I apologize I haven't posted the later parts of my Macbook setup instructions yet. I ran into the chicken-and-egg problem of wanting to use my new Macbook to write my posts. I am happy to report that I am now writing this post on my new Macbook and it's to a point where I can start writing the rest of the article. I will do that later on. First though, a quick update regarding trip preparations.
I have finally received my provisional acceptance for Global Entry. The next available appointment for my interview was June 8th though, several days after I would have already left the country. Thankfully the local Customs office was very helpful and arranged to interview me before normal office hours on April 18th. If you haven't seen Global Entry before, it combines the benefits of TSA Pre-Check with the ability to get expedited entrance to the US and other participating countries by skipping the Customs lines at the international arrival points. The best part is that because of my Amex Platinum benefits I was refunded the $100 fee by statement credit.
Plane Ticket to Prague
I finally purchased my plane ticket to Prague. I'm very happy with the money I was able to save by going through Amex Travel. I originally was expecting it to be nearly $3000 before taxes and fees, and ended up paying a total cost of just over $2500, fees/taxes inclusive. I saved at least $700 and ended up the same exact flight and route I had originally looked up on Expedia. My plane leaves at 8AM CDT (UTC-5) on May 28th and arrives in Prague at 10:30AM CEST (UTC+2) on May 29th. So, yep, I'm losing a whole day to flying between time zone changes and travel time. The Remote Year folks have promised me espresso when I arrive and it'll be much appreciated.
I have received all my required vaccines and got my WHO yellow card for entrance to countries which require it. Was not too bad, but have to say getting stuck with 7 different needles in one day is not something I want to repeat any time soon. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B both require further injections. Have to do one in about a month for B, and then one in 6 months for both A and B. Additionally, my medical insurance didn't cover it, so it was $900 out of pocket to cover the vaccines. Ouch.
I have acquired travel/travel medical insurance and camera insurance. I also finally ordered that 300mm f/4E lens I've been wanting for ages. This should enable me to leave behind my tripod and just take a monopod with me on this trip, which is good because the tripod won't fit into my Pelican I'm taking the camera gear in, but the monopod will. In theory I can actually do hand-held telephoto shots with this lens due to its light weight and image stabilization. I know that my existing 300mm f/4D was definitely not capable of doing hand-held shots without significant blur.
I also acquired an International Driving Permit. Now that we're going to London, I'm hoping to take advantage of the ridiculously cheap airfare from London to the rest of Europe to do a trip to Belgium and Germany during my time there to visit breweries. In particular I want to go to Weihenstephaner in Germany and Brouwerij van Steenberge, Brouwerij de Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren, and Brasserie de Rochefort van Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy in Belgium.
Last but not least I have a few items left to and probably write about. The main thing left is I need to set up OpenVPN on my Ubiquiti Edgeroute ER3L w/ legit certs and proper DNS records so I can VPN from anywhere to secure public Wi-Fi.
You can expect another update from me shortly to the Macbook setup instructions. Going to try to complete them as my weekend project. Also, of note, my site now has a favicon and I have made the tristor.ro Github repo public. More on that later.