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Low-Tech Must Have Travel Gadgets

There are plenty of blog posts, and websites that will tell you all the high-tech things you can use to make travel easier, and/or more productive.  One really good one was written by Tim Ferriss, (author of the Four Hour Work Week), which recommends all kinds of useful things including a Canon Camera, a small laptop, and plenty of other gadgets.  Also, keep in mind there are some very effective low-tech/low-cost items that can make a trip really more pleasant and reduce travel hassles. These items are not written about often given the low cost, and just general lack of imagination.   So, here are few low-tech/low cost travel essentials:

1. Glad Food Storage Bags - Use the gallon-sized bags for solid items, and quart-sized bags for the liquids. Remember all liquids need to be in a 3 fl. oz. or less container.  The gallon bags can be used to carry all sorts of things including toiletries that are not liquids (razors, tooth brushes, etc.), batteries, and small cords such as iPhone chargers, and even headphones.  The big advantage to these bags is that these are clear, so that you can see what’s inside.  Plus a box of 30 these bags costs under $5.00.  Sure these bags will wear out after few trips, but are low-cost enough to replace.  And let’s not forget how handy these are for snacks, including healthy nuts. 

2.   A small pad, and a pen are essential for traveling.  I’m not necessarily talking about big journal.  There are many travelers that really love to and get value from journaling. I’m a bit lazy in that regard, but I still carry around a small pad in my back pocket that I use to jot down notes such as recommendations from people that I meet, phone numbers, street signs, and random thoughts.  You won’t always have time to type things into your iPhone.  So having a small pad with a pen is invaluable.  Also keep a few extra pens with you to fill out immigration papers. Chances are the person sitting next you on the plane won’t have a pen, so it’s good to have an extra one to loan out as a way to perhaps make a friend!

  1.  A small roll of good old-fashioned duct tape can always come in handy to repair a torn backpack, or even hold together ripped pants until you get another pair.
  2. Hold/cold therapy pads prove to be invaluable when traveling to take care of the inevitable sore muscles from long hiking, and lugging around a briefcase.  I am partial to the large Tiger Balm patches.  Other brands, while less expensive don’t work as well, and you need the large size to stick.  (The smaller sizes slip off.)
  3. If you’re an exercise enthusiast a TRX cable, and a jump rope come in handy. With these 2 “gadgets” you can leave home the running shoes, which take up way too much space in your luggage.  (You can skip running for a week…) You are only using a carry-on bag – aren’t you?

While plenty of high-tech gadgets can enhance a trip, a few low-tech items also should be part of your supplies.  I’d love to hear about any other low-tech items you use when hitting the road.

Travel Often and Light,

John R.

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The Underbelly

You may have seen that funny, quirky & irreverent guy on TV, Anthony Bourdain.  And some of you may know that he wrote a provocative book Kitchen Confidential, which offers an insider’s look into the secret world of restaurants, and their kitchens. When I read it, I was surprised that Mr. Bourdain was kind enough to mix in a few pointers on some tools of the trade that you can use in your home kitchen,

On Page 77. Mr. Bourdain recommends:

1. That you replace your knives with “…the lightweight, easy-to-sharpen and relatively inexpensive vanadium Global knives, very good Japanese products that have – in addition to their other many fine qualities- the added attraction of looking really cool.”

2. “If you need instruction on how to handle a knife without lopping of a finger, I recommend Jacques Pepin’s La Technique.”

3. “…a flexible boning knife for filleting fish, butchering tenderloins and boning out legs of lamb…”

… and on page 78, he goes on about…

4. what he refers to as – “Numero uno–the indispensable object in most chefs’ shtick – – – is the simple plastic squeeze bottle. Maybe you’ve seen Bobby Flay on TV artfully drizzling sauce around a plate with one of these – – – the man’s been making Mexican food look like haute cuisine for years with these things.”

So, a few really good knives and a handful for squeeze bottles and per Anthony Bourdain you are on your way to wowing your guests at your next home dining event! Let us know how it worked out!

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Permission Granted…

I am just about finished reading Stopping -How to be Still When You Have to Keep Going by Dr. David Kundtz.  For anyone with too much to do, not enough time, who has tried a bunch of time management methods, and still feels harried all too often, you need to, no must, read this book.  Dr. Kundtz, in his caring and clear style points out after a while cutting and cramming just do not work. When there is nothing left to cut, and you’ve flipped and reshuffled your schedule over & over, you need to ask yourself, “Now what?”  The answer, “Stop.”  Dr. Kundtz details clearly the three main methods of Stopping, i.e, the Stillpoint (under a minute daily stops), Stopovers (a few days of quiet time – You know that I am a big advocate of traveling alone, which is just one type of Stopover), and the Grinding Halt (handling with grace a major life event such as a job loss, divorce, or illness.)  If you think you have too many family and/or work obligations to Stop, then you especially need to read this book. The return on investment is too big to pass up.

