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Marek Michalski

Part 1: Adventures in Sumatra, Indonesia

Making our Way to Lake Toba From Medan

“Taxi you need taxi?” said the stranger outside the terminal.

My travel partner, Harrison, and I had just touched down in North Sumatra. I said “We need a ride to Tuktuk.” We were heading to the world’s largest volcanic lake – Lake Toba. It sits on the worlds largest super volcano, last time it erupted there was a nuclear winter, and the massive hole was filled with water.

Harrison and I looked at the man and traded the look of affirmation. 1 hour later two white boys from Ohio, a 90 year old Indonesian woman, and a native from TukTuk packed into a tiny van for a four hour journey through rural Indonesia.

The two lane road was being exercised as four, but sometimes five when a bold driver would make a furious pass. The old woman had fallen asleep on Harrison’s shoulder. He gave me a look that said “Is she going to make it?” I pointed ahead as we veered back onto the right side of the road with the notion that we all might die anyways.

Taxi North Sumatra

A spitting image of our taxi. All of the vans were decorated vibrantly with paint, stickers, and decals of all colors.

A Night in Parapat

After a few near death head on collisions we finally made it to Lake Toba. We we’re planning on staying on the small island in the middle of the lake, Tuk Tuk. The last ferry had just left and we were trapped on the other side in Parapat.

We wandered into a tattered guest house called Charlie guest house. The place was empty except for one middle aged woman. She gestured a spliff in our direction and said “Smoke?” She was playing bejeweled on a computer from the 90’s.

The Charlie Guesthouse, Parapat, Indonesia

The Famous Charlie Guesthouse in Parapat, Indonesia

Guitars were mounted all over the walls. This was our first clue to the fact that music was ingrained in the culture of Lake Toba. It turns out the guest house is owned by a famous Batak musician, who has played all over the world.

Not one day passed where we didn’t play a guitar somewhere, with anyone and everyone, a jam could happen at any moment. Every place of business had a guitar somewhere on the wall that you were welcome to pick up and start playing.

In just a few hours we would meet a good friend, Himbit, who would end up showing us all around the island of Tuk Tuk. We had no idea what we were getting into – The story continues in part 2.

 

Do you have any questions, or comments? please comment below or tweet me @marekjmichalski.

Interview: Riding a Motorcycle Around the World with Patrick Harris

Introduction

On July 5th, 2013 Patrick Harris left his home in Denver, Colorado heading east on a motorcycle; 636 days later he rode in from the west. He had just finished riding his motorcycle around the entire world stopping in over 25 countries.

From the canals of Amsterdam, to the grassy hills of rural Indonesia, and the aborigine tribes in Australia – almost no stone went unturned. An adventure like this doesn’t end without lessons learned, countless challenges, and the story of a lifetime. I sat down with Patrick to learn as much as I could about his journey around the world.

As soon as you fall into a mundane and repetitive lifestyle, that is when life will pass you by before you know it. – Patrick Harris

How to Ride Your Motorcycle Around The World | Riding a motorcycle around the world | the long way round | Motorcycle around the world | riding a motorcycle around the world.

Patrick’s route around the world. Click image for interactive map.

Interview

Life Nomading: How long did it take you to plan the trip?
Patrick Harris: The allotted time spent planning was a month. However, you need to start planning months ahead for visas and other paperwork. I had a few destinations I knew I wanted to get to, and it took a minimal amount of research to see how feasible various routes were.

I planned the specifics on the road, based on my own research, or the advice of locals or other travelers.

There was some light research on visa and carnet. A carnet is basically a passport for the bike, to make sure that it enters and exits the country with you.  I only left with a very rough route, and not too many specific destinations or plans.  I planned the specifics on the road, based on my own research, or the advice of locals or other travelers.

LN: What was your inspiration for the trip?
PH: My main inspiration was the book Jupiter’s Travels Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. by Ted Simon. It tells the story of his four-year journey through 126,000 km across 45 countries. I can’t recommend Jupiter’s Travels enough, or his other books Dreaming of Jupiter, and Riding High.

Ted Simon, the author of Jupitor’s Travels

Question: What were some of your considerations before the trip? How did you mentally prepare?
PH:  The stuff I spent time on were the things that were in my control.  I researched route possibilities, visas, border crossings.  I studied up and practiced on the motorcycle maintenance aspect.  As far as mental preparation, I basically just looked at the risks – breakdowns, sickness, injury, theft, etc. and decided that they were worth taking.

LN: What type of Motorcycle did you use and why?
PH:  I rode a 2013 BMW F800GS.  Depending on who you ask, you’ll either be told that a BMW GS is the perfect bike for the job, or you’ll be told you should’ve picked a KTM/Kawasaki/etc.  In my opinion, the bike performed great…I still have it, and I still love it.  But at the same time, you won’t find me talking down about other bikes.

Ride what you find practical and comfortable.  Ride what you like.  Ride what you already have.  Ride what’s affordable.  Just go ride something.

LN: Regarding your emotions: highest point? Lowest point? Did you come close to quitting?
PHI can’t really think of specific highs and lows (there weren’t any huge peaks or valleys, mostly, the whole trip was one big plateau).

The localized highs happened when I met and got to spend a few days with really great people (locals, or other travelers), and the lows happened when I had to part ways with those people.

It’s kind of sad to think of the great short-term relationships I had with people, most of whom I’ll never see again. I’m thrilled that at least I got to experience a few days with them.

Making friends in India while changing a tire.

LN: What was the most surprising aspect of a foreign culture you observed/experienced?
PH: India. Having lived my whole life in the US, India was the farthest from what I has previously experienced. Varanasi specifically was the most shocking to me. It’s an incredibly sacred city, and it was the most I had ever been exposed to a religion in that way.

In Varanasi, religion is in the background of everything going on, to such an extent that saying it’s in the background is a bit of an understatement.

The specific thing there that really struck me was the cremation of bodies on the banks of the Ganges river (where downstream, people are bathing, washing clothes, etc)

LN: Where was your favorite place to drive?
PH:
For me it was northern Thailand. The roads were winding and picturesque. While there was chaotic driving there at times, it was the right level of lawlessness in my opinion.

I still find myself day dreaming about driving through the roads in Thailand to this day!

Roads in northern Thailand. Image: 2livethedream.com

LN: Was there ever a time you felt in danger?
PH: I was most nervous was when a kid on a bike ran into me in Indonesia. He flew off his bike. I didn’t have any serious injuries. I stuck around to make sure he was OK, and some people crowded around me.

If it had got dicey, I would’ve left the scene, which is typically what foreigners are told to do when there’s an accident in a third world country, as things can sometimes get violent quickly and unexpectedly.

LN: How were the customs (immigration checkpoint; not culture) at Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore? Was it confusing to switch from driving on the left to the right?
PH: Customs were always pretty uneventful, except for getting my bike into India…that was a huge hassle The only time I ever paid a bribe was $2 to get out of Laos. Crossing between Thailand a Malaysia was easy as can be…got my passport and carnet (paperwork for the bike) stamped it and out and was on my way.

It was actually a lot faster than crossing from Canada into the US. As far as Singapore, I didn’t bring my bike in. It sounds like that’s a huge mess of paperwork and running around, so I opted to not bring the bike with, considering that I’d do all that paperwork just ride around the city for a few days.

