by Anh Han
I’ve always been one for adventure. Life is about collecting and sharing stories. I really do believe that going outside your comfort zone and experiencing all the world has to offer leads to a better life
My friends decided to participate in this year’s ScrewballRally. After some reading I discovered it is a 5 day, 2000 mile road trip across EuropespanningFrance, ItalyandGermany – all in a car worth no more than £750 and camping each night with 80 other crazy teams.
Wow. That was my initial reaction. Then came the fear and logic: it’s not safe, it’s too expensive, I’m too busy. Adventure is the realm for others and not for me. I politely declined.
Something changed. The initial excitement never went away. I changed my mind. Life is after all, all aboutt collecting stories.
I thought about all the antics we’d get up to, the stories we’d share and the memories we’d make. Four great friends and 2000 miles of open road. I thought about the frustrations, the jokes and the inevitable breakdowns. I thought about how cool it would be and how much better the experience could be if it was shared.
I decided I want to blog my experience, got excited and then again the cold, hard hand of reality slapped me out of my digital fantasies.
I’ve had my iPhone for over a year now and it’s been my faithful companion all across the world. With roaming disabled the device felt crippled, like it had lost it’s magic. When I was desperate, I’d flip the switch and my little buddy would come to life, feeding me with maps and information about my destination.
I felt safer with the knowledge but knew this moment could not last forever. I’ve been burnt by huge data roaming charges in the past so this was a scenario where every second does truly count.
I want to blog and share my experience as it happens. Every breakdown, every new place, every new memory. How can I enjoy the experience when I’m worrying about data charges. I can’t rely on free wifi when on the road.
My heart sank until i found keepgo.com – an affordable way to use my iPhone as it’s meant to be used, all across Europe. Unlimited data for a fixed price. A brief exchange of emails and the very friendly Guy has helped us out a lot. “4 guys, 5 days 2000 milesandalotofstoriesallbloggedlive” suddenly became reality.
So with my iPhone data plans sorted, I present to you the apps I’ll be using to make our adventure run as smooth as possible and how this little box of magic will help us share the stories with the world – live and direct!
Our main blogging platform and the central hub for our digital presence. Really easy to post – just email in. Send photos, videos, text and links and all the media is beautifully presented on the blog. Your fans can post comments or even follow you too. One post to Posterous can autopost to all your other sites – Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and many others. It’s neat, great and free.
A very neat and tidy way to manage your itineraries. Just email your travel documentation to a single email and Tripit collates it all together in a great easy to read page complete with all the available confirmation numbers. The iPhone app is also great and takes the stress out of figuring where you are supposed to be and what number you should be showing the person on the other side of the desk.
Build collaborative playlists then sync for offline listening pleasure. Hip Hop, House, Pop, and Drum n Bass – all the genres and songs we could ever dream of. We can even stream over 3G. Life is better with a soundtrack.
Use your location aware iPhone and this app to track progress of your trip. This app does one thing very well – keeping track of where you’ve been on your travels. Simply open up the app, send through a new location and add any details. All the information is mapped on the web and you can invite anyone you want to come and view or even embed this into your blog!
An Elephant never forgets. Humans do though and that’s why you should use Evernote to store everything. Print a PDF straight into Evernote (Mac) and tag to your hearts content. Insurance Documents, Reciepts, Maps, Articles – all available at a touch of a button. A generous free allocation of memory and great mobile support makes Evernote one of the few must have apps on my phone.
Skype is synonymous with VOIP. There may be others but Skype isn’t broken and its my goto app for making calls over the internet. A massive user base, great sound and the ability to send text messages make this a real winner. Add some credit and suddenly phoning home to tell your mother that you hate your friends becomes so much cheaper (massively cheaper with an KeepGo.com package!).
The simplest currency converter app I know. Easy to add new currencies and has the ability to retrieve the latest exchange rates as soon as it has a connection. The biggest benefit is it’s ease of use – enter a value in one currency and instantly the price is converted to as many currencies as you’ve set up. Think that new hat is a little out of your price range? Now you’ll know!
Live traffic updates plus an integration with Google search and Street View. The default iPhone app is still one of my favourite apps ever and has been invaluable in the countless times I’ve been lost. I’ve used offline maps when I’ve been abroad in the past and they just don’t cut it. Google Maps has by far been the biggest contribution to my huge phone bills the last few times I’ve been on my travels. Now I get the best without having to worry about the cost.
Twitter for iPhone
Everyone tweets nowadays. 140 characters to share some insight, make people laugh or just share that you’ve just eaten an egg. With so many Tweeters (twits?) it’s inevitable that there are a lot of iPhone clients that have been created. I’ve tried a lot but the official (and FREE) version is the best. Link shortening, hash tagging and user lookup combined with a sexy user interface make this one hard to beat. Manage multiple accounts, post a link from safari and see who’s tweeting you at an instant. Highly recommended.
The iPhone sensation is probably the best app I’ve ever brought. The joy per pound ratio is certainly off the chart. There is something so amazing about giving someone the fatbooth makeover – they all seem so happy. It’s a great icebreaker and we’ll be trying to capture all our new friends in our blog (FatBoothed of course!).
Belkin FM Transmitter -Tunecast Auto Live with GPS Assistance
No cross country, border spanning, drive can ever be called a Road Trip without some tunes. There is no way we’ll be leaving our auditory pleasure to the lottery of EU radio. Our iPhones have iPods and Spotify. Our cars have speakers. An FM Transmitter connects the dots. This Belkin one is really good and has some great features. The device not only charges your iPhone but also uses your location to tell you what the best station is. Absolute clarity so you don’t ever have to miss a beat
Amazon – £28
AnhHan is a story chaser and tech geek. He and his pals are spending 5 days in a big, cheap car and driving 2000 milesacrossEurope all in the name of Charity. You can follow their antics at IceCream & Gum or via twitter (@icecreamandgum) – a live blog about the 2010 ScrewballRally.