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How To Stay In Shape Mentally And Physically During Lockdown

edinburgh window

Maintaining an exercise routine can be difficult during normal times and you may have noticed any workout momentum you did have waning as quarantine goes on. I recently spoke with RT Training & Performance Center gym owner and trainer Christos Monastiriotis about how to keep your body and mind engaged during quarantine on the latest episode of the foXnoMad Podcast.

In many ways working out while you’re limited to home is a lot like staying in shape when traveling. You need both motivation and creativity to keep up with good hotel room workouts so most of Christos’ advice is applicable to frequent travelers. From nutrition to online personal training (offered at RT Training & Performance Center) plus the often neglected mental component, it’s an enlightening conversation you can listen to right here.

Cleer ALLY PLUS Provide Budget ANC Earbuds For Travelers

For a long time active noise canceling (ANC) was a feature limited to bulky, expensive headphones. For travelers, the trade off has been a difficult one but ANC, when done right, is a technology that’s hard to travel without once you’ve used it. Cleer’s ALLY PLUS are a pair of ANC earbuds which have recently dropped in price and come with respectable ANC as well.

You can watch my full review in the video here.

Why ANC?

Most headphones have some sort of noise isolation – a pretty broad term meaning they block outside sounds so you can hear your music or podcast better. Noise isolation is somewhat inherent in headphones; they are, after all, sitting in or over your ears while simultaneously producing sound directly into them.

ANC uses reverse sound waves (analyzed by the microphones in the earbuds) to silence the outside world. When done effectively, it can make the cafe or airplane you’re flying in become a silent room. The ALLY PLUS aren’t as effective as the Bose QuietComfort or Jabra Elite 85h with its ANC. The outside world isn’t completely shut off but its the best ANC under $200 in an earbud I’ve tried. The battery life is decent, package small, and sound quality good enough to be a solid budget ANC option for many travelers.

DJI Osmo Action 2020 Review: Getting Better With Age

It’s rare that a tech product improves with time but since its release last year, DJI’s Osmo Action has gone from a cheeky upstart to a real contender for best action camera. Through a series of firmware updates DJI has corrected a lot of the initial problems present when the Osmo Action was first released still, those patches might not be for everyone.

To find out how good the DJI Osmo Action is in 2020 you can watch the video above or read on.

Breaking Ground

The most noticeable feature of the DJI Osmo Action is its front facing screen. The first 4K action camera to have a screen on the front as well as back, this valuable hardware feature had some issues. Notably lag and screen timeouts which, among other defects, have been fixed through firmware updates.

A front facing screen is invaluable in many situations though most obviously for frequent vloggers. Making sure you’re in frame with action cameras, although they typically have wide fields of view, is cumbersome without a way to see for yourself. Speaking of field of view, the Osmo Action lens can capture 145 degrees – not quite as wide as others but not as fish-eye looking either. Depending on your preference this can be a pro or con but I would say if you do a lot of helmet mounted filming (e.g. skiing, motorcycle) wider would be preferable.

Low Light Is RockSteady

Not surprisingly for a company that makes gimbals the Osmo Action’s RockSteady stabilization feature is impressive. RockSteady keeps your video looking smooth even if you’re bouncing down a mountain on skis. Additionally, the Osmo Action’s low light performance is impressive for an action camera; allowing you to see the darker parts of an image by not going overboard on contrast.

dji osmo action

Indoors are generally not good shooting conditions for the small lenses of action cameras but the Osmo Action does better than most. Colors are also represented vibrantly without over-saturating and skin tones look excellent. The microphone is decent, enhanced with a firmware update, or can be enhanced with hardware.

Lots In The First Gen

The Osmo Action is a look at the future of action cams with its front facing screen, solid stabilization, and image quality aiming to be a good camera that doesn’t necessarily have the word ‘action’ before it. Clearly a work in progress as the first action camera by DJI, the Osmo Action is improves and adds features with each software update every 1-2 months.

Still, users who don’t want to bother with firmware updates you might be better off looking at a fully baked competitor. You won’t get the latest cutting edge features but won’t have to deal with updating software. For travelers who want a front facing screen, good low light quality, plus a more realistic field of view the Osmo Action is really the top choice – but only if you remember to update its firmware on a very regular basis.

What Happens When You Say “Yes” To Every Scam In India, Again

About two years ago during my 14th, 18th… I-can’t-keep-count-of trip to India – I got an idea. India, like computer code, can be daunting when you first see it but once you understand how it works it becomes a playground. I’ve seen scams attempts of all types in India so eventually decided to have fun with scammers who approached to find out what would happen if you said yes to every scam in India?

Earlier this year, I asked the question again in New Delhi and said “yes” to every scam attempt I was approached with. This time around, I discovered some updated scams plus more confrontational scammers you can see in the video above. Once you know what to look out for and how to handle these scammers your trip will go a lot smoother – but in case you don’t, I’ll show you what happens.

How To Find A Reputable Driver In India

Finding a reliable driver for your visit to India can be challenging since operators online are as difficult to navigate as most Indian roads. Getting around India often requires the use of a car so you want a driver that’s not only knowledgeable but also understands what travelers are looking during their trip.

To make things easy on yourself, there’s one driver in India who should be the first person to contact: Budhiman Rawat. Here’s why.