I had a couple close calls throughout SE Asia, but they were really manageable after being in India. Close calls in India became a daily occurrence.

LN: What was your least favorite place to ride through? Any particular location make you think “I’m going to die”?
PH: The riding in India got fairly stressful by the end, and road conditions were rough at times. I loved most everything else about India, though. I had a couple close calls throughout SE Asia, but they were really manageable after being in India. Close calls in India became a daily occurrence.

Shipping a motorcycle in Indonesia

Lifting the bike onto a boat in Indonesia.

LN: How did you finance a 2 year trip?
PH:  Work a lot, spend a little.  There’s no inheritance from a rich uncle or trust fund from daddy behind my trip.  I just worked quite a bit (sometimes toeing the line of insanity) and didn’t put all the money towards instant gratification.

LN: What did your family think about your trip?
PH:  They were nervous for sure, but I think they knew it was coming a little bit.  In 2007, I quit my job to do a 3 month trip around the US and Canada.  I think that was a bit of a shocker for them, neither my parents or my brother seem to have my combination of wanderlust and irresponsibility.

I was planning to ride on the other side of the world in places I knew nothing about, so they were more concerned about me actually making it home. My mom has reminded me in numerous occasions that I’m responsible for every gray hair she has.
Motorcycle in ChinaI

LN: How difficult was it to ship your motorcycle from place to place, and was it expensive?
PH:  In regards to difficulty, it varied quite a bit.  The two factors that affected it were the countries being shipped to and from and how commonly that route was used to ship motorcycles.  My first shipment was from Canada to Scotland.  I found a company whose entire business is flying motorcycles between Canada and the UK, so they had the whole process very well set up. 

I cleared my bike through customs in Scotland in about 30-45 minutes.  In India it took 3 days and a couple taxi rides clear across the city to do various bits of paperwork.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was my shipment from Istanbul to Mumbai.  First off, that route doesn’t seem to be commonly used, so finding a shipping agent that would even work with me took a lot of time in itself.  Then factor in customs on both ends and it was quite an ordeal.

Just to show how much things can vary, I cleared my bike through customs in Scotland in about 30-45 minutes.  In India it took 3 days and a couple taxi rides clear across the city to do various bits of paperwork.

As far as cost, the flight for the bike was typically about 2x what my own ticket’s cost.  Going by boat is a bit cheaper but takes much longer.  Another note on going by boat…not only does it take longer for obvious reasons, but it also seems to be fairly common for there to be delays and route changes, making the timing fairly unpredictable.

Shipping the bike in India.

LN: We often preach that travel can change someone, and help them grow. What was the greatest lesson you learned?
PH: The classic answer to this is something along the lines of how great and caring everyone around the world is or freeing yourself from your material possessions.  Yeah, I can’t disagree with that, but everyone’s heard that so many times that you don’t need to travel to learn that, you just need to read a couple travel blogs.

I learned, and will never forget that challenges and discomfort are what make life interesting and fulfilling.  Pursue new interests, or take your current interests to the next level, and once you start feeling comfortable, repeat the process.  As soon as you fall into a mundane and repetitive lifestyle, that is when life will pass you by before you know it.  To put it simply, don’t live life casually.

LN: Did you go back to your old career afterwards or did things change?
PH:  I was going to, but plans changed about 6 months into the trip.  After quitting my job, my boss offered to let me take a one year leave of absence, which I really appreciated.

I started to realized that I still had no interest in going back to my own job.  I felt that as a trip of this magnitude could very well be a once in a lifetime thing, maybe I should extend it a bit, as that would be much more feasible than planning another trip like it a couple years later.  So, the 10 month trip turned into 20 months.

I’d taken up welding as a hobby and always really enjoyed it, and I had gotten bored of sitting at a desk in my old job. Upon getting home, I went to welding school and am now working in that field.

Just hanging out on a cliff side.

LN: What’s your next big project? How can our readers support you?
PH:  Right now I’m trying to spend my time learning more about welding and metal working.  Maybe that’ll turn into a side business in the future.  Next big project will probably be building a motorcycle, and a few years down the line, I’d like to build a cabin in the mountains.

Conclusion

Pat finally made it home to Colorado.

Challenge yourself. Conquer the challenge no matter the difficulty. From riding a motorcycle around the block to riding one around the world. Keep setting goals and knock them out. Never be comfortable. See the world and take it all in. There is one life to live, and there are opportunities everywhere. Pat saved up and looked towards the future, then when after his challenge. He went around the globe, and learned that being behind the desk isn’t for him. The difficulties are what make this life interesting. Good luck…..

Interview: Ryan O’Connor on The Product Revolution

Ryan O’Connor One Tribe Apparel

Ryan O’Conner knew from day one he didn’t want a typical job or lifestyle. Instead of being herded into a corporate job after college he went into something that would lead him to the location independent lifestyle – SEO (Search Engine Optimimization) consulting.

He was happy, but striking it out on his own was the only thing that could give him the fulfillment and upside he was looking for.

After a fateful trip to Chiang Mai he met his future business partners and weeks later One Tribe Apparel was founded.

One Tribe Apparel is a boho fashion & accessories company that focuses on vibrant patterned haremm pants. We sat down with Ryan O’Connor to learn more about his lifestyle and find out why he thinks physical products are underrated for location independent entrepreneurs.

Interview

“As logistics improve and global transport continues to become easier it will leave more room for people to develop awesome products and have a lifestyle business that supports them through it.”

Life Nomading: How did you know that the standard 9-5 wasn’t enough for you?

Ryan O’Connor: I knew from a pretty young age that I didn’t want the standard path. From 16 – 24 I was in a band and playing guitar was all I wanted to do even though I went through with college & internships, etc. After the band ended I knew I had to figure out another way.

LN: What was your job before launching your business?

RO: Before I launched my business I was already traveling and doing freelance SEO consulting. Before that, I worked at an SEO agency because it was a good path to building my own business and being location independent.

Ryan (far right) back in his rock band days. You don’t need to be a fashionista to work in fashion.

LN: What did your friends think when you told them you were quitting your job to sell boho pants?

RO: My friends were a bit surprised because I am definitely not a fashionista. Most of my life it’s been jeans & a rock band t-shirt.

“I gave up a lot of potential money in consulting to focus on One Tribe Apparel. To date we’ve invested almost everything back in the business.”

LN: Where do you currently live?

RO: Medellin, Colombia for the past few weeks but before that I spent a year and a half in Saigon, Vietnam. I consider Saigon my home away from home.

Ryan doing a little site seeing around Medellin, Colombia

LN: Where are Onetribe apparel products manufactured?

RO: Chiang Mai, Thailand

LN: So you live in Colombia right now but your clothes are manufactured in Thailand? How far is that?

RO: It’s pretty far away and it’s a 12 hour time zone difference. From 2014-16 I would go to Thailand a few months a year to work on the business in person, but now I have it setup so I don’t have to.

“You want to be able to meet with the manufacturer, having that personal experience with them makes the relationship tangible and will lead to things working better down the road.”

LN: How did you establish a relationship with a clothing manufacturer in Thailand?

