A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Three Reasons I Heart Google January 16, 2009

For Christmas I asked for Microsoft Office for Mac; however, I am finding that although it is a great program, I am not using it for my writing like I imagined I would. Instead, I have become addicted to Google Documents. I still am exploring what Google Documents has to offer, but here are just a few of my top favorite features, which in my opinion are AMAZING!

1. Accessible anywhere–When I was on my around the world trip I didn’t take a computer and instead wrote story ideas, poems, thoughts and reflections all in multiple journals (I was a freak and carried two leather bound, one plastic covered, and two smaller journals.  One of my worst nightmares is to be caught idle without pen and paper!) The fact that I can freehand write, then type it into a Google document for safekeeping while I’m on the go is priceless. And, now that I am back home, I still prefer to type in Google documents because I never have to mess with uploading or downloading files, making sure I pulled the correct versions, or worry about leaving my files on my computer, hard drive or flash stick.

**Note my next big trip I might take my computer, but then  1) I would have to worry about battery life, and most places I stayed on this trip didn’t have electricity 2)I would be “weighted” down with fear of losing or getting my computer stolen 3) I write a lot when I am outdoors…dust…rain…sun…you name it…not so computer friendly…

2. Sharing Option: When I first started planning my trip I created a master spreadsheet of all of the things I needed to do, their current state and next steps. I also created a packing list, an estimated budget and a rough itinerary of some of the places I wanted to go. The majority of my trip, we travelled by the seat of our pants, going places people recommended, using the city’s I-site for information, or pulling information from guide books.  However, before leaving the states I put together a rough itinerary spreadsheet and sent it to my fellow travel companions and we were all able to modify, change, and add information in real time (no kidding, you can see the other person’s cursor moving and typing in the document if you are both working on it at the same time–a little eerie but cool.) Even though my parents never used it, I shared the files with them so they could have a rough idea of where we were (places/dates always ended up changing but at least they knew what country I was in!)

3. Revision History–Everyone writes differently. When I write I continually save throughout my writing (every 10-20 minutes or so) as I have gotten burned before, loosing everything I had written. Devastating, but lesson learned. Now a days it is common to have an autosave feature to back up your work as you type so you don’t have to, this blog for example does it for me.  I never found a feature like this in a normal Word doc (and maybe it existed but I never knew?), and sometimes I would write something, save it and realize that what I had written before was better but have no way of retrieving it because I saved over it! (and, yes, I’m not super techy so I’m sure there probably was a way to retrieve the files…)

With a Google Word Document, all you have to do is: go to your Tools Tab select Revision History and a full page including the date and edit revisions are recorded. You never have to worry about losing that “perfect sentence” again–you can always go back later on and retrieve it! If you kill off that character but wish you hadn’t—oh wait, he can come back to life.  And, the information is presented in a non-effacing way. You click on the dates you want, and can compare the difference in changes.

Genius. Love it.


Vietnam: Shopping in Ho’An July 30, 2008

Filed under: Round The World Trip,Vietnam — italicana kitchen @ 8:52 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ho’An:Ho’An is a historical town, but needless to say I did not see anything outside of a 3 block radius as I spent 3 mind-numbing days shopping from morning to evening—no joke. Being the frugal shopper that I am, I can’t justify in buying something right away. Instead it takes me AGES, because I go to every store for a price and selection comparison. I’m always trying to get the most of my money by researching all my options before I make a final purchase, that way I get what I want and don’t have regrets on spending the money. In other words, “shopping” before purchasing. This drives some people mad. It drives me insane. On one hand, I like the fact that I am adamant about saving money any way I can. On the other hand, “over-shopping” can be such a waste of time leaving me feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. After all, it is just shopping…and I could be spending my time exploring a new city I may never see again. I am currently working on finding a balance to the guy/woman approach to shopping. You know the drill for a guy: enter store…see object…try object on (if even needed)…purchase…exit store and never think about it again. Instead I: enter store…scour entire store to “see” what is available….collect object(s)…try on…get friend’s approval…narrow down selection…try on again…debate over what to actually purchase and either 1) purchase with the possible intent of returning the product or 2) put the item on hold to “think about it” before going back to get it. This process is pure insanity. My mind definitely has more useful things to think about then strategic shopping.

Strategy aside, the actual tailoring experience in Ho’An was quite remarkable. And it was an “experience” in itself. You can have anything you want made. From coats and shirts, to jeans and shoes—you just point at a picture or tell the tailor what you want and within 24-48 hours you are back in the shop for a fitting. I’ve never had anything custom tailored before and it was like being a kid in a candy shop. In other words, to expound on that overused saying, my eyes became big, I salivated at the plentiful options before me and like a child wants to try every piece of candy, I greedily wanted every piece of clothing. The consequence of overeating/overspending are the same, at first you get a sugar/shopping high, then you get a stomachache from over indulgence. Fortunately, thanks to George Bush and his little incentive program, my stomach doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as it would have.

Traveller’s tip: Don’t get greedy. Figure out a budget and stick to it otherwise you will be buying clothes like a bulimic girl shovels down junk food. The best value for your money are jackets. I got 4 jackets made–a trench coat, two wool coats and a nice silk jacket all less than $120. For the 2 week travelers, shop away as that is better value than you will ever find at home. For the 2-8 month backpackers, remember $120 is a plane ticket or roughly about 24 nights of hostel accommodation in Southeast Asia….things add up!