Categories
Europe Tips and Mistakes

What did I pack for Scotland?

Another article about what and how I packed for a trip, this time, my trip to Scotland. Even though this might seem like a boring article, it is always a good idea to see how another person prepared for a trip, and what went wrong (or not). I write these review once I am back, because it doesn’t make sense to just list what goes inside my backpack.

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North America

What to pack for Cuba?

After returning home, it is time to do a short analysis of what I did pack for Cuba and how I prepared it for the trip. It is an exercise I’ve been doing for a while, and I always end up learning a few things with the way I pack for a trip.

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Europe Journal

Derry/Londonderry, a city divided between two countries

Recently I visited a city in the north of Ireland, Derry, and I noticed that there are still a lot of confusion between the “Irelands”. The confusion has some reason to be, after all there are three Irelands. And with that, people get quite confused between the three. Yes, three! Not one, not two, but three!

But how?

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Journal

Why I don’t want to become a professional travel blogger

Blogging is something I really enjoy doing, it is definitely the hobby that takes most time from what I have left after work. And in the past I dreamt about becoming a travel blogger, but not anymore. Why and how did I change my mind?

Categories
Oceania Reviews

How much would it cost to go to Australia for two months?

People often ask me how much I spend during my travels. Each person has their own way of traveling, therefore the travel cost will always be relative. However, two months should be enough to make a few assumptions, and during the whole trip I kept record of all my spendings. But, how much does it really cost to travel in Australia for two months?

Categories
Europe Itineraries and Destinations Tips and Mistakes

Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle by car

Visiting Iceland is a dream for many people, and for several good reasons. Mostly for those breathtaking and almost unspoiled views. But not only because of that, also all that mysticism that Iceland brings in us for all of those unique natural activities, that for most of us can only fit in our imagination. Like volcanos, northern lights and the midnight sun. Even for those who only have a few days to visit, the Golden Circle is a short route really close to the capital, and easy to visit.

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Europe Journal

Visiting Auschwitz, the Nazi horror camps

This week I finally ticked off another one of my Erasmus’ goals, visiting Auschwitz!

If you are expecting something extremely depressing (though that would be just really odd), I highly recommend you to visit these camps during Winter, as in Spring most likely only the museum and stories will shock you. To be honest, I felt like the place is a bit too “tourist oriented“. All trees are perfectly shaped, the grass is perfectly cut and everything looks in great condition. I even saw people eating on the grass like if they were having a picnic… Very disrespectful from my point of view though…

Categories
Asia Europe Journal

How I had five amazing days in Istanbul

After a few tries, I finally ended up visiting Istanbul! A few misadventures prior to that and unforeseen changes of plans that lead to cancel the trip once, this time I flew alone and I ended up having a memorable time in this ancient city! So memorable that I decided to split this article by days.

Categories
Europe Tips and Mistakes

What did I pack for Disneyland Paris?

This trip was completely different from all my other travels, it was the very first time I traveled alone with kids! I decided to treat my nephew and niece with a special weekend, they were only 5 and 8 when we did this trip. It was their first time at Disneyland Paris, and they had no clue about where I would take them.

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Europe Journal

Some random facts about Greece

The article below is a translation of an old article about Greece that I have deep down inside my memories chest, considering it’s still one of my most viewed articles in Portuguese, I decided to translate it to English and share it with everyone! I tried to keep the same voice as the original version, in Portuguese, but some of these “facts” were mostly my perception of things when I was living there.


