Sunday, February 26, 2012

Travel checklist

I travel often lately, and from time to time I remember my first trips. I can recall how I always used to forget something at home, then realize in the middle of an unknown city that I'd forgotten something as little as a hair comb, phone charger or nail clippers.

Therefore, long time ago I started a checklist, and now I always run through it before leaving on a trip. It also saves me from worrying if I haven't forgotten something, and this list never failed. I'll share it, maybe others will find it useful. I won't include the common stuff such as "clothes" or "underwear" as that's what most people never forget at home. :)

Important:
  • travel documents
    • passport
    • proof of medical insurance
    • vaccination records if needed
    • printed plane / bus / train tickets
    • work permit if needed
    • credit cards, discount cards
  • laptop
  • mobile phone, smart-phone (best if it has GPS & maps)
  • charger(s) for phone, laptop, camera, mp3 player
  • travel adapter(s)
  • printed map(s)
  • sunglasses
  • digital camera
  • network cable
  • headphones / earphones
  • book(s)
  • printed travel guide (I usually check for known scams and other warnings on Wikitravel)
  • driving license
  • napkins
  • hair comb
  • shampoo
  • shaving kit (machine, cream, after shave)
  • toothbrush kit (brush, floss, tooth paste)
  • umbrella
  • small deodorant, perfume
Less important:
  • agenda and a pen
  • data cables (phone, camera)
  • small towel
  • cold pills, stomach pills (you might not find exact matches in the country you visit)
  • antiseptic cream / liquid
  • nail clippers, small scissors
  • bathing suit
  • flip-flops
  • towel
  • back-up shoes, shirt & trousers
  • souvenirs
  • plastic cutlery, cups
  • game cards
As an additional travel precaution, I also scan my travel documents in case I loose them or they get stolen. This can save lots of headache if needed to produce a proof of identity.

Please comment / +1 this article if you forgot one of the items above on your last trip. ;)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Skydiving

It's my birthday again. 28 years and counting... Many things happened during the last year: getting up to speed with a new awesome job, traveling to two new continents, meeting very interesting people and trying fabulous experiences along the way. Although I'm not over excited about the fact that I'm getting older and supposedly more responsible, I'm very happy that my "bucket list" is continuously shrinking.

This year I finally crossed one top item off the list: experience human flight by skydiving. The plan was to only do one tandem jump too see how it is, but this turned into a full free fall course which I really enjoy doing now. My next plan is to get an 'A license' which certifies that I can jump out of a perfectly working airplane anywhere in the world.



Every sky dive so far was different and exciting. When the door of the plane opens and the engine slows down, there's a blast of cold oxygen, burned gas and lower pressure that turns everyone into slightly different beings. The sudden realization of the fact that in just a split second everyone will take a deep breath and disappear from the plane - singing, cheering, shouting, petrified or screaming - is priceless. And then it's your turn to jump too. It all happens so quickly, and many different emotions compete to take your mind away from the dance that you'll have to perform after leaving the plane.

Once you do that step out it's all beautiful and natural. After about 50 seconds of free fall which feels nothing like falling but more like floating somewhere above the clouds - there comes the second beautiful part: a slow canopy descent. This is the most realistic sensation of flying I had so far. I really enjoy gliding above the clouds, especially at dusk. Compare it with that landscape that you get when taking off with a commercial plane on a slightly cloudy day. In an instant you're taken to a sunny world above the sea of clouds. While in a plane you can only enjoy that through a palm sized round window in the cockpit, imagine getting that view when slowly gliding above the clouds, being able to look around you before sliding through, back to earth.

I'll post my first solo sky dive if I can get the recording and wish that there will be no malfunctions till then.

