Visiting Petra in three videos

Drive to Petra

Our drive from Amman Airport to the town of Petra

Petra I

Our hike from the entrance of Petra, passed the Treasury and to the Nabatean Theatre

Petra II

Up the cliff staircase, with some amazing views of the valley, and to the Monastery

Driving through Scotland and Ireland.

U dunno have insurance here, pal!

If you plan to drive through Ireland check with your insurance company and/or credit card about what is covered before you visit.

As it turned out, our two auto insurance plans (one with our credit card and one with our regular auto insurance provider) excludes protection specifically in Ireland. Every other country in Europe is covered except Ireland.

Pay ye Toll

Stay alert. Some tolls don’t have booths, gates, or entryways, just an obscure sign on the side of the road (that look much like regular highway signs) that reads, “You must go online within 24 hours to pay your toll” with a URL at the bottom. If Jackie didn’t notice the sign we would have easily missed it.

We don’t break for Banshees

Every country has their own signature style of driving. Everyone in Italy, for example, thinks they are a pro racecar driver, and the eye in the sky keeps Australians annoyingly honest. Ireland and Scotland are a wee bit different. Sort of inbetween the two.

The average posted highway speed limits were between 100 Kph and 120 Kph. The fast lane had cars moving 20-40K faster than the posted limit and the slow lane was about 0-10K slower. There were no crazy lane changes or people cutting each other off like in Italy, but the locals have the same level of respect for letting faster folks pass.

In general the speed limits were quite high. Highways were typically between 60-70 Mph. Not too crazy, but even the small, one lane, curvy, country roads were quite high at 60 Mph as well.

Something that bothered me about Scotland was while the roads were strewn with signs  warning drivers of speed cams there were few posted signs that actually let you know what the speed limit was. I guess it is just understood: if you are on a highway, drive between 60-70 Mph.

What side and what unit of measurement are we on exactly?

While driving through Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland we crossed through a hodgepodge of units of measurements for speed. Although all three countries drove on the left side of the road North Ireland and Scotland use the Imperial system for measurement and Ireland uses the Metric system.

This created a peculiar situation as we drove from Ireland into North Ireland. Our rental car (that we rented from Ireland) ONLY had Kph on the speedometer.  Within two-seconds we went from reading signs in Kph to reading signs in Mph, followed by a whole lot of calculating what our speed should be on our phones. Talk about a crash course in conversions. (Lucky that didn’t turn into a pun. We made it out unscathed.)

Don’t get stoned

Many Irish roads are not only tight, but lined with stone walls that jut out. In a slight miscalculation I clipped the passenger side of our car on one of the narrow, curved, stone walls. (Jackie has made it hard to forget about it.) Luckily it was small enough that our rental company let it slide. Maybe this is why no auto insurance company wants to cover Ireland drivers.

Aye, that price? Not bah.

Here is a huge tip: Before coming to the area be sure you learn to drive stick! The price of a manual transmission rental car is around $20 per day. Compared that to a car with an automatic transmission at around $80 per day. As such, it can be super cheap to drive through the country and as I’ll explain below – you will most definitely want to.

THE COUNTRYSIDE IS A BEAUT!

Oh my gosh, what an amazing country side! Ireland is filled with ancient structures dating back to before the pyramids. Scotland has rolling hills filled with rocks and picture perfect lakes (AKA Lochs). The grass is emerald green and lush. You will be in awe.

If it is your first visit to either country then: Explore the south of Ireland (the Kearny loop). For Scotland make your way up to the north (AKA Highlands) and especially in the north west for majestic views of the country side.

Golf courses

You may not be a golfer, but many of the golf courses we saw in Scotland were worth stopping for anyway. Some are situated between amazing lakes and mountains and other straddle quaint towns. They make for a great walk, and, if you ARE a golfer, a magical round.

