Tag Archives: apps

Big Trip Weekly Status Update – Three Weeks Left


  • Kept buying more stuff, but haven’t yet had a chance to re-pack after the first time I did it two weeks ago and noticed MOST of my clothes took up 3/4 of the space already.
  • Two purchases arrived that I’m excited about: 1) a old-school digital watch that I will use mainly to tell time without taking out my phone in public and to wake me up, again without leaving my phone out while I’m unconscious. I’ve started wearing it to get used to having something on my wrist and also to test-drive it. And 2) a tiny little indulgent purchase, the Joby tripod adapter for my phone for photographing the aurora (or try to at list). It’s very lightweight and folds flat.
  • Travel/Hostel sheets arrived. I’ve been testing it on my own bed for past few nights. Very thin (almost too thin) but still warm (my room’s warm anyway, though).
  • Finally bought my daypack…s. I got the packable version and a theft-proof version. I honestly can’t decide, partly because I don’t know if I have room for the larger theft-proof version. I’m going to decide near the very end and return the other one.
  • Started reading up on money and currencies. Let’s just say there are a lot of currencies.


  • Finally started going through the cities and booking places to stay. So far, I’ve only done Johannesburg and half of Lima. It’s still somewhat difficult to decide the hostel that’s right for me when I’ve never stayed in a hostel before. At this point, I’m relying a lot on reviews, and there always seems to be something negative said about each hostel. It is what it is.
  • What I realized that I also need to do is arrange airport transfers to and from the hostels. Having traveled in the US, I feel lucky to rely on public transportation or different types of private transport services. But when I go to a foreign land, airport transfer services are really useful, and I get why it’s important now!
  • So right now, for the first fourteen nights of my trip, I know where I will sleep for twelve of them. Progress.

Digital Preparation

  • I started setting up my devices and apps for traveling. Cleaned out a bunch of space on my devices and my Dropbox and downloaded the apps that people recommend.
  • WikiSherpa/Wikivoyage, while super basic, has been really useful. And it can be used offline once you downloaded the pages for the city!
  • Word Lens is also really cool. It’s the one where you aim the camera at a sign in a foreign language and it translates it for you. It was featured on an Apple commercial but was recently bought by Google. And I think that’s why they offered all the language packs for free “for a limited time” whatever that means. So I downloaded all the languages and tested out French both ways. It works pretty well.


  • Submitted my application for Chinese visa this past week. The process was much more efficient than I thought. Just a lot of prep work. So once I get that visa, I can technically travel all the way around the world.


  • I forgot to mention in the past two weeks because it’s been such a passive activity now for the past five months. I’m reviewing all six languages that I will be trying to speak on the trip. I had planned to review 10 lessons from each language over six weeks, and I will be starting week five. With every lesson review, I realize how much I forget. Let’s hope I can get by.

Next Week

  • One thing I’m still really concerned about is my luggage, especially when I still haven’t gotten everything I “need” for the trip and my luggage is probably full. So I really need to do another packing test and make some tough calls on what to and not to bring.
  • Accommodations. Gotta get those booked, at least most of them, something at the start of each city.

(18 days. WHAT?!)

(The sun just had a giant solar storm and triggered really strong aurora borealis that even northern US can see. I’m sort of jealous. Hopefully there’s some residual material leftover in the next month so I can see it in a little over a month.)