What’s In My Bag? Work/Study Anywhere Edition

Sometimes when you’re studying abroad, a normal desk just doesn’t quite cut it. I’m in a foreign country surrounded by beauty, history, culture and awesome stuff… I don’t want to be stuck inside! I’d much rather be sitting at a local cafe taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of my host country. I want to work/study from anywhere!

For the past year I’ve been traveling the world while working and learning so I’ve become somewhat of an expert at working in weird, badass places. To prove it here’s a picture of me working at a cafe in front of the highest waterfall in North Africa:

what's in my bag - work from anywhere

1. The Bag

I’m a cyclist, so I’ve been using a Timbuk2 bag for years and at this point it’ll take a lot to get me to use another brand. Their bags are compact, sturdy, comfortable and the buckle closure helps me avoid being pick-pocketed (which is clutch in those crowded European streets).

2. Burrito Pencil Pouch

This is one of my favorite things I own PERIOD. I’m big on taking physical notes and I like to be prepared to sketch or journal should inspiration hit. This pencil pouch is a) freaking awesome and b) holds everything I need, from pens and highlighters to erasers and an extra chapstick.

3. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Let’s be honest, we all have a tendency to be easily distracted. Sometimes I really need to hunker down and GET. STUFF. DONE. When I need to tune out the world and really focus I pop on my headphones, turn on the noise-cancelling and drown out the world. This Bohm pair are super cute and comfy, plus they’re wireless (one less cord I need to deal with). If I’m working on something that needs EXTREME focus, I simply turn on the noise-cancelling feature but don’t play any music. The reduced noise level helps me concentrate.

4. Grid-It Cable Organizer

Between my laptop charger, USB cables for my phone, outlet adapters and USB sticks there’s a whole bunch of stuff in my bag that just isn’t easy to organize. This cable organizer changed the way I packed my bag for the BETTER. You can put just about anything inside this nifty little guy and it helps make sure I don’t lose any small items to the bottom of my bag.

5. External Battery

I can’t even tell you how often this kickass little guy has saved my butt. My phone is my lifeline – it’s how I figure out where I am, search for local cafes with good WiFi, and make sure I don’t get hopelessly lost in a foreign city. This Anker model is a little chunky but holds enough juice to charge my phone 5 times over. I like to be able to charge this thing once every few weeks then throw it in my bag and forget about it until I need it.

6. Moleskin

what's in my bag - work from anywhereI carry two Moleskin notebooks with me at all times – a gridded, hard cover notebook (this is where
I take all my notes, create to-do lists and get organized) and a smaller, bite-sized version that allows me to journal and sketch on the fly. I love Moleskin notebooks because I ADORE the way they feel – the paper is silky and thick and really fun to write on.

 7. Kindle

what's in my bag - work from anywhereI never leave home without my Kindle. I’m a person who needs to take frequent breaks when studying or working because my brain can’t focus for too long. I’ll often take a few minutes every hour (or once I finish a big task) to read a little bit – I’ve found it helps me reset my brain and re-focus on the task at hand. I’m currently reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero and HIGHLY recommend it.The best part is you can pay for your Kindle in installments (this made my shoestring budget extremely happy). I also have an adorable cover for it that makes it look like a REAL BOOK AND OMG you need it.

That’s how I survive a day working and studying away from my desk! Do you have any must-have items in your bag? Comment below so I can add them to my arsenal.

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Angela Sandall

Angela is a writer, traveller and human being from Chicago, IL. After attending school at Loyola University and working in the world of experiential marketing (where she did wacky things like crane cars onto roofs, ride in the Batmobile and pal around with famous dogs) she started writing and traveling full time. Traveling to a different city every month, she spends her days going to museums, meeting locals and searching for the best tacos the world has to offer.


  1. I used to be anti-kindle but now Kindle is my bestfriend. I never have to take a 5 pound book with me anymore when I’m traveling.
    I was so mad that they released the white version (color) right after I bought the original black one. The white one is so much cuter.

    1. I LOVE the feel of a real, actual book but traveling with that weight just isn’t sustainable. My cover is my kindle’s best friend and makes it feel (at least a little bit) more like a legit book.

  2. I need a cord organizer like that! 😉
    I also always carry a Camelbak water bottle. While it may be clunky, it’s more important to stay hydrated! ❤️

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