i'm packin'

Or how the hell do you choose what to put in your suitcase when you travel?
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Plugged In

This week, Plugged In mugged a swan, stole the creature's wings, and has now attached them to its back, hoping to save some cash on long-haul flights.

In last week's newsletter I talked about journeying back to the UK. As someone who likes to milk a gift horse, this is great news — free travel content forever!

Friends, prepare your mindmouths for a lactose-y newsletter explosion about… packing.

JovialSoreGoose-size_restrictedThe greatest packing scene in movie history? Change my mind.

You'll never believe this. I, a person who's paid to write about gadgets and gear, like stuff. Dangerously, I enjoy taking it with me when I travel too.

There are parts of packing that are simple. I know I'm going to need toiletries, a selection of clothes, and some #FitBoyExerciseGear. This can be solved with a simple list.

The issue I have is expanding beyond the bare "necessities."

giphy-Aug-19-2021-07-25-35-34-AMThe all-time OG and a man (bear?) whose vibe I try to embody every day.


What I'm talking about here is separating bringing things I'll actually use from what Imaginary Future Callum believes he'll use.

Here's an example. Last time I visited the UK, I brought along my Nintendo Switch, a Magic: The Gathering boxset, and a board game called Regenwormen.

I used none of them.

I'd pictured myself gaming on train journeys, battling with friends, and competing with family. But, in reality, I was too busy to do any of it.

This pattern is like the changing of the seasons — if that process was the most uninspiring thing you've ever seen.

giphy-Aug-19-2021-07-31-33-94-AMPicture this without any sort of beauty or interest. 


And, like the seasons, My Battle never ends. On this trip, the things I brought along include two laptops, an iPad, several pairs of headphones, and a… synth.

While I should be annoyed by this aspect of my personality, fundamentally, I'm fine with it.

Why? Because I dare to dream.

At the end of the day, I have a mental image of blossoming into the sort of person who's constantly whipping out boardgames and serenading friends with sick synth lines as we play.

That's a noble goal. Also a ridiculous one. But a bit noble too.

This is my point: pack for the life you want to have, not the one you do. 

There's a lesson in there somewhere.


(P.S. We're keen to improve Plugged In and hear what you think about it, so head to the bottom of this email to give us your thoughts!)

News you need



GHOST OF GATES! Give the Xbox a 'media mode,' you spooky coward.


Google is potentially making a foldable Pixel. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. 


I command thee, Apple, to go through everything on my damn phone.


Currently, I'm on my knees... begging... praying... SCREAMING... about why the hell you can't copy folders on Google Drive.


Here's a brief history of YakYak, a gossip platform that has stumbled back into life.

A review you're required to read

Remember the start of this intro? Where I was talking all about what to bring while you're traveling?


best gadgets for travelers 2021

Yes, I've compiled a list of what I believe are the essential bits of travel gear you need to take on your journeying. And, I don't want to toot my own horn, but... [HORN TOOTS]... it's brimming with sick stuff.

You can go and salivate over the full thing here.

Sponsored by TNW

Winner winner, Boris... dinner?

Friends, you're invited to dinner. The host? Our very own CEO, style guru, and instigator of parties, Boris!

Who's Boris? Serial entrepreneur, professional juggler, or just a guy down the block?

Well, if you enter our competition to win an exclusive dinner with Boris this September you can find out for your own damn self. I'm not your Dad — unless you want me to be.

When you order an in-person ticket to TNW Conference 2021 between August 9 and August 24, you'll automatically be entered into the contest. How about that for efficiency? 

Even better — tickets are currently up to 60% off and going fast!

Don't miss your chance to eat what Boris is cooking (he's like a Dutch version of The Rock — minus everything). So grab your ticket to TNW2021 on September 30 & October 1 today!

Here's a cool thing (also, cya)


You may not know this, but I co-host a literature podcast. It's called Smug Book ClubSomething we do each year is round up the best novels we've read over the past twelve months.

This is not only fun to think about and record, it's also fascinating to see what my reader-in-crime, Ryan, suggests.

One of those novels this time was At Night All Blood is Black.

Written by David Diop, this is a story about a Senegalese soldier fighting for France in the First World War.

Originally written in French, At Night All Blood is Black was translated by Anna Moschovakis and won the 2021 International Man Booker Prize.

Oh, did I forget to say it's amazing?

Over only 192 pages, Diop spins a horrifying, heart-racing, contemplative, and magical story that somehow covers vast swathes of the human experience without ever seeming forced.

And the end... oh my lord the end. If you'd like to hear more about At Night All Blood is Black, you can listen to our podcast featuring it here.

Or, indeed, just go and buy and read the damn thing.


Tell your enemies all about Plugged In. I'll see the rest of you jabronis later.


Peas & Louvre,


(Find me on Twitter here and on Instagram here).

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From Amsterdam with <3

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