This week we interview long term traveller and well-known blogger, Gary Arndt. On the road for six years, his site Everything Everywhere is one of the longest-running personal travel blogs out there.
In between visiting world heritage sites and shooting thousands of photos a month, Gary also somehow finds the time to record a travel podcast every week, speak at several conferences each year and answer interview questions from people like us.
So, Gary … what’s in your bag?
First off, tell us a little about yourself and your travels.
I have been traveling around the world since March 2007. Since then I’ve visited over 120 countries and territories around the world and almost 200 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
I also have a popular travel blog which I have been running the entire time. I’m a Lowell Thomas Award winner and was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 Best Blogs on the internet in 2010.
What tech gear do you carry with you, and why?
Over the last 6 years, the amount of gear I carry has actually shrunk considerably as technology has changed. Here is a current list of my tech related gear:
Nikon D300s. This is my primary camera. I also have a Nikon D200 in storage that I will occasionally bring with as a 2nd body. I also carry 3 lenses – 18-200mm VR, 12-24mm wide angle lens, and a 50mm f/1.4. The 18-200mm is what I use for 80% of my shots. It is a versatile lens that can cover most situations.
15″ MacBook Pro Retina with 16gb RAM and 500gb flash drive. I just got this last December and it is AMAZING. Fastest computer I’ve ever owned and fantastic for photo editing.
2 x 2TB Western Digital Passport USB hard drives. I keep them mirrored and in separate bags. They have an archive of all my photos on each.
iPhone 5 with 64GB RAM. This is in my pocket all the time. It replaced my point and shoot camera, voice recorder, video camera and several other small gadgets.
Kindle Paperwhite. This is my primary e-reader.
iPad 2. I use it to play games, surf and read. It also has a portfolio of my photography on it.
Monster Cable travel power strip w/ 3 outlets and USB.
Electronic accessories: international adaptors, battery chargers, USB adaptors and various charging cables.
Of those, other than your laptop, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
Probably my iPhone. It does so much. In theory, I could get by on nothing but that, but it would be a pain to have to read books on it, write with it and use it as a primary camera.
… and the one thing you would / have happily gotten rid of while travelling?
I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff already. Here is a list of things I no longer carry:
Point and shoot camera
Wifi detector (yes, I actually had one in 2007)
Voice recorder (I got one in Japan. It sucked.)
DVD’s (my original back up plan)
Ethernet cables. (I have one small retractable one I seldom use. I used to have a normal size one.)
Kindle Touch (the Paperwhite is sooooo much better)
Lavalier microphone (I used to do more video)
GPS (iPhone made it redundant)
iPod (iPhone made it redundant)
You run a weekly travel podcast from the road. What particular challenges does that pose?
Now the biggest problem is just bandwidth. I am almost always recording out of hotel rooms. Most of the time it is fine, but some hotels just have horrible bandwidth. I use my iPhone 5 as a mic when I’m doing radio interviews and it works great.
We recently moved the podcast from Skype to Google+ Hangouts. Even though we are now doing video, oddly enough it is easier to do on a bad connection. Because Google has its own backbone network, it is actually easier.
Have you had any major tech mishaps on your travels?
Nothing horrible. No failed hard drives or lost/stolen equipment. I did drop my original laptop back in 2008 and had to replace it, but it was still functioning (and still is). It just would give me occasional shocks.
Do you have any predictions for the future of travel technology?
Things will keep consolidating. Smart phones will keep getting better. Internet access will become even more ubiquitous. The #1 problem right now in internet travel and technology is the difficulty using 3G/LTE networks in other countries. The system is very complicated, expensive and locked phones make it impossible for some people.
Any travel tech tips you’d like to share?
Look for wifi reviews for hotels on sites like TripAdvisor and Hotels.com. Just because a hotel says they have wifi doesn’t mean it is in all the rooms, free or any good.
Always be on the lookout for open wifi on your smartphone.
Keep your batteries charged. Do it nightly if possible. You don’t want to be stuck with a dead camera battery.