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The Tech Gear And Gadgets I Travel Around The World With: September 2021

I travel with a lot more electronics than most so fortunately over the past year or two there’s been a narrowing gap between power and portability. Inside my Aer Travel Pack 2 there’s a mobile podcast studio, app development office, and video production house. All of the gear I travel with has a purpose and since I updated this list in 2017, the tech I carry has become a lot smaller.

Here’s all the tech I travel with, which might give you some ideas on durable, useful, or otherwise entertaining gear for your own travels.

Laptop: 16″ Macbook Pro: 2.3 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9, 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8 GB

Camera Gear

Main Video Camera: Sony a7C with Tamron 17-28mm Lens

Action Camera: GoPro HERO9 Black

Tripod: Joby GorillaPod Focus with Joby Ballhead and Neewer Carbon Fiber tripod (66 inch). For locked off shots, I use the Samson MK-10 microphone stand.

An Aputure MC for portable lighting.

Audio Equipment

On top of the Sony a7C, I’m using a Deity D3 Pro for recording audio.

For podcasting, I use the Audio-Technica ART2100x-USB microphone.

Headphones: Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Phone (Daily Driver): iPhone 11 (128 GB)/(Product) Red

I also travel with a Nexus 5X, primarily because it’s stock Android and gets updates from Google before most other phones, making it ideal for testing development versions of my WiFox and DroneMate apps.

Drone

Drone: DJI Mavic Air 2

All of the electronics in this list, including the DJI Mavic drone, fit into one backpack, my Aer Travel Pack 2. I use two SwissGear Hanging Toiletry Kits to better organize and stack everything inside my backpack. These are the other bags and non-electronic gear I use.

Luggage: Osprey Packs Sojourn Wheeled Luggage, 60L

Daypack: Osprey Daylite

To keep track of my luggage and gear, I use Apple’s Airtags.

Portable Batteries: Anker PowerCore 13000.

Connectors, Converters, And Other Accessories

For reading books or when I need a larger, mobile screen in general, I use a 64 GB iPad Air 2020 protected by an Apple Smart Folio with an Apple Pencil 2.

If you’re curious, you can see the the gadgets in my backpack way back in 2012 and I keep an updated list the gear I travel with here.

The 4 Best Places To Eat In Thamel Kathmandu

Thamel is Kathmandu’s backpacker district but that doesn’t mean this part of Nepal’s capital city doesn’t have some of the best food travelers can eat. Vibrant and full of local, some locally a hole in the wall, options, these are 4 places you should eat in Thamel.

1. Tibetan & Nepali Kitchen

The 4 Best Places To Eat In Thamel Kathmandu

There’s plenty of space inside but you might miss this family run business cooking up amazing thali (tasting of local curries), thenthuk (wide noodle soup), and of course momos. Tibetan & Nepali Kitchen is cozy inside with the kitchen in partial view and the food served on order with quick turnaround times.

2. Mo Mo Cave

mo mo cave thamel kathmandu

You’ll have to walk through some construction and under a building with a questionable foundation but believe me, the momos at Mo Mo Cave are worth it. Momos take time here in this small family operation that makes the best momos, small, steamed or fried dumplings with vegetarian, chicken, or beef options. Eat here at least once when you’re in Thamel and it probably won’t be your last visit.

3. Himalayan Java

himalayan java

More on the beaten path, this small coffee chain is a little hipster with a lot of local love for good reason. The coffee at a place called Himalayan Java (as one would hope) is good with pastries to match, not to mention excellent free wifi. A nice place to relax, especially during the slower afternoon hours.

4. Yangling

yangling kathmandu thamel

Almost combining a little of the above, Yangling serves up hot Tibetan classics with some local favorites. Yangling’s crowded and the tables slightly messy from the meal someone had before you but the food is tasty, comforting, and served fairly quickly. Being on the edge of Thamel, depending on where you’re staying, Yangling is a longer (10-20 minute walk) but if thupka (thin noodle broth soup) makes you’re heart sing, it will carry your feet away.

