Evernote and other technologies I used when I was in Morocco

    When we entered the boarding area, my wife realized that she had forgotten her phone. In other words, gone were all the messages the travel agency had sent her. Thankfully, Evernote saved our trip to Morocco. At that point, we were unable to go back home and return in time, so I opened my Travel notebook on Evernote to assess the situation. But before I go any further, let me provide you with some context.

    Usually, I am the one who organizes our trips, but this time it was different. My wife was doing it. On my side, as I have already shown in past videos, I was saving on Evernote all that she was sending me. Also, I am not a WhatsApp user.

    Back to the airport

    I had our boarding passes and all instructions in offline notes, but here’s my question. Why would a travel agency send all the information to its clients using WhatsApp instead of email? Also, why would the clients trust WhatsApp with all that information? And I’m not even talking about privacy. I’m talking about access.

    Without a phone, which can be lost, broken, or stolen, there is no way to access the messages. However, on a public computer, one can open and even print information using the web client of an email provider or notes saved on Evernote, Google Keep, or others.

    I’m convinced that this addiction to WhatsApp has already gone too far and caused many people serious problems. A few days ago, I even saw an article suggesting that people use the note-to-self feature to take notes.

    NO! Please do not do this.

    If you are not interested in dealing with all that Evernote or similar Apps have to offer, use Google Keep. It’s simple, and you’ll be able to access your notes even without your phone.

    Okay, that’s that.

    But, since we are here, I would like to share with you the other technologies that made our trip a success, even though we did not buy a local SIM-Card.

    Google Maps

    You have to do this before loosing Internet connection. Go to settings, select the ‘Offline Maps’ option, choose an area and download it. From now on, even if you do not have Internet access, that map will be available. But there is a caveat: there are no turn-by-turn directions.

    The GPS will still work, and you’ll see the blue dot moving on the map. If you are walking as we were, it is pretty easy to follow a route towards your destination. Nevertheless, I’m not certain how efficient this would be for driving.

    Google Translate

    Just like Google Maps, we can download dictionaries on Google Translate. Before the trip, open the App on your phone, select one or more languages and tap the icon with an arrow pointing down.

    For this trip, I downloaded the Arabic and French dictionaries, which were quite helpful.

    Canon App

    I love the way Google Photos plots all pictures on a map, and there is also a practical use. I often forget a restaurant or another place location, and finding the address is as simple as opening the photo and selecting ‘Open in Google Maps’.

    For this trip, a brought my Canon, that doesn’t have a GPS. To fix this, I installed the Canon Camera Connect App, which connects to my phone via Bluetooth and uses its GPS to obtain the location of the pictures I was taking.

    Garmin Instinct 2

    This one was just for fun. I used my Garmin Instinct 2 to track all our walks, and at the end of each day, I saved the map in Evernote with some statistics, and a picture of the watch showing how much battery was left.

    Each day, we walked more than 10 km, and I’m now even more impressed with the battery of this watch. You can learn more about my decision to buy it by clicking here.

    Although I wasn’t expecting to need this, I added the hotel’s location to my watch, so I could navigate back there. Google Maps worked great, and we ended up memorizing our way back, but I had to try it. One day I did use the watch to go back to the hotel. It worked like a charm, and the geek in me loved it.

    It’s better to be disconnected

    My wife and I love to travel, but since the end of the lockdown, we’ve been only traveling within the EU. With the single currency, no border checks, and free roaming, things are too easy. There is no need to prepare thoroughly.

    It’s great that we can just pack and go, but ultimately, you feel like you never really visited another country.

    Morocco was, however, a different story. I went back to being prepared-for-anything mode, read a lot about it and watched some documentaries. Furthermore, without a local SIM-Card, we were disconnected from home most of the time, and we felt really immersed in an entirely different culture.

    😮 Oops, I didn’t take my watch off

    Remember my video about why I chose a Garmin instead of an Apple Watch? I was sending and painting for a while when I realized I had forgotten to take off the watch. If you look closely enough, you will notice that there are paint drops on my arm. Some of them ended up on the watch, but that’s alright. All you had to do was wash it, and everything worked out fine.

    Why not an Apple Watch or Wear OS?

    Before the Apple Watch, there was the Pebble (image below). I loved that smartwatch, but the end was inevitable, the company eventually went bankrupt, and was sold to Fitbit. The final nail in the coffin was the watch being discontinued, and the servers turned off.

    Without the servers, many features would stop working, and the experience wouldn’t be the same. To save us, a group of enthusiasts created Rebble to bring life back to the Pebble. I appreciate what they did, but it’s not the same. Our watches would inevitably get old and parts would break.

    Long story short, I could never find a smartwatch alternative that would check all the boxes: waterproof, buttons instead of touch screen, e-ink display, long-lasting battery, health sensors, and good quality build. I ended-up moving to a G-Shock, that I absolutely love. However, it was not a complete experience. I was constantly missing the health sensors.

    It was only recently that I came across an alternative from Garmin. Yes, I completely missed the original Instinct release. But that’s ok. I recently got the Instinct 2, and I’m thrilled. Not only it checks all the boxes, it looks like the G-Sock I was wearing.