Getting the truck ready for dogs

We’ve been going back and forth over what to do with our fifth-wheel camper, Harvey the RV, since we’re not needing to hit the WordCamp circuit quite as hard to get the word out about BruteProtect any more.

We’ve considered selling it and buying a smaller camper to pull behind my SUV, selling it and buying a small motorized RV where the dogs could be more comfortable when we travel, or just selling it and not replacing it at all.  But, in the end, we’ve decided to hold on to what we’ve got, and do a little “remodeling” in the truck to make it more dog friendly.  It’s big, it’s comfortable, we’ve put a good amount of money into prepping it for working on the road, and so it stays, and we’re working on planning extended trips to California and Florida for this winter, and maybe a quick jaunt up to Wyoming or Montana over the summer.

But before any of that, we’re taking it out for the long weekend to get back into the swing of things, so it was time to get the truck dog friendly!

Pretty happy with it for a 2 hour project (including 2 trips to Lowes and a trip to PetSmart!)

Why do you go to Disney?

I’ve never understood it… I’ve been to Disney World and Disneyland once each, both when I was under the age of 13, and enjoyed it, but I don’t understand why adults choose to spend their vacations at Disney, when, for the less than a week at Disney, you could spend a week on the Mediterranean or in South America or Thailand or Scandinavia or, or, or…

So, I know a lot of people love Disney… can someone explain it to me?  I welcome your comments with open ears and an open mind…

Getting a Prepaid Data SIM in India (with Vodaphone)

Last year, Jon Brown turned me on to getting local data SIM cards while traveling internationally.  We’re in Mumbai now, on our first international adventure of the year, so I dug in to figure out how to get a data SIM in India.

Receiving some mixed information from both people and the internets, we set out this morning to get Indian data SIMs for my Samsung Note 4 and Becky’s iPhone 6 (both from Verizon).

We asked about the requirements at 4 different shops, and they were all the same.  You need:

  1. A photocopy of the photo page of your passport
  2. A photocopy of the visa page of your passport
  3. A passport-sized photo (we saw a number of places that will take these for you– we got ours done for 50 — about $0.80 — and received 8 passport photos)
  4. The address for your hotel

Not super fast, but it’ll work!

We elected to go with Vodaphone because they reportedly have the best data speeds, they have a store just down the block from our hotel, and we’re not going to be leaving Mumbai.  If we were going to be touring in the countryside, we would probably get Airtel.  There is currently no 4G LTE cellular in Mumbai (as of March 2015), but Airtel seems to be putting 4G into more and more Indian cities, so hopefully it will be here before too long…

Once you get set up with an account in the store, expect the process to take about 3-4 hours before your phone is ready to use.

You’ll need to:

  1. Complete the paperwork in store (takes 10-15 minutes)
  2. Put the SIM card in your phone
  3. Wait until you start showing bars of service– this took 30-45 minutes.  During this time you can set your APN to either “www” or “internet” — both seem to work
  4. Once you’re seeing bars of service, call “117”, press “2” for English.  Note that, after pressing “2”, you may hear a message in Hindi, but you WILL be connected to an English-speaking operator
  5. Wait.  You’ll receive a couple of text messages immediately, then you’ll receive a couple after a while– the final one will say “Your Internet pack is valid now”.  Ours arrived two hours after the first text message came through.
  6. Restart your phone

We paid about ₹1400 for 5gb of data.  Had I realized the speeds and that it’s not able to be used as a mobile hotspot, we probably would have opted for less data– there’s no way we’ll use this much in a week.  But still, we now have essentially unlimited data for less than Verizon charges for 100mb.

Are you traveling to India?  I hope this is helpful!  If your experience varies from mine, please drop a comment below.  You can also find a wealth of useful information on plans and prices here.

What’s In My Bag?

I’ve always really enjoyed looking at what others carry around with them day in and day out, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying different things and distilling what works best for me.  Hopefully this is helpful!

After picking up my camera, I switched my bag over to a Lowepro Fastpack 250, which is a great everyday bag because it will carry my camera gear plus my travel/tech gear. For a while now I’ve spent at least 150 days on the road every year, which means I really prize the ability to have everything that I need ready to go without having to think about it.

After struggling with solutions like Gridit for a while, I stumbled upon the Amazon Universal Travel Case, which is amazing. This box has everything I need to support my devices anywhere in the world.

Without any further ado, here’s what I carry around every day:


Items 1-14 all go in my Amazon case (#15), 16-18 go in my pockets, everything else goes straight in the bag.

  1. Mini DisplayPort => VGA Adapter
  2. Lightning => HDMI Adapter
  3. Mini DisplayPort => HDMI Adapter
  4. Native Union JUMP Cable with Micro USB Connector
  5. Travel surge protector
  6. Targus Presentation Remote
  7. Kikkerland UL03-A Universal Travel Adapter
  8. Spare Euro plug adapter
  9. Square Reader
  10. AA Batteries
  11. Mini USB Cable
  12. Micro USB Cables
  13. 45W Apple Power Adapter with PlugBug
  14. HDMI Cable
  15. Amazon Universal Travel Case
  16. Car key
  17. Kershaw Cryo
  18. “Dance Floor” micro flap wallet from OneStarLeatherGoods. It looks like he doesn’t make this model any more, but all of his stuff is quality.
  19. ExOfficio Boxers, because nobody has ever said “I’m so glad I don’t have a spare pair of underwear with me”
  20. AAA Batteries
  21. CR123A Batteries
  22. Some $5 bills. I try to keep 10 fivers in my pack all the time, because they’re always useful for tipping while traveling.
  23. Streamlight Tactical Flashlight – SO BRIGHT, although I’m thinking about switching to a flashlight with both red and white bulbs like this guy
  24. Maui Jim sunglasses
  25. Business cards from Moo
  26. Jetpack Battery Pack – This is the best battery pack I’ve ever used.
  27. Shout Wipes, because I like love to spill on myself
  28. Pens
  29. 11″ MacBook Air – So tiny and light, so powerful
  30. Bose QC20i Headphones – Good sound, great noise canceling, but my ears get sore after having these in for more than 3-4 hours at a time, so on longer trips I also carry
  31. Bose QC15 Headphones (now discontinued)
  32. 3.5mm Audio Cable – for tunes in rental cars
  33. Fujifilm X-T1 with 18-135mm Lens
  34. Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4 Prime Lens
  35. Wide Angle and Macro lens adapter – Recommended to me by Jeff Golenski, it’s a fun and useful lens adapter for under $30
  36. Lens cloth
  37. Fuji Flash
  38. Focus Rapid Shoulder Sling
  39. Extra camera batteries
  40. Camera battery charger
  41. Camera Remote Control

Also, I forgot to take this out of its special pocket, but I also carry a pill box with Advil, Tylenol, Zantac, Immodium, and Pepto Bismol. Because sometimes life hurts. Also, whenever I travel, I also throw my Kindle Paperwhite in there, but it’s sitting on my nightstand right now.

Is there something I’m missing? A better version of something I’m carrying? Chime in!

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