Category Archives: Uncategorized

VisaMapper… Brilliant!

For those who haven’t tried the addictive drug that is “Reddit.com“, a new travel tool has emerged from the travel subcategory called “VisaMapper“.  It’s an attempt to attack the age old question, “What countries do I need a visa to visit?”.

Simply enter your country and, BOOM, all international visa requirements are mapped out.

Read more about it here - Reddit/Travel – About Visa Mapper (Click)

Or, go directly to the site and start playing around – VisaMapper.com (Click)

VisaMapper Website - Click

News

BackpackersUnion.com is still getting a lot of daily traffic, and while it could be from people typing “are bulgarian girls easy” into Google, I’d rather think it’s from those curious about what’s going on with the film.

For that reason I created a News tab on the Jibe Films home page.

While all major information pertinent to film will still be posted here, those who want to know more about the post production process can find it under “News” at jibefilms.com.

Thanks for checking up!

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 4.27.57 PM

A Wonderful Dream

Yes, I’m back home.  I spent the past month trying to surprise friends and family which turns out I’m terrible at (but, hence the absences of updates).

Is it weird being home?  Nope.  What’s weird is it feels like I never left.  The whole trip feels like one elongated dream.

Sun Breaking Through - Lake Bled, Slovenia

I keep having flashbacks of some journey around the world in 280 days packed with a two lifetimes worth of stories.

Water dripping from bamboo durning rain storm in Philippines.

Koh Toa, Thailand

Mostar, Bosnia

Now there’s only one thing left to do; Turn it into a movie.

The SEO Countdown – Backpackers Union Searches

I just discovered that Google will tell me what searches were used to reach the website. It’s confusing, hysterical and sometimes disturbing. While I’m sure the purpose is to use the information for Search Engine Optimization, today we’ll use it for entertainment.

Here is my top ten list of favorite Google searches that brought people to backpackersunion.com:

10. “easy sex at full moon party”

9. “absinthe and sex”

8. “summer bobsled tour weekends only”

7. “backpacker sex orgies”

6. “home made condoms”

5. “are bulgarian girls easy”

4. “crack in the bathroom”

3. “what dirty thing should i whisper in my girlfriend’s ear”

2. “sore ass”

1. “warning this girl will bleed you dry sihanoukville”

The only question that remains… what the hell am I writing about that these searches brought people here??

Condoms spilling out of someones bag at the Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Condoms spilling out of someones bag at the Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand.

A Production State of Mind – (Image, maybe NSFW…)

For this film I’ve been to 17 countries, 28 major cities, 10 tropical islands, Everest Base Camp and a destroyed nuclear power plant.  I’ve been robbed, fallen in love, broke stuff, lost stuff, made friends, made enemies, been stressed, relaxed, watched gang fights, been chased by trannies, bouncers, and kids…

and I have it on film.

It would be hard for anyone to imagine the things I’ve seen or been through.  It’s for that reason I knew Backpackers Union would be a good idea.

IMG_6944 1-001

However, I am now a little distracted and getting anxious for the post production process.  As a result my updates may suffer briefly… but with 1.5+ terabytes of videos, pictures and audio, I promise the ride only gets better!

 

PS.  I literally get chills when thinking about the people pulling for this project, so again, thank you!  This graph is only updated through the start of April because of a server change, but we’re growing!!!

Screen shot 2013-05-18 at 9.18.21 PM

Backpackers Union viewed around the world.
Screen shot 2013-06-007

Pure Awesomeness! War Stories.

I’m sure this section will occasionally slip under the radar, but there are a few stories under the War Stories section that are hysterical.  Check them out and click on the tab above or click here!

Three to highlight;

-“The back alley double pump”, Vietnam
-“How not to pick up six blonds”, Gili Islands, Indonesia
-“Not so Happy Pizza”, Cambodia

*(On a computer, new stories post at the top.  On the mobile version, new stories are at the bottom.  Don’t know why.)

Hue Backpackers Own Brand of Vodka, Vietnam

And remember, If you want to post a story do it!  You do not need to use your real name or email for it to post.  Have fun with it!

Thanks to all who have already added!

Post #1 Busy on Everest – The picture you see every time you log on to Backpackers Union, Australia

Every time you log on to Backpackers Union (on a computer) you see a picture of me at the top of the page.  It’s not random.  That picture was from the first trip I ever took overseas and taken within the first few days of arriving.  It was also that trip that inspired the other trips and eventually the Backpackers Union.

A few seconds before the picture was taken I almost died and didn’t find out why until months later.

View of Surfers Paradise, Australia

I was on Noosa Head, an infamous surf spot in Australia and hiking along some trails with a few buddies.  We were told very clearly to stay on the paths by a local surfer.  To get that picture, I not only jumped off the path, I scaled over a fence and climbed down a rock wall to get to the ledge where the picture was taken.  When I landed I was greeted by a charging snake I couldn’t see until it was staring at my ankle.  But it never bit.

Completely oblivious to what type of snake it was, I told my friends to take a look before jumping back to the chain link fence and shimmying about ten feet away and jumping back down to take the picture.

Months later I found out I was staring at the #2 most venomous snake in the world which infest that area.  The Northern Brown Snake.  The reason he didn’t strike and I lived to talk about it;  I was naive enough to stand still to see, “what stupid animal was charging towards me instead of away?”.  Little did I know, they are attackers and charge their threats.  Standing still is what saved my life as they respond to movement and it assessed me as not a threat.

king-brown-snake-australia (Not an original image)

In the end the picture came out great but I almost died for it.

I’m really glad he didn’t bite, the trip clearly became amazing.

