Gear and Logistics, Past and Future

Our whirlwind tour included sunrise on the Bolivian salt flats.

It was somewhere in the middle of four countries, six cities, and three climate zones in two weeks that I lost last week’s blog post.

I wrote it sitting in a plastic chair at the Sucre, Bolivia airport, which had really weak Wifi, and Google Drive didn’t save it. That’s why I didn’t post last week.

I want to post every week for family and friends to follow our adventures. But lately my inadequate ergonomics has made the blog less of a pleasure and more of a pain.

This is a little bit of a long story, but bear with me, because at the end I have some really exciting news about our post-wedding plans to share.

One year ago my mother and I updated our phones, and purchased a Samsung Galaxy Android tablet for $240. (That meant “free” with a $10 monthly fee for two years.) I got a bluetooth Logitech keyboard, and have been using this $300 setup as a professional full-time journalist and photographer.

This setup is cheap, so any security problems wouldn’t be a huge loss. I use an LG G3 Vibe Android smartphone, keeping the devices on airplane mode with Wifi enabled, making phone calls on Skype. The camera is mediocre, so I haven’t posted much on Instagram.

I work on this gear between six and 10 hours a day and it’s slow. It needs to be connected to wireless, because I apparently can’t save to Google Docs without a connection.

The biggest weakness is photography. I have a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and for photos, I have to first upload to Aaron’s old PC, which has been slowly dying. Then I edit them on Lightroom, which stalls, freezes, and sometimes crashes the computer altogether. Then I email the photos to myself on slow South American connections. Then I download them to Google Drive, and then upload them to WordPress. It’s so time-consuming that it’s a chore than I’ve started to dread.

Aaron and I went on this trip as a test. Could we really follow our dreams to be international journalists, make money while we travel the world? Yes.

Technically we’ve made all our money from other jobs. Aaron’s been writing marketing copy, I write reports for a financial newswire, articles for a health and wellness website, and copy for a financial technology company. I an idea for a travel-based blog, too, coming in 2016.

All along we’ve been publishing travel articles, and we have a long backlog.

Since Aaron and I have enjoyed ourselves so much, have tons of more ideas and this long backlog of stories to pitch and publish, we thought – let’s keep doing this.

I’ll get to that in a second.

So I will purchase a Macbook Pro. I am so tired of being frustrated by my inadequate ergonomics.

All my life, I’ve improvised, making due with the cheaper gear and having to work around their problems. But what’s the point of having a pro camera if editing photos is a chore I dread?

When I talked about purchasing my new camera, some people argued, “Good photos are about the photographer, not the camera.” That’s absolutely true – to some extent. But do I regret for an instant buying my Canon? Hell, no!

A selfie with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, before heading down into a zinc mine in Potosi, Bolivia.

Before, I needed to change ISO through a menu, telling my subject, “Sorry, hold on a second” as I looked down at the back of my camera. Now I can just change it instantly with my thumb. Before, I needed to lug a flash around because the sensor on my Nikon D5000 was too weak for low light. Now, no flash needed.

I invested in a simple professional quality photography setup and life is so much better. And the colorz.

It’s time to get real. I spend over 40 hours a week on the computer. It’s how I make my living. I’m going to get a computer with the specs to handle heavy-duty photo and video editing.

Geez, that got awfully ranty.

Sorry about that.

Anyway, after we left the Atacama desert in Chile we took a three-day tour in a four-by-four of the Bolivian desert and salt flats.

Then we went to Potosi, Bolivia for two days and toured a silver mine.

Then we went to Sucre, Bolivia and toured a chocolate factory.

We were so happy to be back in Bolivia again. Both Potosi and Sucre were charming, and it’s so freakin’ cheap.

Then we flew to La Paz, Bolivia, for two nights to say goodbye to our new friends there.

Then we flew to Lima with a connection in Cuzco and then connected to spend one night in Bogota, before finally making it here to Barranquilla in time for Carnaval and to finally start chipping away at the backlog of work that has piled up.

Fortunately, besides this huge crazy party and getting work finished, our travel plans from now on are much more relaxed. Basically, we have two months to get to Quito for our flight home.

It looks like I may have found a place for us to stay in South Philly. We’ve got Aaron’s cousin’s wedding in Virginia a week after our arrival, his friend Anna’s wedding in June in Ohio, our casual wedding barbecue picnic on July 4 (did any of you get your invitations yet???) and ceremony on July 10, and then one of Aaron’s best friends is getting married in Iowa on July 16.

And then we’re going to settle down.

Ha! Did I fool you for a second?

After we get back from Iowa around July 18 we will drop back into Philly to say another goodbye to our families, and then head to Norway for our honeymoon!

Norway is expensive AF so we’ll just spend a couple weeks with my father’s cousin in Bodo, on the Arctic circle, before heading to Poland in early August to visit my family. We’ll spend two or three weeks in Bialystok, and then head south in late August to hike the Carpathian mountains. Krakow is cheap and amazing, and we will also visit Auschwitz for a very important history lesson.

Anyone want to join us in Poland?

Then we’re thinking – Prague, Vienna, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, and then Turkey before heading home for Thanksgiving.

As far as I’m concerned, if this is working, let’s keep doing it, right? Once I’m thoroughly sick of traveling, we’ll settle down.

(Except if pressed, I may admit that we have some ideas for 2017).


1 comment

  1. I like your ranting. It’s like having a conversation right there with you. I enjoy your articles and breath taking photos. Very happy to see you enjoying life. 🙂


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