RO: We have two major sections to our business, the first one with the harem pants came from the group I originally started One Tribe with, they already had found the manufacturer. Later on I met Suzette who is now a partner and she was already making handbags and other items we now sell. She’s also helped coordinate and put together the manufacturing in Chiang Mai for our new line of yoga products.

LN: Did you ever have the feeling you were going to get ripped off or taken advantage of?

RO: There have been a few times I feel like we’re getting the run around when we get a quote from someone we thought we trusted that was 4x higher than the next person for the same exact product.

LN: What are some of the common pitfalls of working with a manufacturer overseas?

RO: You want to be able to meet with the manufacturer, having that personal experience with them makes the relationship tangible and will lead to things working better down the road. For us that meant deciding to stay in Chiang Mai.

We started talking to other manufacturers in Bangkok & India and other places and for the time being we don’t have the size & bandwidth to deal with the issues that could arise.

LN: How does a piece of clothing get from the factory to my doorstep?

RO: Our model is pretty simple. Our products get made in one of two facilities in Chiang Mai depending on what it is. From there it gets packaged up, labeled and sent to a warehouse outside of the Detroit airport. Inventory is logged and shipped within 1 to 2 business days of purchasing an order.

LN: Have you ever faced any problems shipping or moving your clothes through customs?

RO: Customs has been straightforward for us and we haven’t had major issues. This is because most of our products are lightweight so we air ship them vs. container ship.

LN:  What have you had to give up to make this dream a reality?

RO: I gave up a lot of potential money in consulting to focus on One Tribe Apparel. To date we’ve invested almost everything back in the business. The sacrifice is starting to pay off and this year is looking to be a breakthrough year for us!

“The digital nomad idea can be quite enticing and intoxicating but eventually that will wear off and you’ll be left with the work.”

LN: How do you approach launching new products within the One Tribe Apparel brand?

RO: For us it works in one of two ways….

1.) A few times a year we sit down in person and brainstorm. We also go over photo’s the styles available from our local manufacturer.

We pick what styles we want, get samples, test them, and do measurements, photos, etc.

2) We have an idea and we get a sample made ourselves. The two things that stick out here are our line of yoga mat straps & embroidered denim shorts.

After laying out the ideas,  my business partner begins getting the samples drawn up and refined. The concept behind extensions for us is simple. We did not invent the Thai harem pants but we can take what makes them popular, brilliant traditional Thai artwork, and apply them to other product lines

LN: What are some of the pros and cons of running a location independent physical product business versus a service business or an info-product?

RO:

Pros – Physical products aren’t going anywhere, they are tangible and so people still assign value. The person who steals a movie or an album still likely spends money on beer, clothes, gadgets, etc. In that way I think it’s a very secure market.

Cons – Inventory is the big one. I have a background in online marketing and not in inventory management, operations or logistics.

Their isn’t a “right” way to figure out how much inventory to keep on hand, how to price products, etc. and you can only do your best to guess them based on data & trends. You also have to deal with product defects, returns, etc.

Unless you have a really really killer product an e-commerce business is going to take time to build up. You’re going to have to reinvest a lot of the money back into it.

Also, as we move to just a few major channels of distribution like Amazon there will be a product revolution.

As logistics improve and global transport continues to become easier it will leave more room for people to develop awesome products within a location independent lifestyle business

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a hater on info products. I don’t see myself going down that route unless it was a udemy course for a reasonable price point. I don’t like the market of $2k plus courses that sell the digital nomad dream.

Ryan helped organize a Miami Vice themed party in Saigon, VN.

You’re better off buying a few books, scouring the internet and putting money towards getting started.

Consulting is a great way to get started. I also encourage people to get a job in their digital nomad field of choice (copywriting, SEO, PPC, etc.) for a few years to really gain the right experience. I think it’s a much better route to go then trying to live on $5 a day in Chiang Mai. It’s hard trying to figure it out when you’re desperate.

The first of it’s kind international crowd sourced look book

LN: How can our readers support one tribe apparel?

RO: Aside from picking up any products you like or sharing them with anyone who may fancy them, we are looking for all the PR & media love we can get.

We just launched our International Crowdsourced Lookbook where instead of professional photo shoots we engaged our instagram community across 6 continents & 16 countries. We built it into a traveling map, with information about each location, that showcases our clothes.

We’re always open to collaborating with bloggers or people with social media followings that tie in well with our vibe.

LN: is there anything we missed or any pro tips you would like us to share?

Now that I’ve been working for myself and traveling for 3.5 years I get asked quite a lot for pointers on getting started. The digital nomad idea can be quite enticing and intoxicating but eventually that will wear off and you’ll be left with the work.

My #1 suggestion is before you get started in whatever business you’re planning is to see if you can complete a timed task over a certain period.

“If you can build up a good following around your idea on social media, then when you’re ready to launch your business you already have audience that’s engaged”

For instance, if you want to start a blog (on whatever topic) then try and write for 1 hour per day 5 days a week for a month. The time commitment is much more doable than saying you’ll do one post per day.

After a month if you make it through you’ll know whether this is something you can see yourself truly committing too.

My 2nd suggestion is to build a social media channel around something you’re passionate about before investing in products or inventory.

If you can build up a good following around your idea on social media, then when you’re ready to launch your business you already have audience that’s engaged and trusts you.

Conclusion

The get rich quick on info products scheme is winding down. In it’s place logistics and globalization are increasing the possibility of having a lean global supply chain. As a result, launching a product doesn’t have to something you do in one place.

You can live the location independent lifestyle all the while shipping physical products all over the world.

Ryan built his business in Chiang Mai but lives thousands of miles away in South America. He setup a good system with his team, and as a result he’s not tied down. In the end if you have the talent and the drive, you can make it work.

 

 

Insanely Beautiful Icelandic Ice Caves You Will Want to Visit Right Now

Icelandic Ice caves

Iceland has become one of the hottest tourist destinations. New cheap airfare from Wow Air (only a couple hundred round trip!), and insanely beautiful scenery have put Iceland on almost everyone’s travel wish list. One of the most unique and breathtaking sights there are Icelandic Ice Caves.

Icelandic Ice Caves

Jan Erik Waider – Northlandescapes.com

Most ice caves are not simply caves that have frosted over, but are caverns that have formed inside massive glaciers. One of the best spots for seeing ice caves is at the Vatnajökull glacier. The Vatna ice cap is one of the largest in Europe, and also a filming spot for HBO’s famous show Game of Thrones.

Skaftafell Ice Cave

Jan Erik Waider – northlandscapes.com

Most of the tours of Vatna glacier start at the foot of the glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland. That is why many refer to them as the Skaftafell Ice Caves. The most unique thing about an ice cave is that unlike a traditional cave it is not Stagnate.

ice caves in iceland

Glacier Guides – glacierguides.is

The Iceland ice caves are always changing. The visitors that frequent the caves over the years come to recognize the shifts and changes at each visit. It’s cliche to say, but once you see an ice cave you will never see one exactly like it ever again!