Some random facts about Greece

I think I will have a diabetic seizure soon, these traditions are killing me! Here in Greece it is tradition to give sweets to friends/work-mates when it’s someone’s birthday. Nothing strange to us, Portuguese people, because we do something alike…, and if we don’t bring anything to share, we all have that one friend who will force us to pay a few beers at any pub (preferably at an expensive one 😛 ) Well, considering this, the last two days we had 3 birthdays here at the office, which means, this is my third morning sweet :X

Another tradition around here, that I just got to hear about, is that when someone buys a new car that person also should give sweets to their friends/work-mates, so try to guess what I have here right now between my keyboard and belly? That it! What’s left of another morning sweet! This is my second one today…

Crystal clear waters in Skiathos
Crystal clear waters in Skiathos

Regarding the birthdays story, that’s something I still didn’t get properly, according to some touristic books, Greeks only commemorate their birthdays until their 12th birthday, but I’ve seen a few birthdays around here as well…, maybe just because yesterday I had two sweets as well :X And in theory, after their 12th birthday they only commemorate their “Name Day“. Almost all Greek names are based on some Saint (which has a day for them), and in that Saint’s day they commemorate something alike a birthday…, and just by coincidence, while I was writing this article another guy came up here with more sweets! I asked if it was his birthday, and his answer was “Name Day“, I will really become a diabetic if I stay here much longer… I am starting to think this is just an excuse for them to eat sweets for any random reason…

More random facts about Greece, not counting with their really complex and interesting history, but there are a few really odd things still today, one of them that comes from almost 2000 years ago…, the Mount Athos which I am eager to visit one day…, but not during this internship. Check the link that points to Mount Athos, that peninsula is “independent” for almost 2000 years, it survived wars, empires and even Governments…, all because this peninsula is ruled by the church! Alike Vaticano, but on a bigger scale…

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From my perspective, this is really absurd and very closed minded, it is a peninsula restricted from women and female animals, but only the domestic kind. Yes, that’s right, women are RESTRICTED from that peninsula! How on Earth does this still happen on XXI century? And from the images I see online, it is a place of an amazing beauty…, at least they kept it unspoiled and they didn’t let it become another touristic place filled with hotels and resorts…

Breaking news -> I just got offered another sweet! This is my third one today, if I am not mistaken :X And this one is definitely a birthday sweet 😛

Some random facts about Greece
Some random facts about Greece

And proceeding with the random facts about Greece…

Another protected area is Hydra island, which I plan to visit one day, if I have better luck with the stupid boat tickets…, it is an island restricted from all motorized vehicles and with a very specific urban plan, all of this to keep the typical architecture of the island intact! You might find many things to complain about the greeks, but in regarding their heritage they know what they’re doing…

Monemvasia is another place like this, a town I am planning to visit in June’s long weekend. It is a medieval town, also restricted from all motorized vehicles, and again, to keep the town/isle intact!

However, you can also find terrible examples of how not to do things, like what they did in Athens… Between the Temple of Olympian Zeus and one of the most typical districts in Athens, of which it’s history and mythology are so tied up, they created a wide and busy avenue…, which means, the Temple and the historical district are split apart by a busy avenue…, this is the price of “process” when people don’t plan properly.

Booking.com

This weekend I will try to visit Meteora, I had other plans, but I guess I really will go to Meteora, I’ll try to book a bedroom today (but first I’ll make sure I can get the train tickets), and I think this time I will finally visit this place. This area, according to everybody, it is absolutely breathtaking…, whoever saw the movie 300 probably remember  that Monastery that was on the top of a cliff…, these monasteries exist, and they are all in Meteora!

Another curiosity, is how precise these old people did things, apparently there are three temples that form a perfect triangle, and they are quite far away from the other ones, being one of them in one island… How on Earth did they do this? Based on stars only? I already visited these three temples, Parthenon, Temple of Poseidon in Sounio and Temple of Aphaea in Egina (the first, and so far only, island I visited in Greece).

And I think it’s enough of random facts, it’s your turn now and come to Greece and explore it 🙂 Even if it seems they don’t care much about the tourism, they have loads of amazing things for you to see 🙂


Now some proper facts about Greece!

As the excerpt above was from a younger Gil, I decided to add a few more things to this article, and some proper facts about Greece that might be unknown to some.

