What Carrie Brownstein of ‘Portlandia’ won’t travel without


Carrie Brownstein is a founding member of the rock band Sleater-Kinney and the author of the memoir “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl,” but she is best known as creator and star of the comedy series “Portlandia,” which just concluded its seventh season. 

Brownstein, based in Portland, Oregon, travels mostly for work but is trying to make more time for leisure. Vacation for her means relaxation and contemplation.  

“I’m a proponent of the staycation in many ways: hiking, walking, eating well, checking social media less, spending time with friends,” she said. “I spent so many years when I was touring as a musician visiting grand cities with dense history and filling my head with culture and architecture and museums. So now I focus more on the opposite — it’s a detox from an overload of information and stimulus.”  

She spent her vacation last summer near Yachats, Oregon, on the coast.  

“I did the Airbnb thing, and went to a crab shack, the kind of place where there’s a plethora of fried and grilled fish and locals watching sports on TV,” she said. “It was called Luna Sea Fish House. Got to love something with a name like that.”  

Here is what she packs for each trip.  

— Two books  

“I bring a book that I’m currently reading and a book that’s next in my queue. Right now I have ‘The Economy of Cities’ by Jane Jacobs and ‘Words Are My Matter,’ by Ursula K. Le Guin.”  

— Notebook  

“Usually it’s a Moleskine, for jotting down ideas, but right now it’s a Leuchtturm. People always gift me notebooks. I vacillate between using an actual notebook and the Notes app on my phone. The paper allows for elaborating on an idea in a way that allows for more messiness and circumlocution.”  

— Shoes and blister prevention 

“I’m traveling with the Kenzo version of a Chelsea boot that’s really durable and comfortable, and a pair of black Nike Air Jordans. Shoes are the hardest thing to pack — the trick is to wear the clunkiest ones on the plane. And I like to see cities on foot, so I bring two Band-Aids for ameliorating the pain of blisters. I think if you need more than two Band-Aids on a trip you need to reconsider your activities.”  

— Talisman  

“A friend of mine passed it on to me after her father died. It’s a silk Japanese pouch with an airplane image sewn into the fabric. I used to be nervous about flying, and I literally have carried this with me for 15 years.”  

— Crossword puzzles  

“I usually grab The New York Times, unless it’s Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Then forget it. I’ll even use the in-flight magazine if the crossword hasn’t been completed. Flying is such a liminal state, I don’t know how people do serious work on the plane. But the crossword is somewhere between work and play; it gives you a feeling of accomplishment.”  

— Portland Trail Blazers cap  

“On a plane, I like the cap for anonymity. I don’t mean in the way of being recognized; I mean something to cover my face when I fall asleep so no one has to watch me drool.”  

— Plane wear  

“I usually bring a Rodarte ‘Radarte’ sweatshirt that’s really comfortable; it’s something close to pajamas but not pajamas. Close-toed shoes are very important. I am not a fan of flip-flops on planes.”  

— Underwear  

“I usually pack so much underwear, it’s as if I’m moving somewhere.”


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