 Crystal Cave of Svmnafellsjvkull

Extreme Iceland – extremeiceland.is

The cave pictured above and is called the crystal cave because of its crystal appearance. The crystal cave is at  Svmnafellsjvkull in Vatnajökull National Park. The cave also looks like Mr. Freeze’s layer – my second favorite Batman villain behind The Joker.

The Best Time to Go to Iceland

Extreme Iceland – extremeiceland.is

The glacier is constantly moving; Many visitors report hearing a perpetual snap crackle pop sound as they trek through the caves. Some of the caves even have water falls flowing through them.

Icelandic Ice Cave With Waterfall

bt travel – bt.com

Other areas of the cave have amazing spots where it looks almost like a frozen waterfall.

Iceland

expert vagabond – expervagabond.com

To get through the ice caves you can go through a tourism company. If you are interested in getting great photos we recommend going on an icelandic cave photo tour. The reason we recommend going on a tour and not going rogue is because you need equipment and know-how to get around. We don’t want anyone to die from flying chunks of ice – wear your helmet!

The best time (and safest) time to go to the Icelandic ice caves is between November and March. It can be more dangerous in the summer because the glacier is more active and is always shifting. We hope you are planning a trip to Iceland, because the land of fire and ice is a must see destination!

You Won’t Believe What These 10 Famous Places Looked Like in the 50’s

The Pyramids Circa 1950s

Times Square, New York

Times Square Circa 1955

Times Square 1938

Times Square was a lot cheaper in 1938. Look closely on the left and you can see a dinner deal for 60 cents. Today with 60 cents you can buy maybe a few pieces of chiclet gum.

Yellow Stone National Park, Wyoming

Yellow Stone circa 1950

Yellow Stone circa 1950

Back then there were no signs telling you to not feed the animals. Those bears must love  Werther’s Originals.

Moulin Rouge, Paris

Moulin Rouge Circa 1950

Moulin Rouge 1954

If you look closely you can see the advertisement for the 1954 Cannes film Festival. This photo also gave me terrifying thoughts of what they might sell in a 1950’s sex shop.

Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

The Pyramids Circa 1950s

Giza by Camelback in the good old days

A reddit user found this picture in his grandpa’s photos from World War II.

Trevi Fountain, Italy

Trevi Fountain Circa 1950

Picture of the late actress Anita Ekberg

This photo of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy was from the filming of Alfred Hitchcocks film La Dolce Vita. I have never seen this movie, but I can guarantee you it’s at least a thousand times better than The Lizzie McGuire movie they filmed here. Gordo was the OG friend zone.

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal Circa 1950

Taj Mahal, 1950. ELCA Archives image. http://www.elca.org/archives

An amazing photo of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Okay the photo is a bit crooked, but cut this guy a break; Tripods in the 1950’s were hard to come by. He was clearly distracted by this damsel on the left wearing a risqué just below the knee plaid skirt.

Ben Thanh Market, VietnamBenh Thanh Circa 1950

Because the clock tower in West Minister is called Big Ben, you can call this Little Ben. This market still stands today, but imagine it surrounded by a sea of motor scooters.

The Roman Colosseum, ItalyThe Colosseum Circa 1950

Riding a vespa through Rome was as romantic then as it is now. This guy is getting huge brownie points for this first date.

The Great Wall of China, ChinaGreat Wall of China Circa 1950

This photo is from the second Sino-Japanese war. The modern weaponry juxtaposed against the ancient architecture is a rare contrast. This is a photo from a violent and sad time in Chinese history, but unfortunately all I can think about is Donald Trump Saying China.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Collection of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum

Collection of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum

People dancing during a festival at Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat temple is one of the 7 wonders of the world. It was also where several scenes were shot for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Time can change everything. For some of the worlds most iconic landmarks it’s not as much the landmark itself that changes, but its the patrons. Context paints a location with a different colored brush.

Do you have any questions, or comments? please comment below or tweet me @marekjmichalski.

 

The Best Carry-on Luggage for International Travel

best carry on luggage for international travel

I showed up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with nothing because all of my stuff was in a checked bag sitting in Taiwan. That’s when I learned to only bring a carry-on bag and get very creative with how I pack it. After starting my consulting job I knew I needed to get better carry-on luggage. With destinations in several different countries on the horizon – I started looking for the best carry-on luggage for international travel.

I needed something that met various countries’ carry-on luggage rules. Below is a list of rules by the airline, but the size standard issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is 21.5 in. x 13.5 in. x 7.5 inches.

International Carry-on Rules: Size and Weight Chart By Airline

Internation Carry-on luggage sizesImage Source: Kaehler Travel Goods

The international carry-on spinner luggage is the best for most of our needs. It has the ease of use and maneuverability that makes getting through airport swift and effortless. Beyond that, there are tons of features like smart luggage you can track with your phone, hard-sided, soft-sided, all-sided, and my favorite – luggage you can ride like a scooter.

The easiest way to look like a douche bag at the airport!

The easiest way to keep your virginity for life!

The bottom line is that there are tons of options out there.

Identify what is most important for your type of travel because everyone has different need’s. Maybe you absolutely have-to-have scooter luggage Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . It’s okay, we accept you.

If the scooter game isn’t your play, below is our breakdown of the key features for the best international carry-on luggage out there. Below we break down each of the top suitcases with a description of each and a table for comparison.

Delsey Helium Spinner

Delsey Luggage Helium Aero, Carry On Luggage, Hard Case Spinner Suitcase, Titanium Price: $99.27 Delsey Luggage Helium Aero, Carry On Luggage, Hard Case Spinner Suitcase, Titanium Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

The Delsey Helium is one of the best value suitcases on the market. It touts many of the features of the most expensive brands and is made of the same materials as well. Although it is made of the same material it lacks the lifetime warranty that most of the household brands have. It meets international carry-on rules and has an external compartment for a laptop.

 

Travelpro Maxilite 4

Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 5 22" Lightweight Expandable Carry-on Rollaboard Suitcase, Black Price: $99.99 Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 5 22 Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Have you ever noticed that almost every flight attendant or pilot has that little Eiffel tower on their bag? That’s the signature of the travel pro brand. Obviously, they make good luggage if the people who work on planes prefer it. The Travelpro Maxlite 4 is a reliable soft side bag that comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The lifetime warranty is not as strong as Briggs and Riley’s, but overall it’s a great suitcase.
“The Travelpro® warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship but does not cover wear or damage caused by abuse, mishandling, accidental damage, inappropriate selection, or carelessness caused by an airline or other common carriers.”

 

Brigg’s and Riley Torq International Carry-on

Briggs & Riley Torq International Carry-On Spinner QU121SP (One Size, Cobalt) Price: Briggs & Riley Torq International Carry-On Spinner QU121SP (One Size, Cobalt) Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

This is one of the best hard side bags, but also one of the most expensive. It comes with the strongest lifetime warranty available, and could actually last you a lifetime. The warranty covers damage done by the airline to the bag if it results in a loss of function. It also features a locking external compartment for a laptop. This is our choice for the best international carry-on suitcase. It also happens to be the one I own. Sorry for the bias :).
“If your Briggs & Riley bag is ever broken or damaged, even if the damage was caused by an airline, we will repair it free of charge – Simple as that®.”