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Relaxing to Song …

Sometimes after a long day of travel, whether it’s for business or travel, it’s good to kick back and listen to some really good music.  So check out up and coming artists Adam Lee on a guitar that comes alive, and Sean Rumsey‘s vocals.  And check out more of  Sean Rumsey on The Voice. Enjoy, and rest up for your next trip!

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Before the inevitable happens…

While Finn Janning’s book is titled The Happiness of Burnout (italics mine), neither the author nor its protagonist, the renowned artist Jeppe Hein, advocate getting to the stage of burnout. This true account of how Mr. Hein found his way into, through, and out of burnout is the book’s real value, i.e., clearly articulating the these 3 stages. If you are a bit harried and rushed you are not yet burned out. It’s when apathy takes over and you are just going through the motions of life that real burnout is occurring. The book describes Mr. Hein’s experience, often in his own words, of what true burnout feels and does to a person. Also, fighting your way out of burnout takes more than just a break from work. The author’s description of Mr. Hein’s way out, and discoveries while in the burnout process are clear, although sometimes unexpected. A must read for anyone thinking they are approaching burnout, or are stuck in the throes of this condition.

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A day in NYC or India?

April 15 2015. Indian consulate. Nose in a book for about an hour – I turned to my left, and noted the adorable Indian girl about 6 years old sitting with the same scowl on her face that I undoubtedly had on mine from waiting to deal with the Indian bureaucracy. (I was there on company business, and she there with her parents.) “So how ya doing?” I asked. I guess I have not spoken to a young child in a while, as a more appropriate greeting would have been more along the lines of, “How are you today?”, but the Bronx in me blurted out. “I am fine”, was her perfunctory reply. To which my charming, “That’s good.”, was initially met with silence. Then she said, “Look!”, and held up a small Pluto doll. “Pretty cool!”, I was now hitting stride :) . She went on to explain how Pluto can do flips (which she demonstrated by tossing it in the air), eat mosquitoes (thankfully no demo), and is quite sneaky as she slipped Pluto behind her back. Her parents asked her a few times to quiet down, and asked me if she was either boring or bothering me. To which I replied, “Not at all. She is quite entertaining’”. As she and her parents were leaving, she asked my name, and I learned her name was Akaja. When I finally got called to go on the consulate line, and sort through the documents, I was annoyed as heck to learn I needed to come back at 4 pm to get my stamped documents. So later at 4:30pm with the requisite scowl on my face, and no idea how much longer I’d have to wait for my stamped documents. “John!” I heard from behind. When I turned my head there was Akaja with a big smile, Pluto in her hand, and her parents by her side. They too were summoned back to the Indian consulate for whatever reason. And Akaja went right into demonstrating how Pluto could swing on the ropes separating the lines at the consulate. Despite what turned out to be a 5-hour chaotic wait at the consulate, I helped a young child smile that day, and got a few chuckles for myself. I’d call that a very good day.

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Changing Flights Midstream

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Buffer I am here: http://bit.ly/lxnlcO … in a Malaysian train station heading to the airport en route to Thailand. More later …  It took me 3 hours to change my flight!  It was nightmare. The steps went as follows:  1. I … Continue reading

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I am dining on Murtabak, a typ…

I am dining on Murtabak, a typical Malaysian dish made with mince meat and lots of pepper! http://yfrog.com/kio2tsj  If anyone has a recipe, perhaps you would be kind enough to let our readers in on it.

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Simple Jungle Breafast

After a day long hike into the Taman Negara, Malaysia. I was looking forward to a hearty breakfast the next morning before heading out again.   I got an overload of carbs with a banana and 4 pieces of toast. So I asked if there was anything else I could get for breakfast and added that I was happy to pay extra.  Before I could look over a menu, I got another plate  with a banana and 4 pieces of toast. By that time, the next group was heading out into the forest, so unlike the slow carb diet as advocated by Tim Ferriss in The Four Hour Body, I headed out  with 2 plate fulls of overloaded carbs in my belly. This is one of those little things that just make you smile when traveling a bit off the beaten path.

 

 

 

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Why a Canopy Walk?

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Buffer       Well, 1st of all let’s be clear as to what is a Canopy Walk.  Basically, such a walk is possible because some brave souls climbed up some trees, and set up narrow walkway bridges.  To get to … Continue reading

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