from home was necessary. Compared to the suitcase I used to bring along for trips regardless of length, it’s simple to carry what I need throughout the day (think an extra pair of shoes, gym clothes, my laptop), and I’m pretty sold on Knack for work/life purposes.

And for New York, Yusef and I consolidated what we’d need for the next two days, and off we went.

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New York City is something else entirely. We started our day on Wall Street, where a company was preparing to ring the opening bell at the Stock Exchange. Walking up and down the street was certainly an experience in personal space; I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so small or so rushed in the streets and subway system. For all of what’s going on, it’s an incredibly condensed city. The heat was unprecedented as well; from what I gathered, we were in New York in one of the hottest periods that had hit this summer.

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We hopped on the subway and continued exploring, ending up at this interesting mall near the rebuilt World Trade Center. Oculus, as they call it, is clearly a hub for photographers around the world — the lighting is phenomenal, the arches perfectly symmetrical, and certainly no fear of feeling too Instagram-y with a camera (because everyone was doing it). We spent quite a bit of time walking through the mall, and I’ll shoulder the blame — this was mainly me, of course, intrigued by the storefronts I’ve only read of in magazines.

Matching photos, of course.

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We went into Brooklyn where we met up with Ali, a long-time friend from Instagram. Yusef was our model as we went down into DUMBO (which, I learned, stands for “Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass” — a bit less exciting than I had expected). Since our Airbnb was a ways away in Queens, we brought the Knack to ensure we had a change of clothes and my laptop on hand. Through most of our trips, Airbnb is typically the start- and end-point of the day; we definitely avoid hanging out in there as much as possible. With the weather as humid as it was in New York City, I was glad we had backups of everything we needed.

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The Knack bag we brought along on the trip. Do not be deceived by its size (we have the medium) - it holds a lot more than you’ll need for short trips, and expands as well.

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So, New York City. Loved it, would definitely come again, and might have to make a few trips back before the end of the year. We hadn’t planned too much in terms of culinary or sight-seeing experiences, and thus are saving a lot more to do for the second time around. Overall, a phenomenal experience in seeing what the city has to offer and how it truly does not ever sleep; there are few places in the world I’ve felt that everything moves much faster than normal, and this is certainly the fastest. Here’s to the next trip back (and the one after that).