Fact #1

The modern borders of Greece, as we know it today, only has 70 years! Less than a century! Yes, it’s more than known that greeks are the pillars of modern society, democracy, philosophy, arts and much more. We all heard about Ancient Greece, and how important that period was and how that affected, in a positive way, the rest of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. But, what probably you haven’t noticed yet, is that Greece is located in a very very strategic region. Several wanted that part of Europe, Venetians had part of today’s Greece, then Italians, also the Ottomans, Bulgarians, and other folks. The greeks suffered a lot across times, though their identify as a people prevailed.

Fact #2

Greece, for us is Greece, for them is Hellas! Confusing? I couldn’t find exact information of why this is so different, but for what I could understand it started with the Romans, they called the people living in the area that is now Greece the “Graeci”, while those people used to call themselves Hellenes. Maybe we all should start calling that country by Hellas?

Fact #3

Besides Greece and Cyprus, greek language is base for several dialects in Turkey and Italy, some even closer to Ancient Greek than Modern Greek!

Cats are everywhere in Hydra island
Cats are everywhere in Hydra island

Fact #4

The greek flag has 9 stripes, 5 blue and 4 white. According to popular saying, each strip is for one syllable of their motto, Freedom or Death (Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος), it’s also said that the nine strips are one for each letter of the word Freedom (Ελευθερία). The blue cross, I think than one it is easy to guess 🙂

Fact #5

Greek coffee, Turkish coffee, Arabic coffee. They are all the same. But don’t tell this to a greek, or a turk or an arab, most likely they won’t like it. But you should try and drink it! Don’t drink it as an espresso, let it settle down and take your time to drink it. And unless you want to hate that coffee for life, don’t drink the very last part of it… Just take your time to drink it, and all will be fine. Patience is the trick to drink this special coffee.

Categories
Europe Reviews

What did I pack for Iceland?

This year was amazing, and at last I checked out of my bucket list one of my travel dreams, this trip to Iceland! No, I didn’t see the Northern Lights, at least not with my bare eyes… (more about this in another article). But it was a trip that taught me a lot about loads of things, even how to prepare a bag and the trip itself.

Categories
Journal Oceania

How I fell in love with Brisbane while having no expectations

Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland state, and not surprisingly, also the city with more population in the state. It is also the third city with more population in Australia, after Sydney and Melbourne (where I was before).

Categories
Journal Oceania

How I had three relaxing days in Gold Coast, the party city

Gold Coast

Gold Coast is one of Australia’s cities with more population, and the second one in Queensland. It was also my first stop in this state. The Gold Coast is known by its massive beach, the parties and the man-made canals. The area with more population is centered in one area by the beach, a strip of land bordered by the canals and the ocean, while the rest is very well-connected by the canals and with a more suburban look.

Categories
Journal Oceania

The Nimbin and Secret Lakes Tour

A trip becomes immensely more exciting when plans change…, well, I bet not all of you would agree with this though…, and to be honest, when this happens I don’t get that amazed either, but then I always end up loving it. So I guess I am going to Nimbin after all.

Categories
Tips and Mistakes

How to backup your photos while on the road

Why do we take photos when we travel?

Obviously that depends on each one of us, for some photography is their way of living, for others it is just a hobby, and for a few others it is a way to preserve memories. But there is something in common to all of us, losing all photos taken during our holidays is enough to spoil at least one day! And for those that make a living out of that, losing photos is also losing loads of money…

Usually I can’t take time off to travel for more than two weeks, but it already happened to me to lose all my photos on a weekend trip, and I still don’t know how I did it…, therefore, backing up my photos is something that became quite important to me. I learnt my lesson, and I because more cautious of my photos.

 

On my last trip, to Australia, my levels of concern increased to an almost psycho level…, two months on the other side of the world. Those were literally thousands of memories that I will never want to lose, and misplacing one of those cards filled with memories would be enough to have a few grumpy days. To avoid those levels of concern to reach a level of not even having fun, I had to look for other ways to insure I wouldn’t come back without those precious photos of my epic trip. After some research, I decided by a combination of strategies, all listed below. Yes, all of them!