 

Chester Carry-On 22″

CHESTER Carry-On Luggage Hardshell Spinner Suitcase Price: $195.00 CHESTER Carry-On Luggage Hardshell Spinner Suitcase Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

The Chester carry-on luggage is a great hardshell choice for those who are looking to climb into a higher quality hard shells but doesn’t quite have the money for a Briggs & Riley for example. This carry-on glides is light and durable enough to get plenty of years of wear out of. With it’s simple, modern design it is definitely a good looking travel piece to boot.

 

International Carry-on Suitcase Comparison Chart

ProductHighlightsPricePurchase
Delsey Luggage Helium Titanium
International 19” Carry-on
Expandable Spinner Trolley
-Hardside
-Expandable
-Laptop compartment
-Low Price
$Buy Now!
Travelpro Maxlite 4
International Carry-On Spinner Suitcase
-Limited lifetime warranty
-Industry user standard
-Expandable
-Softside (Fabric)
$$Buy Now!
Chester Modern Carry-on Luggage-Hardside
-Modern Design
-Lightweight
-Small
$$ Buy Now! Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Briggs & Riley Torq
Luggage International Carry-On Spinner
-Functional Lifetime warranty
-Hardside
-Locking Laptop Compartment
$$$Buy Now!

Our Take on The Best Carry-on Luggage for International Travel

These are the best carry-on luggage for international travel that is easily available for you to purchase online. The choices above range from less than $100 to upwards of $500. Between these bags, you should be able to find the right luggage for your next trip out of the country!

Do you have any questions, or comments? Please comment below!

How to Pack a Carry on and Fit More in Your Bag

Two hours after landing in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam I realized my checked bag wasn’t showing up with me. Oh crap! My bag was in Taiwan sitting in the belly of the airplane. In my case, I was fortunate enough to eventually receive my bag. But for many, the odds of your bag getting back to you once lost aren’t al the best. This is why we always recommend you to try your best to use a carry-on vs. checked bags as often as possible. Learn some of our Life Nomading tricks and tips for how to pack a carry on and fit more in your suitcase for your next great adventure, where it may lead you.

As if we haven’t already convinced you to carry-on, it’s worth noting that airlines don’t always have our back when it comes to lost luggage. They will reimburse up to a certain dollar amount – for example, its only 3,500 dollars on American Airlines.

To avoid the inconvenience of replacing your stuff or coming out in the red it is in your best interest to pack as much as possible in your carry -on bag.

Let’s Get Started Packing Your Bag

First thing’s first, there are restricted items and limitations on what you can and can’t bring in your carry-on bag.

Be sure to read your airline’s policies and check other TSA restrictions on what you can or cannot take in your carry-on. This helpful checklist breaks down what you can or cannot take in your carry-on versus your checked bags. Lame, we know!

It’s also important to note that there are different rules that vary from one country to the next for what is considered a carry-on bag. Some countries let gigantic backpacks slide, while others seem to barely let purses count.

This list comprehensively covers weight and size regulations for carry-on luggage around the world. I had a lot of trouble finding the perfect bag, so I researched and developed an article outlining the best international carry-on bags.

Now that you know what you can pack, its time to figure out how much of it you can possibly fit in your suitcase. The more you can fit in a carry on bag the better (most airlines do not weigh your carry-on).

Here are some of our tried and true tips on how to pack a carry on to optimize space:

Plastic Bags, Vacuum Bags, and  Compression Bags

Compression_Packers-e1454636616670

Compression bags Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. make more room to load up a bag with all your favorite clothes. They leave extra space for more items, and some even claim to reduce wrinkles! There are two main types of space saver bags, vacuum and manual rolled.

With vacuum bags, the downside is that a vacuum or hose is needed, and a puncture renders it useless. I personally prefer the Travis Travel Gear Space Saver Bags Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. myself. These work just like the vacuum bags only you push the air out manually. If you have delicate clothes that wrinkle easily these bags may leave a mark but you can spray the clothes with wrinkle releaser Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. once you arrive at your hotel.

If you’d prefer to use vacuum bags, be sure to read our article: Best Vacuum Storage Bags For Travel

Travis Travel Gear Space Saver Bags. No Vacuum Rolling Compression, Pack of 8 Price: $17.97 Travis Travel Gear Space Saver Bags. No Vacuum Rolling Compression, Pack of 8 Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Roll Your Clothes by Hand

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Rolling your clothes by hand may take a little time, but it is worth extra work! By rolling your clothes, it gives you more room in an otherwise small area in your suitcase.

An added benefit of rolling your clothes is that you can put the clothing around the sides of the luggage, and this will help protect the items placed in the middle.

Packing Cubes for Travel

Packing cubes are great for making space, but also for the organization. It is very handy and makes packing quicker by allowing you to organize items into separate cubes based on category. In the past, I would sort through all my clothes to find my underwear which I foolishly packed below my shirts. As a result, all the rest of my clothes get jostled about and unorganized. Now I pack them into cubes, and it makes it easier to organize my items. I have a set of eBags Packing cubes Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. that are perfect for this type of thing. They are easy to use and there are enough different sizes to fit any packing job.

eBags Large Packing Cubes for Travel Price: $36.99 eBags Large Packing Cubes for Travel Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 05/01/2019

 

Downsize your toiletry items.

You need to downsize your toiletry items.

Spray cans and glass containers of any kind are not allowed in your luggage. Get small squirt bottles or a set of small plastic containers. Also, buy travel size toothpaste Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. , plastic toothbrushes, and plastic razors Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . Roll on deodorant also comes in travel sizes. If you run out of anything – most hotels or hostels have places to purchase the core items you need at the front desk.

Lermende Portable Soft Silicone Travel Bottles Containers Set Price: $15.99 Lermende Portable Soft Silicone Travel Bottles Containers Set Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 05/01/2019

 

Use every open space possible.

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When you begin packing, start with all the heavy flat objects first. Spread the weight out evenly across the bottom of your luggage.

Next, place your rolled clothes against the outer walls. This leaves the middle part open for your more fragile items. When all your large items are in, fill the empty spaces with leftover clothes, space saver containers, and anything else you need like a stuffed animal… we won’t judge.

Hopefully, our tips help you on your next trip. Now you won’t get stuck in another country waiting on your checked-bag ever again. Instead, pack it all in the carry-on and maximize your travel! Pack more, spend less, and do more traveling!

Do you have any questions or comments? Please comment below!

Interview: Tom Burden on Launching the Grypmat and How to Launch a Product

Tom Burdon On Launching the Grypmat

UPDATE: The Grypmat Kickstarter was a success. They raised over $100,000 and made it into the top 1.5% of all Kickstarter campaigns

These days the average American home has 30,000 to 300,000 items in it (La Times) – and almost all of them are products (Unless you hoard raw materials??).

“There will be many sacrifices to make, as with any independent venture, but the opportunity could be large.”

We buy tons of products and launching a product could be your key to success – or failure (more on this later)! We wanted to learn more about launching a product so we talked with some pro inventors – no not Al Gore!

Al Gore Invented the Internet

Don’t be Al Gore! Launch a product for REAL like Tom Burden Did.

Tom Burden and Lucas Williamson have been inventing products for years and have successfully run numerous Kickstarter launches.

Tom works as an F-16 mechanic in the Airforce and invents crazy things like red dot scopes for rifles with the rest of his time.

