Hey there friends,
This email is coming to you from a very wet and rainy Tirana, Albania. Can't wait to tell you all more about this beautiful country.
We've been in Tirana for roughly a week and have another three or so to go.
This is the third time we're staying a month in a single place - we've spent extended periods of time in a country before, but often, we moved around from place to place quite a bit. And while it is nice to see and do as much as you can while you're somewhere, I'm really starting to like these month-long stays.
The first major benefit is financial - you get major discounts from hosts on Airbnb for month-long stays. With that fact alone, it quickly becomes a no-brainer decision to book somewhere for a month if you're embarking on a trip like this.
Another rational benefit is that stability is helpful for productivity and focus. Moving constantly is exhausting and kills any kind of momentum a project is gaining.
But there's more than just rationality. You start to become familiar with where you are. There's a beauty to knowing somewhere intimately; finding your little markets, cafes, walking routes, and routines. Seeing the same faces over and over, forming some unspoken bond. These little interactions are beautiful and too often taken for granted at home. I hope that sentiment is one I take back with me when we settle down a bit more permanently.
And since there's not as much of a rush to see and do everything, you also get to nest a bit. Quiet nights in, lazy days, movie nights, cooking at home - Steph has been obsessed with this tomato soup from Half Baked Harvest. All things that are good for the soul.
This doesn't mean we stop exploring either, just using Tirana as a home base. Next week we're off to Shkodër, then a little later, we're heading down to Berat and Gjirokaster. I was hoping to get into the mountains a bit, but I think the snow is a bit too much this time of year. It's a shame, too, the Albanian Alps look unreal. Something tells me I'll be back.
Some Gear News
Being a not-so-closeted gear and everyday carry (EDC) nerd, a decently large part of the newsletter and website is about the stuff we schlep around with us. Recently I got my hands on a pair of pants from a company called Western Rise. I've been eyeing their Evolution Pants to complement my beloved Outlier Slim Dungarees.
I'm happy to report these things are awesome. I've been basically living in them over the past month or so now. You can read the full Evolution Pant 2.0 review if you're curious.
TL;DR - If you're looking for some pants to take on your next excursion, or just in life, the Evolution Pants or Outlier Slim Dungarees are the best options out there - they can handle pretty much anything you throw at 'em. I have a pair of each as the only two pants in my backpack right now.
I finished up a postcard I wrote about our road trip through Scotland. If you're not familiar with the Postcard series, it's a monthly-ish series I write for Grog Club members. Think of them as a little behind-the-scenes look into my brain and travels - a lil' BTS content, if you will.
One could say the writing there is raw or a little more unhinged in some ways. Here's a sample from the Scotland piece:
Begrudgingly I smash the buttons on the red and yellow LCD screen. These fucking things never work - why can't I just talk to someone?
In the corner of my eye, I see a drunk Scottish man stumbling out of the bathroom - his girlfriend screaming at him. Maybe that's the clown's secret?
This is my personal hell.
A McDonald's is right up there with Starbucks as the two establishments I walk by with a disdainful eye roll whenever I'm in a foreign land. I promise myself I will never go to one - why waste precious money and stomach space.
Unless I need to shit - only then are they a gift sent by the capitalism gods to rescue my bowels.
But as I stuff a veggie wrap down my face, I admit that sometimes they do provide utility.
Not how you thought a piece about a Scottish road trip would go? Well, me neither.
Oh, and if you haven't yet watched the Scotland Road Trip video, I'll just leave that here again. Or if you have watched it, just feel free to leave it running on repeat in the background to satisfy the Youtube algorithm gods.
That's all for this week, folks. If you haven't read the recent essay about Chile, give it a look. Next week I got something fun up my sleeve.
Friendly reminder that this is an old-school, no-algorithm zone, so the only way it keeps going is through your kind words. So if you find it enjoyable or of any value to you, please tell your friends, family, or anyone you think will enjoy it. If you don't like this newsletter, feel free to drop in the emails of your enemies.
Skylar Renslow Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.