Bond University - Study Abroad Australia

The IPhone just got better! “Backpackers Union” the Mobile Version and App

There’s a new mobile version of Backpackers Union that’s way better than before!  And to make things even more awesome, you can easily add it as an app to you’re home screen.

Backpackers Union Mobile App

To add it as an App, simply click here to go to the home page then follow these steps.

11

22

Done!

You can also add just the section war stories, so you can add anonymous, awesome and funny stories about your travels from anywhere in the world by following the same four step, but starting here…  and because your writing is more likely better than mine… please add stories so we can all enjoy!  The section is completely anonymous if you don’t use your name!

Thanks again to everyone who reads and follows!

War Stories!!!

You may all notice a new little tab on the menu called “War Stories”… this could become my new favorite thing!  We’ll see!

Wroclaw, Poland Train Station

It’s a place where anyone can post a story that happened to them or their friend while backpacking and remain “completely anonymous”.  There’s no email confirmation or real name needed… unless of course you want to, feel free.  But that’s up to you.

There are some awesome stories out there, so tell them!  Hopefully others will add and it will make for some good backpacking war story reading.

Fake Names and Email address will still post a story.  So have fun!

When I first got all my winter gear I didn't think I needed.  Riga, Latvia

Avoiding International ATM Fee’s and Make Free Call’s and Text’s Around the World

As a follow up to my last post and the mistakes I made;  read this and don’t make the same ones.

The ATM fee issue differs from country to country.  After hours of research, I found most countries have some pretty good options to avoid or reduce ATM fee’s;  USA has the least, but “one” of the best.

Avoid International ATM Fee’s:  The number one way to avoid international ATM’s fees is opening up a  Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account account BEFORE** you leave the USA.  It’s easy and their card offers fee rebates from any ATM worldwide.  This is the only card in the USA to do this with no stipulations.  For example, CapitalOne’s Debit Card “Does this” except you need to maintain a $5000 balance.  So, if you have an extra $5000 laying around to float your balance above this threshold, by all means go for it.

Do make this a priority as $hit He@ds at Sovereign Bank charge; a $6 International ATM Fee + a 4% fee of the total withdrawn overseas + a 3% currency conversion fee, then you pay the local ATM’s fee ($0-$5).  Whats this mean?  Take out $200, Sovereign Bank gladly take $20 for themselves, this is not including the local ATM fee charge… multiply that by the total savings for your trip and all your withdrawals… it add’s up quickly.

**(See footnote at bottom if you’re already traveling and want the Schwab Card anyway).

Credit Cards:  Quick note; get a card that touts “travel benefit” stuff.  My CapitalOne Ventura Credit Card’s points count for double on travel related stuff.  I was able to “erase” a $137 flight with points I’ve accrued on travel related transactions. They also claim no foreign transaction fees which are common with other Credit Cards, however I’m unsure how they handle currency conversions (Some Banks, ATM’s, Cards, will skim a little off the top when converting currency’s.  It’s usually a 1% or 2% but watch out for it).  I would shop around for some options, but I’ve been happy with this one.

Free Call’s and Text World Wide:  Bring your smart phone!  Wifi is everywhere.  There’s a joke in Ukraine, “Wifi is a right, not a privilege”.  I was on my laptop in a Taxi connected to the “Free Wifi Kiev” network while driving around looking for my hostel.

With service like ViberWhatsapp, talkatone* and a million others, you can make free calls and text anywhere there’s a wifi network, which is everywhere.  So, while in 2009 you were looking like a dork in an internet cafe with a giant headset and mouth piece talking to Mom and Dad at 40 cents a minute, you can now look like every other dork back home sitting around a bar table with your friends staring at your smart phones and chat for free.

Bringing your computer?  I personally hate having the responsibility, but LOVE having it.  The best trick with a computer is Google Voice.  You can use any phone number to set it up (I use my parents landline) and it won’t effect that number.  You can then make free ‘computer to phone’ calls and text from Gmail (to the USA).  The rates to other countries are reasonable and can be found on the Google Voice’s website.

*Update:  You can use google voice on your phone over any wifi networks and make free calls to, or within the US by downloading the free app “Talkatone“.

This whole trip I’ve spent hours on the phone calling the USA and it has cost me $0 so far.

PS.  I get paid nothing if you click or take any of this advice, which I think makes me more stupid than benevolent, but I hope it helps.

Free Beer Tomorrow - Bar in Kiev Ukraine

**Applying for a Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account while overseas?  I tried this a wanted to punch the Charles Schwab’s president in the face when the process was done.  I filled out forms, spoke to agents, linked accounts, transferred money, and even faxed special document’s so they’d mail the card to Ukraine.  They mailed the card and 5 days before it arrived the fraud department called and said, “they’d be happy to activate the card, just please fly back to the US and go to the nearest Charles Schwab Bank to confirm your identity……”.  

Not getting Ukraine’s US ambassador to confirm my identify, granting my family a power of attorney, or flying to their Hong Kong office was enough… I needed to fly home or have a “Durable Power of Attorney”, in other words kill myself, then they would activate my account. 

The way around this; The application process is online.  The fraud department flagged my IP Address (my computer’s location) as coming from Ukraine which is why they put a hold on my account. To get around this; get on the phone with Mom or Dad have them fill out the online form from within the USA.  Use your google voice number to talk to the representative when they call to confirm the information (It’ll show as a USA Phone number.  The representatives are unbelievably awesome, it’s the fraud policies that are not).  Then have the card mailed to you… this parts on you, but I’d say have it mailed to your US address on record and then have a friend or family member send it to you.  Boom, done.