Lucas is an experienced inventor and kickstarter expert. He has the design savvy to solve any problem and marketing know-how to sell ice to an eskimo.

It's called the Grypmat for a reason

It’s not called the Grypmat for nothin’

Q & A With Tom Burden and Lucas Wiliamson

Tom Burden Pictured far right and Lucas Williamson one to his left.

Tom Burden Pictured far right and Lucas Williamson one to his left.

LN: What were the biggest objections you faced while trying to strike it on your own with your products? How did you overcome the doubters?

“I talked to over 10,000 people about the product at that point, if we have to use the word “Luck” I would say that sounds like bad luck.”

Tom: Biggest obstacle has been getting the chemistry and manufacturing. I have a mentor that has been in the manufacturing world for the past 30 years and has 15 products in Walmart. A lot of ppl say, “Wow! you got so lucky meeting him!” Honestly I hate it when people say that.

It was two years before I met him and I talked to over 10,000 people about the product at that point, if we have to use the word “Luck” I would say that sounds like bad luck.

Life Nomading: How many products have you Launched? What did they do?

Tom Burden:

  1. The Hitch Pad –  At the base we have a hitch that is spring loaded that hit a guy in the face and put him in the hospital for 2 days, so I made a pad for the hitch (fail)
  2. The Grab Cain – a Cain plus a grabber, someone patented it 6 months beore I finished my prototype (fail)
  3. Custom cellphone cases with greek letter cut outs for fraternities and sororities (fail)
  4. RSAC – Red dot Scope Ammo Counter, a red dot scope for a gun that changes from green to red to notify the shooter they are low on ammo (still in progress)
  5. The Grypmat – the first Grypmat sold was the 11th generation, the ones for the kickstarter are the 12-14th designs (Selling now)

LN: How have you found time to develop, and now launch a product – all while working a full time job as an Air Force mechanic?

TB: I am in the Air National Guard which is a department within the AIr Force. I would work at the base one weekend a month while a full time student.

I get excited off of developing a product, any extra time I had I would spend time in making the product better.

A lot of times my college studies would suffer due to working on my products. Once I skipped a college exam to attend a meeting with a potential distributor.

LN: What is the perception of entrepreneurship in the military? How have your colleagues reacted?

Tom: Some support, some criticize. Always going to have fans and haters.

15259781_1288316474523261_3230009421969407730_o
LN: You have been developing products for years now – what started this passion?

TB: So this is a weird question that I think about a lot. Why do I do what I do? Why do I wake up at 4am to start my day working?

If you had a superpower that no one else could do, would you use that power? Let’s say fly, would you fly (answer: Duh of course I would fly)? What if you had a friend that could fly but they said that it’s really hard to fly so they don’t do it, how would that make you feel? It would make me resent them and mad that they don’t use their unique gift.

My gift is to be an inventor. The thoughts I have, have never been thought before, and my power is that I can bring ideas/inventions into existence that no one has ever thought of, and If I don’t then they may never exist. Inventors and startups create the future, they are the cutting edge of the future, my job is to create the future.

“Inventors and startups create the future, they are the cutting edge of the future, my job is to create the future.”

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LN: What have you had to give up to make this dream a reality [Launching your own product]?

TB: Two biggest things: finances and confidence through trials. There has been a lot of hard times financially to get the product where it’s at. Finances are much better but still not out of the woods.

There have been a lot of times that I have wanted to quit, once when I was going to stop everything I called my cousin and she said, “is this something that you need to stop? Are you to the point that you’re not paying bills or feeding yourself? Or is this something that you’re going to look back on and regret not seeing what was around the corner?”

That is something that has kept me going, not wanting to regret quitting.

“There is a lot of leg work that can be done on your own for free instead of paying a professional.”

14568210_564117850455369_912578829595483245_n

LN: What’s your methodology for innovation and how do you come up with your ideas?

TB:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Think of the most simplistic way to fix it, think of ease of prototyping/manufacturing.
  3. How many people have this problem and how big of a problem it is? Think of the market size and how big of a pain point it is.
  4. Prototype & test with users, with this info figure out how to make your product better for the end user.

Tom Burden with Grypmat

LN: How has bringing on veteran product designer/marketer and kickstarter expert, Lucas Williamson, helped you shape this product launch?

Tom: Working with Lucas has been very complimentary to my skill set. We are have very similar visions but are skilled in different areas of bringing a product to life, I feel we are a very balanced duo.

LN: How many successful kickstarter campaigns have you a been a part of and have you been a part of any that failed?

Lucas: I have been vital part of 2 successful campaigns, and 1 one that failed. I have consulted high level on a handful of other campaigns some failed some succeeded.

Here is a list of the products I have worked on:

  1. Juiceboxx, a case for your macbook charger to keep it from breaking/fraying – Save Your Macbook Charger – Get A Juiceboxx (Selling Now)
  2. Spoolee – An awesome solution to store your earbuds and keep them from tangling- Spoolee – Have fun managing your earbuds! (Selling Now)
  3. Nikola Labs – Nikola Labs: Leading the Charge in Wireless Power (Failed)

juiceboxx

LN: Lucas – Could you share one of your Kickstarter secrets with us –  or would you have to kill us?

Lucas: Employ thy GOOGLE. When I started out I knew nothing about crowdfunding. I dug in and began researching to educate and collect the resources and skills to be successful. Mostly from the world wide web. Hustle and perseverance goes a long way.

LN: What is one of the biggest mistakes you see first timers on kickstarter make?

Lucas:  The Kickstarter community has evolved into it’s own animal. A realm different from that of e-commerce or big box retail. It’s much harder to get a consumer to loan you cash upfront, and wait months to receive it, rather than just ordering something on Amazon Prime and getting it 2 days later.

Newbies need to really nail down their target customer and have a solid plan of action to market to them.

“It’s much harder to get a consumer to loan you cash upfront, and wait months to receive it, rather than just ordering something on Amazon Prime and getting it 2 days later.”

Grypshon Grypmat

LN: Lucas and Tom – A lot of our enterprising readers have product ideas of their own. What is the first step they should take?

Lucas: Get the product in front of customers. Confirm there is a pain point and a demand for said product. Make sure you can make it with the proper margins to run a viable business. Then, come talk to me to help you launch it.

Tom: First step is make a prototype, an MVP. Minimum Viable Product, make it yourself, do not pay someone to make it, not the first one, maybe not the first 10.

So what happens is that when people do not have experience and want to pay someone else to do everything they waste a ton of money paying people to make mistakes.

There is a lot of leg work that can be done on your own for free instead of paying a professional.

LN: How can our readers support your kickstart campaign? When is it launching?

Tom:  Our campaign is running for 30 days from January 3rd – February 3rd. on Kickstarter.com

Here are 3 ways you can help support our campaign:

  1. Share this link: PRESS.FND.TO/GRYPMAT on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
  2. Check out our Kickstarter campaign and support by backing
  3. Know of a mechanic, trade professional or anyone that loves tools? Tell them about the Grypmat Kickstarter!