More Food For You

A few other places worth mentioning are Black Olive Cafe for breakfast and if the weather is nice, a warm patio to get your day started. Speaking of morning, next to OR2K which has a large variety of Westernized vegan and vegetarian dishes, there’s a small coffee stand with no name. It’s right on the corner here and hard to miss on the ground but if you want freshly brewed local coffee with Thamel’s unique flavor, this coffee stand has your name on it.

How To Use Travel Blogs To Plan A Trip

How To Use Travel Blogs To Plan A Trip

There are a lot of travel blogs on the Internet but as websites keep procreating, many independent sites get lost under search garbage. Travel blogs used to be a primary source of vacation planning until everyone and their weird relatives hopped on Facebook to scream at each other. Still, there are many independent creators focused on writing specific and personalized information about the places you want to go.

Here’s how to find and use travel blogs to plan a better trip than a bland web search can get you.

The Benefit Of Blogs

As clearly biased as this is going to sound, blogs are probably the most free places online. Generally independent from the pressures of algorithms (like YouTube), few worries of shadow banning, and not being like based, many blogs are run by people who inherently enjoy sharing information. Blogs typically live and die by Google search results and since competing with larger sites on common searches has become more difficult, crafty bloggers tend to get specific. Really specific, like the “the best way to get a taxi in Istanbul.”

best taxi istanbul

Blogs are often updated more frequently than tent pole pages in mainstream media because there are a lot of travel bloggers, blogging about somewhere you want to go, at any given time.

Finding Good Travel Blogs

Sifting through abandoned blogs and sites made purely for search engine optimization (SEO) to find quality travel blogs isn’t too difficult. To find a site first, enter in the search term you’re looking for (e.g. “best places to eat in Moldova“) followed by “travel blog.” This sounds silly I know, but entering in “best places to eat in Moldova travel blog” will get you past Google’s generic recommendations and a bunch of bland TripAdvisor recommendations.

Ratings from those sites, short reviews written by anonymous people, and everything being 4.7 stars doesn’t actually give you useful travel advice. But by searching through travel blogs you get detailed articles such as solo female travel in Bangladesh by locals, expats like Turkey’s For Life, and travelers who’ve extensively explored a destination (how about Alaska).

tokyo japan

It’s a good idea to look at the dates of posts to see how recent they are and check the latest posts to see how fresh a given blog is. A lot of blogs don’t add dates to posts because of a misguided understanding of SEO (please, stop doing that) so seeing how active a given blogger is on social media can help with your site freshness check.

How To Use Travel Blogs

Many travel blogs have information categorized by destination or country, mode of travel, or even cuisine. Depending on the site design, I recommend going to the “blog” or “about” pages. The blog page will usually show you recent topics and the about page will give you an idea about the person writing everything. Does the blogger travel like you, have the same interests when visiting a city… there’s a lot you can learn.

Some travel bloggers also run diverse tours and can be contacted with feedback – a lot of us are happy to help. Your question might even turn into an entire blog post about how to use travel blogs to plan your next trip.

Although they’re not as easy to find through a Google search (try DuckDuckGo anyone?), the blogosphere is thriving, independent, and full of useful advice and thoughtful creators. Once you find a blog or blogger that vibes with you and is especially helpful, make sure to sign up for their newsletter, YouTube, or other social channels to keep up in between trips and have a handy resource before the next one.

How To Cook Turkish Borek The Easy Way

Turkish borek is a food you might be familiar with since there’s a version of it in most cultures. Dough with tasty things stuffed inside then cooked until the exterior is crispy and the insides soft. Creating borek is traditionally a time consuming task but switching from an oven to a stove top, you can prepare the dish within 15 minutes.

Once you’re ready, it’s only about an hour to cook this vegetarian Turkish dish. You can watch the entire process in this video (with my mom!) or read on.

What You’ll Need

There are some key ingredients like the phyllo dough, olive oil, and eggs (or egg substitute to make it a vegan Turkish recipe).  In this recipe we’re using a classic spinach, onion, and tomato filling but you can get creative! Just keep the basic preparation steps in place and in proportion.

