We're going on an adventure

Recent Posts

How Much do Restaurants Cost in Bali?

How Much do Restaurants Cost in Bali?

Normally there would be no straight answer to this question: it depends on the restaurant, what you order,etc. Of course it does. But, surprisingly, I found that there were 2 (ok, 3) distinct types of restaurants in Bali, with 2 fairly consistent price ranges. Type […]

The Unexpected Impact of Having Less

The Unexpected Impact of Having Less

The less you have, the less you want. Having less stuff, having an uncluttered space, leads to a less cluttered mind. And once you’ve done the work to get there, it’s easier and easier to stay there- to not acquire more things you don’t need. […]

Packing (less) Light: 5 handy electronics that you really don’t need… but might want to pack anyway

Packing (less) Light: 5 handy electronics that you really don’t need… but might want to pack anyway

Most of my friends would say that I pack insanely light. I disagree: no matter how small my bag, there is SO much in it that I don’t need!

Here are five electronic items that I really don’t need at all… but I pack them anyway because they make life on the road so much easier 🙂

1. Bluetooth speaker

I tried to convince B not to get this because “aren’t our laptop speakers good enough?”.

I was wrong. I use our little speaker almost every day to listen to podcasts while I cook. It has better sound than a laptop and can follow us anywhere- great for music at the beach or the park.

We even have a friend who brings his bluetooth speaker to cafés and sets it up right there on the table… But his music is so good that no one complains 🙂

I would say that this little guy has earned a spot in my pack, but actually, B has been carrying it in his… Thank you….

We bought ours for about $30 in Bangkok.

2. Laptop

Ok, so this might be cheating- I really do need a laptop on the road for work. In fact, I am so attached to it that I lugged my Macbook the whole 118km walk along the Camino de Santiago. It was worth every extra pound!

Aside from work, having a full-sized screen and keyboard was priceless for reserving flights, late-night Netflix parties, and diffusing tense conversations with YouTube videos.

Price: a lot of dollars but worth it 🙂

3. HDMI cable (or equivalent for Mac)

Really useful when your Airbnb has a TV but you want to stream from your computer.

We didn’t bring one of these on our last trip, but we will on our next one!

$5-10 on AliExpress

4. GoPro

This is another purchase I argued against. Why would we want videos of ourselves? In water? Why???

…but I’m so happy that we have this little thing. Even though it doesn’t even have a screen, having such a tough little camera to follow us into waterfalls and through underwater caves has been priceless.

The only downside: I have 17 Gigs of videos on my hard drive that need to be edited… and somewhere in there is 45 minutes of bumpy scooter footage in the rain -_-

Pro tip: edit your videos the week you take them, otherwise they’ll sit there forever…

We bought ours for $180 at the time (GoPro HERO, the “budget” version), although now you can get a decent no-name “live action camera” on AliExpress for much less.

5. Headphone splitter

The days of sharing one pair of earbuds are over- we’re grownups now, we each get our own pair! This tiny cable allows you to connect two sets of headphones to one jack. Great for watching movies together in the airport.

We bought ours for about $8 in Kuala Lumpur.

6. Bonus: e-reader

This one is also cheating because it actually saves space. After my Kobo died last year, I alternated between real books and reading e-books on my computer.

Each had their drawbacks, so I was ecstatic to find a Kindle for sale at a pawn shop for $30. It’s like new, and will definitely have a spot in my pack on every trip.

 

These aren’t essentials by any means, but they are so nice to have that I’m happy to leave that second pair of jeans at home to make room for them. I hope you find this list useful too!

How can I fly for free?

How can I fly for free?

Trick question: you probably can’t fly for free. Here are your three next-best options: 1- Points You can accumulate points (especially easy if you’re American… harder if you’re not) and redeem them in the most advantageous way possible. However, contrary to popular belief, I think that […]

How can I save money on restaurants?

How can I save money on restaurants?

My new maxim is: “restaurants are not for eating”. Yes, you read that right. From now on, restaurants are a place to meet with your friends. If you want to eat, go to the grocery store. Crazy, right? I learned it from Mr Money Mustache. […]

How can I find a notary in France to certify a signature? How much does it cost?

How can I find a notary in France to certify a signature? How much does it cost?

Last week I needed to have a signature certified by a notary. I’ve had this done before, but I’m in France and wasn’t sure how it would work here or how much it would cost.

When I asked the internet what to do, it told me all sorts of things like “notaries in France don’t certify signatures” and “you need to get an appointment at the US embassy and pay $50” or “city hall will certify signatures but not without an official translation of the document”.

Guess what? After stressing out about the internet’s misinformation for two hours, I finally just used Google Maps to find the notary (“notaire”) nearest me and called them.

I asked if they could certify a signature (“certifier une signature”). They said sure, stop by anytime.

I showed up 15 minutes later, saw the notary immediately, showed him my passport & signed the document in front of him.

I said, “I hope it’s not a problem that the document is in English”. He said, “why would it be a problem? I’m certifying your signature, not the contents of the document”.

So. Much. Common. Sense. He stamped & signed the document and sent me on my way.

Bonus: Guess how much he charged me? Nothing. (Also: They had really nice AC and it was SO HOT outside)

Lesson of the day: Sometimes the internet doesn’t have all the answers. Sometimes real life is surprisingly straightforward.

PS: I’m 95% sure that the process for a certified copy (of a passport, etc) would be equally straightforward. Don’t worry about what the internet is telling you. Just find the nearest notary.

How can I find a notary in Indonesia?

How can I find a notary in Indonesia?

While we were in Bali last fall, we needed certified copies of our passports. We wondered whether this would be complicated. Turns out, finding a notary and getting a certified copy in Indonesia is surprisingly simple. Step 1: Find the nearest notary on Google Maps. […]

Welcome Aboard! / What is this about?

Welcome Aboard! / What is this about?

Good morning, Nice to hear from you. Thanks for reaching out about… This is how I start A LOT of my emails. It’s a bit trite, but it works for me. I feel pretty awkward about writing a blog, but I can write a decent […]