Grypshon Grypmap

LN: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

A Few Pro tips from Tom and Lucas:

  • If it helps to explain your idea with a picture make that picture the wallpaper on your phone so you can quickly access the picture when talking to people.Thing is people will always try to zoom in but it is well worth the sacrifice to hook the attention of that person within the initial 10 seconds.
  • Something that helps me is listening to motivational speeches on youtube. Find one that gets your blood boiling and makes you feel like you can rule the world. You can convert Youtube URLs into MP3, putting that into your Itunes will allow you to set that as your alarm clock.What you listen to in the first 20 min of being awake is very important, this will kickstart your day every time.
  • Need someone to help you? Before asking them for a favor make sure you help them in some way. I’ve done this to get really good mentors.
  • Need an intro? Who ever you want to give you an intro, type out an email of how you want introduced so they can copy and paste it and will save the introducer a ton of time.

Conclusion

At the end of the day building a product is a lot of hard work. However, launching a product can create immense value and help you realize the dream of working for yourself.

There will be many sacrifices to make, as with any independent venture, but the opportunity could be large.

When launching a product, remember you need to solve a problem and the more people with the problem you are solving  – the bigger the opportunity for profit. Now go out and turn those ideas into a reality!

 

Do you have any questions, or comments? please comment below or tweet me @marekjmichalski.

5 Ways to Get Through The Airport Quicker

5 ways to get through the airport faster

According to American Airlines I have flown from Chicago (ORD) to Philadelphia (PHL) over 30 times this year. The flight duration is exactly 1 hour and 51 minutes gate to gate according to travelmath.com. To catch the flight you have to arrive at least an hour before, and if they check your bag you can add 30 minutes on departure and arrival. Then what about the time it takes you to physically walk from entrance/exit to gate. That 1 hr and 51-minute flight just got a whole lot longer – more like 6 hrs.

That’s 6 hours that could have been used to work, exercise, or spend time with a loved one. Instead that time was used: Having an unintentional staring contest with a stranger, getting smelled by a dog, having your genitals exposed on an X-ray, having your bag searched, taking off half the clothes you put on this morning then putting them back on, talking to an Uber driver, and eating Auntie Anne’s cheddar stuffed pretzel nuggets with a sugar plum lemonade twister for only $16.99. I know this sounds great, but I promise that there is a better life out there. We came up with 5 ways to get through the airport quicker to free up time to do what you love.

Getting through the airport quickly and efficiently is a task that must be accomplished through one or two big changes and a combination of small marginal changes. After reading this post you will be plowing through the airport faster than Brock Lesner on PCP.

How to get through the airport faster

 Sign-up for a Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program

I know many travelers are familiar with this, so I will not go into this for too long. TSA Pre-Check drastically reduces the amount of time you spend in the security line at the airport. With Pre-Check or Global Entry you get a designated security line that is shorter. The line also moves faster because you are not required to remove your laptop from your bag or take your shoes, belt, or light coat off. The added benefit of Global Entry is that it reduces your time when re-entering the USA from abroad. The CBP also offers different variants of global entry like Nexus – which grants quick access driving across the Canadian border, global entry kiosks, and pre-check lines at the airport.

TSA Pre-check costs $85 for 5 years, Global Entry is $100 for 5 years, but Nexus only costs $50 for 5 years which makes it the best deal. However, there are several ways to get pre-check or global entry for free (kind of). Several travel reward credit cards will reimburse you for the cost of the application (i.e. American Express Platinum, American Airlines Citi Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Citi Prestige). Most of the cards that offer this have a high annual fee – so your reimbursement is really more like a rebate. The other way, through frequent flyer programs, is starting to disappear as the TSA is making the rules more strict. The airlines used to offer guaranteed pre-check to their highest status and most loyal customers.

To gain approval for these programs you need to have a clean background, so if you were Pablo Escobar in a past life then it may not be worth the non-refundable application fee. If you signup for a CBP or TSA program you are guaranteed to get through the airport fast!

Get Luggage That Can Move Fast with You

How to get through the airport fastTo get through the airport faster you need to move quickly. Unfortunately, you can only go as fast as your bag can go. The fastest and easiest luggage to move through the airport is Spinner Luggage. Having a bag with only two wheels is slower and more difficult to maneuver. A spinner bag has 4 wheels and can not only roll quickly in any direction while parallel to the ground (Good when changing directions), but can also be tilted to move in one straight direction. If spinner luggage is a car it it’s a sports car, and your traditional two-wheeled bag is a sedan.

I personally like the Briggs & Riley TORQ Collection Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . These bags are expensive,  very sexy,  and have a Lifetime Guarantee. Paying several hundred dollars for a suitcase can sound a bit crazy, but considering it could be the last bag you ever buy in your life, it’s a great deal. I bought the International sized carry on spinner, because the next time they downsize the carry on size in the USA – I will be ready. It’s stylish, durable, and I know if it ever breaks all I have to do is take it to a nearby repair center to be fixed.

The most important thing is to get luggage that is easy to move, but also fits your needs. A spinner bag works well for me, because I like to pack light and move quick.

Show Up to the Airport at the Right Time, Not the Recommended Time.

Image Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

Image Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

Conventional wisdom tells you to show up 3 hours early for international flights, and 2 hours early for domestic flights. If you follow this procedure, you should never miss your flight, but you often find yourself sitting at the gate for longer than you really need to. If you want to save time while traveling it’s more important to show up at the right time – when the line is the shortest.

Arriving 30 minutes later might make your time tighter, but if the security line is shorter at 8:30 am than it is at 8:00 am then why should you wait longer in line.

For example, most security checkpoints open up in waves. There may be 3 security lines but only 1 is open from 6 am to 8 am while all 3 are open from 8 am to 12 pm. If you show up at 7:30 you are waiting 30 minutes in line, but if you show up at 8 am you may only wait 5 minutes.

There are a few ways to check the wait time at all airports (some airports have there own custom way): The TSA appFlyontime.us, and MiFlight app. I would recommend using Flyontime or MiFlight, because who really trusts the government.

Also, our government has a bad track record with internet technology (Political opinions aside, Remember the Obamacare website launch?). Arrive at the right time and you will get through security much faster.

Check-in Online and Use a Mobile Boarding Pass

Move through the airport quicker

Image Courtesy of the City of Allan Airport

When you check in online and use a mobile boarding pass you save yourself the time at the airport by not having to stop at the counter.

You also don’t have to worry about which pocket your boarding pass is in – or if you lost it. Download the app offered by the airline you are flying on and take advantage of the mobile boarding pass. Most of the apps also offered added benefits like terminal maps, lounge locations, and the opportunity to change your seat up until a few hours before the flight (changing to a premium seat costs money or loyalty status is required). Using a mobile boarding pass gets us through the airport quicker, saves time and hassle.

Look at Terminal Maps Ahead of Time

How to Get Through the Airport Quicker

If you look at the terminal maps ahead of time you can plan the fastest way to get to your gate in time. This saves a little bit of time but can really save you from having a bad day if you like to cut it close like me. I wake up at 4:45 am for my 5:45 am flight and catch it one minute before :).

The maps are available on the airport website or within most airline apps. Get online before you arrive to figure out which is the best security line to go through and to plan your route to the gate. I also highly recommend doing this for connecting flights because a reasonable layover can turn into a sprint for your life if the flight gets delayed.