 

Top 8 Apps and Sites of a Nomad

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 11.55.47 PMTrusted house sitter (Founded 2010) This is probably the most valuable site we’ve used on this trip. The idea is simple, people have houses  with pets and when they go on a trip they need someone they can trust to watch them. The trade is almost always even-steven. We got matched up with a wonderful family and a dog we love (Dexter) in a posh area of London for two weeks.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 11.58.34 PMRome2Rio (Founded 2010 in Melbourne AUS) Trains, planes and automobiles, getting from point “A” to point “B” can end up using them all. This site does a great job of giving you all of the options for your trip and includes options you may not have thought of.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.01.47 AMXE Currency (Founded 1995) The objective is simple: Show how much you can get for $1USD in another country. The live updates, ease of use, and inline calculator makes it a solid app. What I especially like is the feature that tells the difference between what you got and what you should have got.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.04.38 AMHotels .com (Founded 1991) This isn’t a new site but we have become loyal users ever since our incident in Kyoto.  Their phone support has been the nicest we’ve ever used for a product (and we have used it on more than one occasion). Their coupons, discounts, and one night free after 10 nights of stays makes it the kind of product that gives you no reason to search for others.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.06.58 AMGoogle Photos (Released 2015) We take tons of photos and movies on our trip and finding a place to store them use to be expensive. I was ecstatic when Google released this new tool. Unlimited storage FREE and it is a better photo management tool than most paid ones likes Amazon. I go into detail on how Google Photos is better than Amazon here.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.18.56 AMOokla Speed Tester (Founded 1994) This app doesn’t do any miracles by any means. That being said, internet is terribly inconsistent from country to country. With gigs of photos to upload it is a nice way to get an idea whether or not you have a shot of getting any of them to the cloud.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.20.32 AMUber (Founded 2009) By now everyone is familiar with Uber, even internationally. The reason why it deserves a place on this top travel products list is the peace of mind it has given us in foreign countries. Getting ripped off by cabs is an international phenomenon. With uber we will not only get a fair price, but a less expensive one too – and in a nicer car.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.21.30 AMFitbit (Founded 2007) It takes a great deal of steps to tour a country. The actual number of steps would be a mystery without this app. There is a sort of satisfaction in justifying your aching feet when you see that you’ve hit 20K+ steps in a single day.

Some Honorable Mentions

Startup Travels (Founded 2014) If you are interested in getting to know entrepreneurs and startups on your next visit check out this site. I have made some great connections that have turned into amazing stays from this site.

Bla Bla Car (Founded 2006) We haven’t ended up using this app yet, but we can see where it may come in handy. For far less than a train or plane ride this ride sharing site is available all over europe.

AirBnB (Founded 2008) Just about everyone in the world knows about AirBnB by now. The reason this didn’t make the top 8 is that we have had a few unsavory stays using them and when you are dropping in on a country for a few days not getting what you expect isn’t easy to deal with. That being said it is an awesome product and we intend to give it another chance in the coming weeks now that we know what to look out for.

Duolingo (Founded 2011) If you are planning on making your way to another country it may help to learn the language. Duolingo is the best way to learn a language I’ve come across so far – and it’s free. The only thing its missing is a crash course version for people who aren’t trying to be fluent. Since I couldn’t find one I started building one for myself. Check out my casual language learning app Bitlang.com for a crash course.

Hangouts/Voice (Launched 2009) The best thing about this app vs Viber and Skpe is the ability to make or receive free calls home using a real phone number. You can learn more about how to set up a free home phone number here.

Google Authenticator  – In order to keep your data safe these days 2-factor-authentication is the way to go. However, when you’re traveling you don’t have a home number to complete the text verification part of the login process. That’s where authenticator comes in. It provides your verify passkey without the need for an internet connection or phone number. Be sure to set this up before you go!

Tripadvisor (Founded 2000) A trusted brand, we saw the Tripadvisor sticker placed on every store window we came across around world.
iMovie – The iPhone app lets you merge and annotate your video directly on your phone.
Hyperlapse – There is a lot of video you’d like to share, with Hyperlapse you can share more in less time. Videos shot include video stabilizers to make your videos even smoother.
Units Plus – This app has every possibly conversion type you can think of.

Our video walking tours of Vienna: Buildings, Palaces, Sites and Food.

Vienna was a beautiful city. Clean, rich with history, and both trendy while still retaining its classic history. We were lucky enough to grab an AirBnB with Thomas whom showed us around the city and introduced us to some great restaurants, bars and wines. Time and time again we are shown just how much the people you meet in a city will impact your stay there.

We tried foods, desserts and visited some of the many museums this town has to offer in the videos below. Enjoy!

More pics @ https://goo.gl/photos/KWzBzSEBzvvvDzTt7

District One

Palaces

Amusement Park

Food