A Minimalist Approach to Packing

My previous packing posts have been for longer travels going through places with different climates. This time I will just travel through warm places in the Caribbean so I have decided on a different approach. I will travel with hand luggage only, where half of my stuff will be camping equipment:

– Hammock, tarp and mosquito net

-Two linen pants packed up in a pillow

– Two swimshorts

– Four shirts (two short, two long)

– A blanket, earplugs and face mask

– Toothbrush, headlamp, powerbank and charger

-My Pennyboard, shades and swim goggles

Should I need socks, boxers, shoes etc at some point I could just buy it there and then. Most stuff in life you could easily live without!

Watch this on my vlog, episode 1 here.

Roam Like Home with an International SIM

We can all admit it- people are addicted to social media and rely on the internet to gather information. This is true, both in daily life at home but also while traveling. Since roaming abroad can be insanely expensive, it is smart to consider purchasing an international SIM which can save you heaps of money if you are a digital nomad like me. Learn from my tests of the following options:

A Norwegian SIM card

..is always expensive to use abroad. Some subscriptions include roam like home in EU, but roaming in Ecuador, as an example, would cost you 1,25$ for 1MB.

Local simcards

Most countries today have 3G or even 4G just like at home, and prices for data are not always that much more expensive. Buying a local SIMcard can usually be done at airports and can cost as little as 10$- sometimes even with some data included! When skipping from country to county it can be bothersome and expensive to buy and register simcards in every country- but when staying longer than a week in a country this is definitely worth it!


Is a free-yes, FREE SIM card that you can order online or sometimes travel agencies and start using. The benefit is that that you can receive calls for free (with a UK number, that you can roam and call cheaper internationally. It claims to work in 188 countries and as an example I found that 1MB in Equador costs 1,44$. The problem is that reception was always bad and that it takes forever to connect an international call as they use a method where the phone would hang up and someone would call you back.


You have to pay 10$ for the SIM or 30$ for a sticker that you could put on your existing SIM for it to Work, but so far it works way better than the WorldSIM. It claims to work in 200+ countries and includes free WhatsApp use in 142 countries. As an example 1MB in Ecuador costs 0,20$.

By referring to my code VUXGMTM, you can also get 30% your SIMcard and 5$ signup credit by signing up at: www.knowroaming.com

Happy surfing!

The Costs of Doing an Around the World Trip

Jorden rundt reisen

Doing an organized around the World Trip does not have to be all that expensive. This posts shows how much I spent on my 3,5 month around the World trip broken down into flights, trips and “on tour spendings”


Now, a month after getting home, we have looked at our bank statements and done a thoroughly calculation of absolutely all our expeses on the trip. The following amounts are in Norwegian Krones (NOK), per person and includes everything except flights and insurance which I have added in the conclusion part.

Skjermbilde 2014-10-10 kl. 17.52.00

Traveling with the Trans Mongolian Railway (21. feb-10.mar):

Countries visited(and duration): Russia, Mongolia, China (17 days)
Booked in advance: Ruski Huski trip 14 500,-
Amount spent on this part of the trip: 2500,-
Total per day spending: 1000,-

Island hopping in the Pacific (10. mar-25.mar):
Countries visited (and duration): Philippines, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, USA/Hawaii (15 days)
Booked in advance: Hostels 1500,-
Amount spent on this part of the trip: 8500,-
Total per day spending: 666,-

Traveling independently in Northern South America (25.mar-14.apr):

Countries visited(and duration): Colombia, Ecuador, Peru (20 days)
Booked in advance: Hostels, Macchu Picchu day trip 2750,-
Amount spent on this part of the trip: 5000,-
Total per day spending: 388,-


Traveling through Western South America with G- Adventures:(14.apr-13.may):
Countries visited(and duration): Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay (30 days)
Booked in advance: La Paz to Buenos Aires Adventure 10 000,-
Amount spent on this part of the trip: 5000,-
Total per day spending: 500,-



Traveling through Eastern South America with Dragoman(12.may-1.jun):
Countries visited (and duration): Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil  (19 days)
Booked in advance: Andes & Amazon, Buenos Aires to Rio 8500,-
Amount spent on this part of the trip: 4000,-
Total per day spending: 658,-



With flights costing 26 000kr per person and insurance costing 3000 per person, the trip ended up with a total around 80 000 krones/ 10 000 euros for 104 days. That is less than 800kr/100 euro per day including flights and absolutely everything except gifts and souveniers. That might sound like a lot, but it is less than double the amount we spend when staying at home and saving up for trip. So, in conclusion, for less than double the money you spend when working and sitting in your couch at home, you can travel the world and have thousand times the fun.