Your time is important, so don’t let your travel time cut into your life in negative ways. Follow my steps to get through the airport faster, and free up time to do the things that really matter.

Best Sailing Knives

Best Sailing Knives

When it comes to navigating the waters of purchasing a sailing knife there is a lot to consider. We at Life Nomading have done the work for you by looking into the best sailing knives on the market. We limited our search to include the sailing knives that are easily available for purchase online because specialty sailing shops are few and far between unless you live on the water. So buckle down your swashbuckler and hit the seas as we cut through the chop to find the best knives.

To start off let’s clarify what is so special about a sailing knife. The biggest difference between sailing knives and other pocket knives is that most of them are specially treated to be more water resistant and they include other features such as a marlin spike.

Best Sailing Knives

Image Courtesy of Myerchin

A marlin spike Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. is used to splice and braid rope as well as tie/untie knots. The art of splicing and braiding has been somewhat lost since the pre-braided rope is now sold, but the ability to use it to tie and untie knots is still very helpful.

All the knives we reviewed include a marlin spike because any sailor will tell you that this comes in handy every day when they are tying/untying knots at the dock or on the boat. If you happen to be interested in learning how to tie knots with a marlin spike someone actually wrote a book called The Marlin Spike Sailor Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. which is full of useful and decorative sailing knots (have at it boy scout!).

It is important that your knife includes a locking position to prevent it from moving while you make a cut because movement or slipping could lead to a serious injury.

Best Sailing Knives Comparison

 Highlights/LowlightsSerrated BladeBlade LengthPriceBuy Now
Camillus Ti Marlin Spike Pocket Knife
-Good value knife for the price
-Includes a lifetime warranty backed by Camillus
-Attractive bamboo handle
-Made of carbontride stainless titanium
-Locking positions for marlin spike and blade
No3"$$ Buy Now! Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Camillus Carbonitride Titanium Folding Knife-Includes a lifetime warranty
-Strong blade made of carbontride stainless titanium
-G10 Handle
-Locking positions for both the marlin spike and the blade
No2.75"$$ Buy Now! Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Maxam Extra Large Sailors Knife-Dirt cheap...wait actually cheaper than dirt
-Qualifies as a multi-tool (Need a bottle opener?)
-Essentially disposable
-Did I say Cheap?
Yes2 - 1/8"$ Buy Now! Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Myerchin Knife Traditional Offshore Captain-Made from high quality german steel
-Includes the limited lifetime warranty
-Locking positions for both the marlin spike and the blade
-Attractive Wooden Handle
No2.8"$$$$ Buy Now! Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Myerchin Generation 2 Rigging Folding Knife-Made from high quality german steel
-Includes the limited lifetime warranty
-Locking positions for both the marlin spike and the blade
-Double locking system in the generation 2 is a new springless technology
Yes3.25"$$$$$ Buy Now! Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Now that you have seen the breakdown of all the product specs, we are going to look into the detail of each of the products. Before you know it you will be rigging, splicing, dicing, and tearing it up on the open seas with your new sailing knife. It will be a useful tool, and could potentially be used to fend off pirates. You might even be using your marlin spike to tie impressive knots for the finest ladies (or finest men!) of the fishery.

Camillus Ti Marlin Spike Pocket Knife

Camillus Ti Marlin Spike Pocket Knife, Bamboo Handle - Best Sailing Knives

The Camille’s Ti Marlon Spike sailing knife rightfully made our list of best sailing knives because it’s stylish and performs well. The knife comes from a reputable brand with a good warranty. It is one of the cheaper models coming from Camillus which also makes it a good value for the quality! The other thing to note about this knife (and the other Camillus knife below) is that it is not actually made of titanium, but the treated cutlery grade steel can resist corrosion underwater for a long period of time (some say up to a week without damage). This knife also features a locked position for both the knife and the marlin spike. This a good looking high-quality knife for the price!

Camillus Ti Marlin Spike Pocket Knife, Bamboo Handle Price: $32.04 Camillus Ti Marlin Spike Pocket Knife, Bamboo Handle Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Camillus Carbonitride Titanium Knife

Camillus Sailing Knife - Best Sailing Knives

This is another great knife from Camillus that costs more money than the bamboo model, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in the durability department. The bamboo handle is great but it is not as durable as the G10 handle on this model. G10 is a fiberglass-like material that is used on grips for handguns. Knife owners will attest that G10 is one of the strongest most durable handles out there. This knife also features a locked position for both the knife and the marlin spike. As with the Camillus knife above it includes the lifetime limited warranty and is made from the carbonitride titanium steel (not actual titanium!). This knife is one of the most durable knives on the market.

 

Camillus Carbonitride Titanium Cuda Black Folding Knife with Quick Release, 9- Inch Price: $25.63 Camillus Carbonitride Titanium Cuda Black Folding Knife with Quick Release, 9- Inch Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Maxam Extra Large 5″ Sailors Knife

Maxam 5” Sailing Knife - best Sailing Knives

The Maxam extra large sailors knife is the cheapest knife on the market. It is well below the cost of all the other sailing knives we looked at. Additionally, it comes with other bells and whistles such as a ruler, bottle opener, and a shackle opener. The big downside to this knife is that it’s essentially disposable with most users reporting it not lasting very long due to the poor quality stainless steel. While this knife is a good value it could potentially be dangerous as the blade and spike have stopping positions but no locking positions. It may be thrifty to buy a cheap sailing knife, but we recommend buying this as a disposable limited use item at best. Heavy users and serious sailors should bypass this knife and buy something of higher quality

 

Maxam Sailors Multi-Tool Bag (5") Price: $10.99 Maxam Sailors Multi-Tool Bag (5 Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Myerchin Knife Traditional Offshore Captain

Myerchin Generation 2 rigging knife - Best Sailing Knives

The Myerchin Offshore Captain made our list because of the functionality and attractiveness. This is a beautiful knife!  The company has been making knives for a while and although their website isn’t so 21st century their product is good. The knife is made of a high-quality German cutlery grade steel and features the multiple locking positions. The steel in this knife, like the Camillus, has anti-oxidation corrosion treatment to prevent rusting.

 

 

Myerchin MYBW300-BRK Generation 2 Captain Price: Myerchin MYBW300-BRK Generation 2 Captain Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Myerchin Generation 2 Rigging Knife

Image Courtesy of Myerchin - Best Sailing Knives

The Myerchin generation 2 rigging knife is very similar to the offshore captain featured above. The main difference between these two knives is the physical appearance and the blade type. This rigging knife has a serrated blade which makes it much easier to use for cutting rope. Another notable feature is the belt clip so you can keep in handy and accessible outside of your pocket. Overall this is a high-quality knife which we recommend for any sailor out there.

 

 

Myerchin Rigging Knives AF377P Price: $69.28 Myerchin Rigging Knives AF377P Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

“That’s Not a Knife This is a Knife”

Okay… So you aren’t the Crocodile Dundee yet, but you are well on your way. We gave you a list of the best sailing knives and at the end of the day picking a sailing knife comes down to what features are important to you. We hope the knowledge we gave you helps you make an educated decision on which sailing knife you need.

Do you have any questions or comments? please comment below or dm us @lifenomading