my 2 travel tripods

For 2020 I’ll travel with two lightweight tripods:

  1. miggo splat (GoPro)
  2. Joby GripTight PRO Video mount (camera)

In fact, I can use either for GoPro or camera.

If I want to cut weight and only take one on a hike, it will likely be the more durable splat.

splat with GoPro


GripTight PRO with phone

My phone clamps in the past have been plastic and untrustworthy. The GripTight PRO costs CAD$63 and looks super durable. I don’t want my phone falling.

The arm is for panning video up and down, or side to side.

Of course I also have GoPro mounts for helmet and bike.

I switched from Chrome to Brave

Brave is open-source. Based on the same platform as Google Chrome. HTTPS Everywhere. A much better experience than Chrome.

In fact, many are switching away from Chrome as Google bungled 5-years ago in a decision to make Chrome work on the Android platform. Far ahead at the time, Chrome has fallen behind other browsers.

I was surprised how easy it was to switch.

I recommend you turn off the default Brave Rewards program and notifications. Those are annoying.

My search engine is DuckDuckGo as it was on Chrome.

Brave … is safe, fast, secure and crypto friendly – which Chrome isn’t so much.

According to developers, Brave is trying to fix the internet.They introduceed a system that block ads and ad trackers by default, eliminating the need of ad block extensions. …

The Brave browser is fast. The browser’s impressive speeds are due to lack of default lack of third party ads. …

Brave vs Chrome – Which one’s better and faster?


Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

my Nepal ‘Dental Vacation’

Here’s Smilemaker’s Dental Clinic in Pokhara, Nepal.

Oops … that’s actually the Peace Pagoda looking over to my favourite mountain — Fishtail.

Here’s Smilemaker’s.

That’s Dr. Avishek M. Gubhaju. I was very happy with him, personally.

Nepal is much cheaper than Mexico.

I had a 3 tooth bridge put in:

Canada – perhaps $3,000
Mexico – perhaps $1,200

I paid $340 in Nepal.

I did not get zirconia, rather the metal at about $120 / tooth.

I ended up getting a Cantilevered Bridge. That’s not ideal. The fake teeth are only attached to a retainer at one side. It will (hopefully) last 5-7 years. Next would come implants, something I’m trying to avoid. Or possible an old school partial denture.

I liked the dentist so much that I went back after my trekking. He did some cosmetic work on my lower teeth. Cost was $100. No Canadian dentist would be willing to do that at any price. They’d insist on expensive veneers.

YOTEL Istanbul Airport (Airside)

Bottom line – an excellent option for long distance flights via the Middle East.

It’s a long story how I ended up paying $150 for 12 hours in the ONLY in transit hotel at the NEW Istanbul Airport.

But it was just as good as the Yotel sleeping pod Gatwick, the only other time I’ve used their airport hotels.

  • YOTEL Istanbul Airport (Airside) has 174 cabins.
  • “… luxury bedding, rejuvenating rain showers,
  • relaxing mood lights, numerous charging points …”

Only hand luggage is permitted, which worked for me as I was traveling with only carry-on.

Landside they have 277 hotel rooms in total, or cabins

Istanbul’s New Airport (IST) became operational October 2018 though it’s still expanding. Now one of the largest in the world.

IST is the main hub for Turkish Airlines, one of the big competitors in the region for long distance flights. In fact, Turkish airlines flies to more places in the world than anyone else.

related – a review

More photos.

5 Star hostels

A new concept in recent years. HostelGeeks pick the very best hostel in many destinations, awarding it their 5 Star rating.

I tried to book at one — KEX hostel, Iceland — when I was there, but it was full. For weeks in advance.

Later  on the same trip I got to my first – Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof, Interlaken, Switzerland. Fantastic.

My second was Mosaic House in Prague. It feels more a 3 star hotel than hostel. Great food!

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My third was Maverick City Lodge, Budapest. Very good too.

The dorm beds are curtained pods.

These cost a few dollars more than average, but it’s worth it.

LOVE the Apple Store

Yes Apple is over-priced.

Yes, I live in the Steve Jobs reality distortion field.

But when my MacBook Pro went wonky in Stuttgart, Germany, it took a genius about 4 minutes to fix it. Free.

I appreciate that kind of support.

When my Samsung device went bad ON WARRANTY there was nothing I could do about it.

First Apple Store in Beijing