Friday, April 30, 2010

News



Half of an year is already gone away, and looking back I realized that I haven't been keeping my blog up to date. Since I shouldn't waste your time with too many details, here's a quick list with what I've been up to:
- after sleepless nights and intense work, finally finished my master's program in Germany
- got a new job and met very friendly people. For the new job, I've changed cities one more time - moved from Bonn to Dublin which is a delightful city by the way
- took Yoga and some gliding classes, started to enjoy golf and playing piano. Also tried surfing, but couldn't get used with the idea of being wrapped in a wet & cold rubber costume
- got a phone line, this is a big achievement when you have to deal with Eircom's technical support. It took me almost 3 months
- traveled and explored a bit of: Ireland, Germany, Tenerife, Israel, UK.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bureaucracy

I just went to the Police to renew my passport. Last year, you had the option of doing that in "emergency mode", after paying an extra fee. They would release a new passport in 2 hours.
Now, that is not possible anymore. They removed the extra fee, and now people have to wait 30 days for a new passport. Furthermore, you cannot apply for a Romanian passport in a different country.

Now, why would you take something which is simple and beautiful and make it more complicated?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Munich going green

On one of the evenings spent in Munich, I took the tram from Willibaldplatz towards Marienplatz. It's a 20 minutes boring ride, and besides staring at the different people around you, there's not much to do.
Hanging in front of me, there's one of those free brochures from Munich Transport Company. I tell myself that practicing a little bit my German can't hurt, so I start reading. Here's what I've managed to translate:

The SWM started the "Renewable Energy" campaign. Until 2015, the facilities should produce enough eco-energy to support about 800 000 private houses in Munich. By 2025, Stadtwerke Munich are to produce enough green energy to support the whole energy requirements of 7.5 billion kWh per year. [...]

For this purpose, SWM invests until 2025 nine billion Euro. [...] Together with the current projects, SWM rises the eco-energy production with 160%. With this, around 370 000 instead of currently 140 000 houses in Munich will be supported. [...]


After reading their annual report, i've also found out this:
M-Natur
M-Natur is SWM‘s green electricity product allowing customers to make an active contribution to climate protection. M-Natur green electricity is generated exclusively by SWM‘s hydroelectric power plants. M-Natur customers voluntarily pay a charge that is higher than that for M-Strom customers. SWM invests all the proceeds from this additional charge in the further expansion of renewable-energy-based power generation in Munich.


I'd like to see this sort of initiatives more often.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Decameronul lui Boccaccio

Incredibil, Boccaccio descrie perfect pitzipoanca zilelor noastre înca din anul 1350.

Căci tot ce-a fost virtute, cu sfiiciune tăinuită în sufletul doamnelor de odinioară, azi se preface la noi în găteală și podoabă; iar cea care-și atârnă pe ea veșminte mai bălțate și mai înzorzonate se socotește mai vrednică de prețuirea și cinstirea semenilor ei, fără a cumpăni că și un măgar, de s-ar găsi cine să-l împopoțoneze, ar răbda pe el mai multe găteli decât oricare femeie și că, deci, nu-s nici ele mai vrednice de cinste decât e urecheatul.
Mi-e și rușine a spune, căci tot ce-i împotriva lor se întoarce și împotriva mea; înzorzonate precum sunt, boite și pestrițe, ori stau țepene ca niste stane de piatră, mute și nesimțitoare, ori, de răspund când le-întrebi, îți dai cu socoteala c-ar fi fost mai bine să tacă.
Și încă umblă a-ți dovedi că numai nevinovăția e pricina care le face să nu știe a lega o vorbă cu semenele lor sau cu barbații cumsecade, și sărăcia-n duh au botezat-o cinste, ca și cum n-ar mai fi pe lume alte femei cinstite decât acelea care nu știu să șadă de povești decât cu slujnica, cu spălătoreasa sau cu brutărița. Dacă firea ar fi rânduit cum lasa ele a crede, de bună seama într-un alt chip ar fi găsit cu cale să le scurteze ciripitul.


Fragmentul de mai sus e extras din Decameronul lui Boccaccio scris între 1350 și 1353 (ziua 1, povestea 10).

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