How To Cook Turkish Borek The Easy Way

  • 1 package 3-layer phyllo dough
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons black cumin seeds
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 large bag of spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water

Preparing The Filling

Start by chopping your onion, spinach, and tomatoes into bite-size pieces (i.e. not too fine). Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot, toss your chopped spinach, tomatoes, and onion in, and set it to a low to medium heat until it simmers. While that’s cooking, in a separate bowl crack an egg, pour 2 cups of water, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk until it’s thoroughly mixed and let it sit while you move on to the next step.

Getting The Dough Ready

Using a tablespoon of olive oil, coat the bottom of a large pan. Take a tablespoon of cumin seeds and sprinkle them across the bottom. Then take your phyllo dough and cover the bottom in a layer or two. It doesn’t have to be uniform, which saves you a lot of time, just make sure the bottom layer especially isn’t too thin.

turkish borek

After the first layer of dough, pour some of the egg mixture and add your (now lightly cooked) filling. Then start tearing more dough and put it on time. Then, another layer of egg mix and filling, then dough.

Cooking The Borek

The final step is to pour the remaining mixture on top of the entire borek; this helps keep the dough soft while it’s cooking. Once that’s done, sprinkle another tablespoon of cumin seeds on top. Now, you can place the borek on the stove at medium heat. Cook until it’s lightly brown (approximately 30 minutes) on the bottom, then flip it over. Once both sides are light brown, it’s time to let the borek cool to room temperature and eat!

To add to this meal you can make mercimek koftesi (spicy lentil balls) or some of these lesser known classic Turkish foods. Afiyet olsun!

What Is Harry Potter Shifting?

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2021.

Have you ever wished you could visit one of the fantasy worlds you’ve read about or seen in a movie? Well, shifters believe they can do just that and transport their subconsciousness to Hogwarts, specifically. There’s a pretty active community on TikTok #shiftingrealities where shifters explain how you can shift, what the experience is like, and what happens if you die in Hogwarts.

It all sounds a lot like lucid dreaming where you can control your dreams through various techniques to train your mind to recognize that hey, you’re in a dream and take over. Lucid dreams can often fly like Superman or transport anywhere in the world or perhaps, even to Hogwarts.

On a recent Geek Takeover Week episode of the foXoMad Podcast I and two Harry Potter experts shifted into reacting to shifter TikToks. You can watch a clip in the video above or listen to the full episode below. Evanesco!

4 Great Sci-Fi And Space Documentaries To Binge On Your Next Flight

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2021.

4 Great Sci-Fi And Space Documentaries To Binge On Your Next Flight

The truth is out there… there really isn’t a lot of great science or sci-fi adjacent content on most inflight entertainment systems. Fortunately, the Internet gives us access to all there is to see out there including some of these excellent science and sci-fi crossover documentaries you can download before your next flight.

1. The Phenomenon

There are plenty of UFO documentaries and programs out there but most come light on facts and heavy on cheesy animations. The Phenomenon though only focuses on events where there is tangible evidence and is very compelling. It’s hard to dismiss the interviews with former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Christopher Mellon. The Phenomenon will have you looking out your airplane window just a little more closely.

2. Woman in Motion

We all know Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise but you might not know what an impact the actor had on our real-life space program. Both inspirational and educational Woman in Motion embodies the best of the possible future Star Trek envisioned.

3. Never Surrender

Playwright and screenwriter David Mamet has said there are only 4 perfect films and Galaxy Quest is one of them. The Galaxy Quest documentary Never Surrender though is almost as good. Never Surrender looks behind the scenes of filming and looks back on the impact of Galaxy Quest 20 years after its release.

4. What We Left Behind

Armin Shimerman who played Quark on Deep Space Nine knew audiences would come to appreciate the show but right about now. DS9 wasn’t the most beloved Trek when it was on the air but streaming has certainly brought many to realize how good it really is. What We Left Behind is a serious, funny, and honest look back with engaging cast interviews.

A few other honorable mentions to add for Trekkies are Chaos on the Bridge and The Captains but besides those, there is a lot to explore behind the sets of our favorite fandoms.

About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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