Several memory cards

This is probably the most common way of backing up, actually, technically I don’t even think this can be considered as a backup as there will be no copies. I am talking about the camera’s SD card, where I’ll have all my photos, and we simply change to another card, and another, and another one… Since that was the most obvious option, and since I already had a few spare SD cards, I even considered to mail them home. But then, maybe that would stress me out even more. What if the envelope would be lost as well? I already had a bad experience with something alike, a package that never arrived to its destination… So, I had to think of other options…

SD memory cards
SD memory cards

Macbook Pro / iPad

At first I considered to take the iPad with me. Perfect to take several books inside a single device, I could take notes, I could edit photos right there, etc. But before I decided by that, for a month I only used the iPad to copy photos, to blog, etc. In fact, I can do all of them on an iPad, but it wasn’t the same as on a computer, and besides that, even the available space for backups was way more limited.

I hesitated a lot in taking the Macbook Pro with me. Extra weight? Well, I did realize quite fast that it wouldn’t be a problem, I wouldn’t carry it with me often, only from the bus to the hostel and vice-versa. Therefore, the extra weight wasn’t even a problem to consider. Safety? Yep, same as the iPad, actually, considering that the iPad is smaller than the Macbook, that makes it even easier to steal… Available space in the hard drive? A lot!

I ended up by taking the Macbook Pro with me, and the fact that it is already quite old and that I was already considering to replace it, the decision became obvious…, but…, what if someone stole it? Memory cards in one bag, backups on the Macbook Pro…, and I was still not happy with it…

MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro

Cloud Backups (iCloud)

Yes, my psychotic levels of concern were high! I decided to pay for a iCloud photo storage plan, 1TB. About 10€ /month, and some peace of mind. But I still had some doubts, I did quite some research how to backup while on the road, and one of the comments that made me feel more uneasy was regarding internet access in some remote places. In fact, just to upload all my current library to the cloud it took me almost a full week! The upload speed made me feel even more nervous, even though it sounds like an awesome solution, it could go terribly wrong if I couldn’t find a good internet connection.

Well.., as a matter of a fact, I rarely found places with proper internet. In two months on the road, I didn’t even manage to upload half of my photos…, I still needed a plan D) to backup my photos without the need of internet…

External Hard Drive

And I found the perfect solution! I purchased a 2TB My Passport Wireless! It is an external hard drive with SD card reader, that copies all the card’s content without duplication content previously backed up. I just loved that solution, and to test it, I used it a couple of times before my holidays, and I honestly loved it! They have a companion app for iPad/iPhone, and with that we can have a better control of what is being copied, the backing up progress, free space, etc. We even can used as a router, we can connect the hard drive to a wireless network and from there, we can keep our iPhone always connected to the disk without having to switch network each time we want to access the hard drive and/or to the internet.

Not so good things about the My Passport, I found it a tiny bit too slow, and the fact that we can’t have it connected to a wireless network while being connected via USB to the computer, is a bit of an annoyance… (I took a while to figure this out). But in general, it was the perfect solution, a full backup of my SD card, and an external hard drive that I can just place in some other bag.

Hard drive with SD card slot
Hard drive with SD card slot

The combination of the hard drive with the iPad would be perfect, way lighter than the Macbook Pro. But why still insisting by carrying the Macbook Pro? Mostly because it is harder to blog on the iPad, possible but a bit harder…, and at this point I was already decided, therefore it didn’t even cross my mind to change plans.

Summarizing

  • Never delete your photos from the memory cards, it’s always better to have a few spare ones than trusting that everything will be fine, and then…
  • Computer or iPad to edit and process the photos directly from the SD cards, also as a backup alternative
  • Cloud Backup, not the way I recommend the most, but it is always an option for those who don’t take photos in RAW or are not crazy about shooting every single thing they see…
  • External hard drive, to keep somewhere else all the remaining backups. If we get stolen, there are less chances that they take everything from us…

The strategy, obviously, it is up to you. For sure there are other ways to make sure you’ll get home with all your photos.

What about you guys? Do you backup your photos while on the road? Write down a comment with your strategy 🙂


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Backing up your photos while on the road