Skipping the Jet Lag From Long Travels

Catching up on some sleep on overland travels in Brazil

“West is best, and East is a beast!”

.. is a saying commonly used to describe the jet lag you get when traveling by plane over longer distances. And in most cases it really holds true, as you by travelling westward would just experience a longer day than usually, then go to bed a bit earlier and wake up all synced and rested out the next morning. When going East on the other hand, you will travel towards the clock so that you might find yourself wanting to go to bed at noon and waking up at 2am in the morning feeling like it is morning already.

In my case I was going east from Brazil to Norway, and since I had an morning exam and then work the day after I got back, I figured that something had to be done in order not to turn into a real brainless zombie when getting back. And it worked as well, making the transit painless, with absolutely no feeling of being unsyncronized with the new time zone, and by using the steps listed below you should also manage to do so:

1. Set off a days to adapt days at the end of your trip. The app “Entrain” will help you find out how long time you will need in order to fully recover from a jet lag after your travels, depending on your sleeping patterns and the amount of light surriounding you throughout the day. I set my arrival day 72 hours before I was actually going to arrive, so that I would be fully adapted already before getting back.
2. Wake up at appropriate times for the timezone of your destination. “Entrain” will give you a list of times when you should turn on and off your light, and also when you should go to bed and wake up. This is done very gradually in order to make the transaction go as smoothly as possible.
3. Catch an overnight flight. If you are going East, you might have a flight leaving at 10 and landing some time in the morning or around noon, local time. If you manage to sleep through the whole flight you will both save time and also adapt more easily to the new time. Sleeping pills might help, especially if you can get your hands on some melatonin based ones, which are legal in almost every country except Norway.
3. When you arrive, try to get as much direct sunlight as you can. This will help your inner clock adjust naturally to the new time zone.
4. Drink lots of water, and then some more! Hydration is really important and is also why should avoid alcohol and too much coffee while adapting to a new time zone, as this will reverse the effect, making you even more dehydrated.

So these are the tips that really did the trick for me, so if you dont feel like experiencing insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea and confusion (all symptoms of jet lag) from travelling, you should consider trying them too!

Get Everything Half Price When Traveling in Argentina!

It is no secret that the economy in Argentina is not going so well at the moment. For the tourists going to Argentina this is good news as everything gets cheaper, but locals are loosing their money from inflation and jobs from poor company turnover. Some people make protests in the street and are not happy with the foreigners exploiting the situation even more by the three steps I am about to tell you, and maybe you will understand after some background information.

Ever since the Argentinean Peso started to drop significantly in 2012, people started to change their whole savings into other currencies to secure themselves against their money becoming worthless. The government was then quick to put a ban on the US dollars and other currencies, and as a result the Argentineans could not withdraw foreign currency or change their currency, even when going abroad. And just like all other illegal things it became available in the underground at much more expensive prices. The profits were big as well, which probably is the reason why you will find (probably) hundreds of people in Florida Street and LaValle Avenue shouting “Cambio”, “Dollars, “Euros” etc in hopes of buying some dollars of you that they can sell to the Argentineans afterwards.

Therefore; when travelling to Argentina bring as many dollars as you can get as you can sell them to as much as 10-12 pesos when they at the official market rate are only worth around 7-8 Argentinean Pesos. Even restaurants and hotels will sometimes accept dollars at the “blue market rate”, which would save you/ give you around 30% extra on everything you buy! If you cannot get dollars at home you can just take a ferry over to Colonia in Uruguay, which costs around 60 US dollars round trip (market rate) where you can withdraw as many dollars as you want from all ATMs. When exchanging on the street you have to be careful to get real notes (not fake ones) be descrete and jump into a taxi once you have done the exchange. How much people offer you for your dollars also depends a littlebit on the amount and shape of your dollars (crisp hundreds are the best), but this link will show you daily updated rates of the dollar on the blue market.