Drivers In India

There are a few important things to consider when hiring a driver in India besides knowing the roads. Most drivers will know how to get around however many try to cut corners to shave time off trips. (The more people they can transport the more money they’ll earn.) This incentive to be quick means a lot of drivers can be out of touch with the travelers they’re driving, particularly if those travelers aren’t Indian. It also means you might miss lesser known stops along the way like this cave where The Dark Knight Rises was filmed.

budhiman india driver

Due to sheer numbers, drivers will often be accustomed to Indian clients for whom the journey isn’t part of the trip. Indian clients are also accustomed to the food so they don’t usually have to be as picky about rest stops. Chats with the driver are usually non-existent.

Visitors In India

As a visitor aside from putting your life in the hands of a driver, they’re often part of your travel experience as well. A local to locals where class dynamics don’t encourage conversation is one thing but as a visitor, your driver is a local you’ll be spending a lot of time in an SUV with.

budhiman india car driver

English is important but so is personality and a local driver who understands the variations in this dynamic. Budhiman is a driver who puts together all of these intangible elements leaving everyone he’s driven with nothing but high praise and recommendation.

Why Everyone Loves Budhi

Budhiman (Budhi for short) is from Damak, Nepal. 20 years ago he made his way to India, first getting jobs as a bus cleaner, then kitchen cook, eventually landing a gig as a local driver in New Delhi. He’s been the main driver for Wandering Earl Tours for the past decade, where I first met him.

Through a combination of a warm personality, wise business savvy, and experience, Budhi has developed his own driving services company. Budhi is personable, always drivers the under the speed limits, and knows the best (i.e. cleanest) places to stop and eat.

Greeting you with a smile every time isn’t something you’ll find on an online review but Budhi truly makes you feel like a passenger rather than cargo being dropped off from one place to another. The van journeys become a pleasant, unexpected part of your trip. You can get in touch with Budhiman through his Facebook page or Wandering Earl Tours (request him by name) for travel anywhere across India.

Is The McKinnon Camera Pack 35L Backpack Worth The Price?

The McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is a highly anticipated backpack for its features but controversial due to its price. A custom-designed collaboration between vlogger Peter McKinnon and NOMATIC, the Camera Pack aims to solve many problems with one-bag travel… for $599.

Many of you might expect that price puts the McKinnon Camera Pack 35L as a purely luxury item but for many travelers, certain functionality will justify the cost. You can watch the video above to see more or read on.

Unpacking The Price

Before many of us carried full offices on our backs, the primary piece of luggage we paid for was the check-in kind. Over the past 15 years though, laptops, cameras, drones, and other expensive items (with batteries that aren’t allowed to be checked) have made our carry-on more essential.

Interior designing a suitcase or backpack that will primarily hold clothing isn’t very intricate and the reason by hiking backpacks aren’t ideal for most travelers. Clothing requires a large empty space since the contents can get jostled around and won’t be access until you arrive at your destination. Exterior durability on a bag like the Timbuk2 Copilot is where a lot of the cost goes.

mckinnon camera pack

Modern backpacks, often filled with over a thousand of dollars of equipment have a much more difficult task. They need to efficiently keep interior contents in place, allow for easy frequent access, plus have a rugged exterior that’s light. Oh, and be carried on your back comfortably at the same time. Missing those marks is why some backpacks fail.

McKinnon’s Answer

For those of us who travel with a lot of electronic or photographic equipment, a carry-on is vital gear meaning we often have to check-in a bag for less important stuff like underwear. For longer or international trips, the carry and check-in combo isn’t too much of a encumbrance however on a weekend or day trip even, using a single bag is ideal.

For those of you who only travel with a laptop, then it’s likely you already have enough space in your backpack for a weekend’s worth of clothes. Now add in a DSLR like the G85, maybe some lenses or a drone and forget about it. The McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is the solution to this issue Peter was facing.

Segmented Spaciousness

The McKinnon Camera Pack 35L itself isn’t $599 – that’s the cost with all the accessories specifically designed for this bag. Without those accessories, the backpack is $399, on par with something like a GORUCK GR2. Much less expensive generic versions of the accessories (a battery pouch for example) can be found on Amazon to save money. Of all the accessories, the Camera Cube Pack – a larger organizer that turns into a daypack and can be used with any bag – is the one to take a look at ($129).

Segmented into two sections, one for bulky electronics and the other for clothing, the 35 liter Camera Pack expands to 42 liters. At nearly 3 kilograms (~6 pounds) the Camera Pack 35L is heavy but might meet your needs. You’ll need to evaluate the Camera Pack 35L based on these 3 things in this order:

  1. Materials – The importance of durability increases with frequency of travel.
  2. Design – How are those materials are arranged to organize your specific gear.
  3. Features – Frequent international travel means a quick access passport pocket will be useful, or loading straps for examples. These are the little things that determine the ease of use for you in particular.

camera pack 35l

Where the McKinnon Camera Pack is trying to differentiate itself is in higher level aspects of design and heavily on features and in many ways it will check a lot of those boxes for many travelers. There are though less expensive alternatives, like the Thule Subterra 34L or Aer Travel Pack 2 which have excellent quality with designs applicable to many people.

A bag with a lot of specific features, functions, and pockets means it will have a very specific user base. Given that NOMATIC has a generous 30 day return policy, the McKinnon Camera Pack 35L might be worth testing if it’s within your budget. Remember, your electronics bag is the most important piece of gear you travel with since it protects all of your most valuable belongings.

The McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is a heavy bag that comes loaded with features and might solve one very big problem in one-bag travel – a bag that can actually be that.

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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