Once you have the money changed you should go crazy when shopping as Buenos Aires is the perfect city with good selection of stores and cheap prices. Argentina, unlike most other South American countries is not a place where bartering is common. But, the economy is not going too well and the shops are very eager to get you to buy from them, so there is some leeway, namely asking for a cash discount, which many places is around 10% which can save you some money if you are shopping a lot. And hey, you already have all your money in cash from exchanging money from dollars, so why not ask for it?

On top of that, all tourists have a bonus when shopping abroad. Namely that they are not obliged to pay tax on the things they buy as long as they are leaving the country for good within three months of the purchase. When shopping we asked for tax free/ tax refund forms so that we could get 17% of everything we bought refunded upon departure from Argentina. We got refunded our tax both at the harbour when leaving to Uruguay and at the border post when leaving to Brazil and if you are planning on flying you can also go to the tax office at the airport to get it refunded there as well.

So if you if you are planning on going on a shopping holiday soon, make it Buenos Aires in Argentina- the Paris of South America, as you will not find as good selection for as cheap anywhere else than here at the moment.


When Traveling in South America: Don’t Give Papaya!

After having my cellphone stolen by a taxi driver in Bogotá (see post) I was given a lesson about an expression used in Colombia that explains how many locals percieves steeling or as they see it, letting others steel your stuff. The expression they use about such situations is “a papaya dada, papaya partida” which more or less can be translated to “what has been given, can be taken”. In other words you should not give papaya to anyone (not let anyone be able to take your stuff) and if you see papaya you can take it! (because it was their own fault!)Papaya is on of the most common fruits in Colombia, and the fruit is just a metaphor for basically anything or everything that can be stolen or misused. The papaya rule does not only apply to stealing, but also to saying something stupid that people will misuse for the rest of your life, walking around in miniskirt giving papaya to all the boys looking at your legs, or simply leaving your valuables unnatended. If they say you are give papaya, it means that you are not acting very smart.

If you see papaya you can take it, means that if others let down their guard, for example by saying something stupid then you have to make fun of them according to the papaya rule. Back home we would say that the friends who laugh at each other are not very good friends, but here that is not true. Here they would still be their best friend, because it is not you who should be blamed when they say something stupid that they should not have said.

The expression is not meant to scare you, but merely to think smart and take care of your belongings and what you say and do! After having actually given papaya in Colombia I will remember this rule in order not to have my thing stolen the next few months while travelling through the rest of South America.

Getting Access to Facebook and other Blocked Pages When Traveling

The Great Firewall of China is widely heard of, creating frustration among travelers who want to share their holiday memories or just get in touch with those back home. The pages and programs that are blocked include Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Gmail, Blogger and so on, and it is not only in China that these pages are blocked, so it can be smart preparing for this before you leave home by using one of the three options listed below:The best thing to do before you go would be to set up a VPN server from back home. The simple reason is that the pages where you can do this are usually also blocked in these countries. With the biggest VPN service providers like StrongVPN is is a simple thing and should also work well, but I forgot to do this before leaving and had to use the two other alternatives.

Using a proxy server like www.proxy-center.com
is the absolutely easiest alternative but it is slow and usually only works for a short time at a time. The service lets you type in a webaddress and then an external server redirects you to the page you want to visit. This would be the best alternative if all you need is a quick check like for email and social media pages.

If you are surfing from a tablet or smartphone, it is possible to download an app that will set up a VPN server for you. I tried several ones while being in China, but VPN Express was the only free (trial that will work for just a few days) one I got to work. I have heard that there are a few other good alternatives out there like ibVPN and Faceless VPN but these seem like they have to be launched before going into China. Are you willing to pay a little for it, it is also possible to buy apps that will let you get through these firewalls without any restrictions so that you can surf these pages as long as you want. Just as if you were sitting in your favorite couch back at home.