Cool Tools for Travel – Tim Ferriss and Kevin Kelly (#247)

Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly) might be the real-life Most Interesting Man In The World. I’ve always wanted to travel with him, and we recently headed to Uzbekistan together. This episode covers some of our favorite travel tools.

Kevin is Senior Maverick at Wired Magazine, which he co-founded in 1993. He also co-founded the All Species Foundation, a non-profit aimed at cataloging and identifying every living species on earth. In his spare time, he writes bestselling books, co-founded The Rosetta Project, which is building an archive of all documented human language, and serves on the board of The Long Now Foundation. As part of The Long Now Foundation, he’s investigating how to revive and restore endangered or extinct species, including the Wooly Mammoth.

His newest critically acclaimed book is The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. As journalist David Pogue has said: “Anyone can claim to be a prophet, a fortune teller, or a futurist, and plenty of people do. What makes Kevin Kelly different is that he’s right…”

This episode touches on a lot of cool stuff, and we had a blast recording it in the back of a car in the mountains. Enjoy!

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#247: Cool Tools for Travel - Tim Ferriss and Kevin Kelly

Want to hear my earlier conversations with Kevin Kelly, in which we discuss population implosions, The Long Now Foundation, organizational methods for learning, and much more? — Listen to them here (stream below or right-click to download part 1 | part 2 | part 3):

Ep 25: Kevin Kelly - WIRED Co-Founder, Polymath, Most Interesting Man In The World
Ep 26: Kevin Kelly (Part 2) - WIRED Co-Founder, Polymath, Most Interesting Man In The World?
Ep 27: Kevin Kelly (Part 3) - WIRED Co-Founder, Polymath, Most Interesting Man In The World?

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Kevin Kelly:

Website | Twitter | Facebook |

Show Notes

  • We cross a pass in the Tian Shan mountains at two thousand meters; Kevin explains the relative geography of Uzbekistan. [07:46]
  • My first cool tool [08:34]
  • My second cool tool [13:46]
  • My third cool tool [16:19]
  • My fourth cool tool [18:58]
  • An app I use a lot when traveling [22:00]
  • An app Kevin uses often [24:14]
  • Kevin’s Cool Tool [26:36]
  • What I’m up to next. [28:52]
  • What Kevin’s up to now. [30:32]
  • A final, bonus cool tool [31:35]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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37 Replies to “Cool Tools for Travel – Tim Ferriss and Kevin Kelly (#247)”

  1. Dear Tim,

    Do you consider coming to Kyrgyzstan also? We also good cuisine, lots of mountains for climbing if you are interested in, horse riding and yurts (nomads mobile house) and lots of other stuff that might be interesting to do. If not mistaken, you can find folks who tamed eagles and masters who made hunting bow…Anytime we welcome you

  2. Tim, thank you for all of the inspiration over the years. You and your guests have helped me redefine what success looks like. Thanks to you, my wife and I are embarking on a 12 month vagabonding trip around the world starting in October. Cheers!


  3. Great podcast Tim. Love the tip-swapping episodes like this one.

    I’ve already bought Kevin’s book on kindle and can’t wait to get stuck into it.

  4. Hi Tim,

    Always fun to get new travel tools for my non stop globe trotting 🙂 Thanks for sharing.


    PS…Amen on WordPress. Been on it for almost a decade. Hands down best site out there.

  5. Hi Tim, I wanna know what do you listen for your 20 minutes daily meditations? Do you use a recorded guided meditation? If so, could you let me know which one?

  6. Tim just wanted anted to tell you that your episode with Phil koeghig was awesome and it inspired me to look up the LeRide film which in turn caused me to order the film to be played at our hometown theater. Now I have to promote it. Any suggestions on how best to do that. I have 2 weeks to get 48 people or it doesn’t fly.

    1. rebecca i can help you promote it or you do it through marketing channels instagram and facebook you need to go at it hard

      TIm you are the best


  7. If you have a recent version of Android (and specifically if you have a Pixel or Nexus made by Google), Google will do everything Kevin described myGPS tracker does automatically by default (to be clear I’m only referring to the features he said, I don’t know all of what it does) aside from the ability to use on other platforms. Any photos you take are backed up by default to Google Photos, and Google Maps by default tracks your location. If you then go into your Timeline on Google Maps (open the hamburger menu in the top left to find it), you can view where you went on any given day at any given time, and if you took pictures with your phone they’ll show up on the timeline where you took them as well. It’s also nifty because if you’re in Google photos you can search a particular location and get all the photos you took from there. Aspects of this likely work on the iPhone as well if you use Google Maps and Photos, but I can’t say for sure.

    Both Google and Apple have already solved the problem discussed about tracking for emergency purposes. Simply make sure a loved one can log into your account in case of an emergency. You should use Two-factor auth anyway, and if so on Android can generate backup codes to give to someone (probably a similar process for iPhones). This way they can use the find my phone feature on either platform to get a real time update of where it is (of course assuming its on and connected to GPS or WiFi/Cellular, if not it’ll often give a last location, though not always). If you have two-factor on you’ll also know if they use a code to login to your account.

    There’s also FindMyFriends on iPhone you can use, which is less invasive password-wise but more invasive location-wise (in that they don’t have to login to your account but can see you all the time it’s enabled).

    1. As an update on that second part if anyone reads this in the future, Google Maps also now has a Share my location feature where you can selectively share your location with another user. You can turn it on or off at any time, schedule it, or just leave it on indefinitely.

  8. You’re blog is great! You’re five bullet Friday inspired a similar email exchange with my childhood friend who I get to visit with every 1-2 months. It’s a great way to keep people in the loop of what your up to besides an occasionally text. Anyways keep up the awesome work sir! Please and thank you!

  9. This came out just as I was planning my next itinerary for SE Asia. Nothing gets you more psyched about travel and vagabonding than a good old episode of the 4HWW podcast.

    Thanks Tim!

      1. I’d also love to know the answer since I started a travel backpack company using the 4HWW as a blueprint. Let me know if you’re open to replacing your bag with an ultralight option from a Wirecutter-approved company.

  10. You just saved me a lot of money on a year basis! I can’t use foam earplugs since my ear canals are so sensitive that they start to bleed. When I found out about silicone ones it was a game changer! The difference is that I buy mine in the pharmacy here in Sweden. They cost 5.684 $ for two pairs (read room for competition!)… Amazon will receive a large order of Mack’s in the near future!

    When it comes to the definition of a cool tool for travel for me, it would have to be something that lets you enjoy your traveling more.

    Either by offering something neat (like a standalone keyboard), or by offering you a way to relax more. One will increase the things you can do, and the other will increase the amount of energy you’ve for your holiday.

    I’m starting to get the relaxing part down to a teeth. At least when traveling by air.

    Grab a memory foam neck pillow for long flights. Lock it in the front and then turn it around if you usually wake up with your chin glued to your chest. Will give your chin a nice pillar to rest on and remove the neck strains.

    Then add EarPlanes earplugs as a addition to the silicone ones for removing pain from air pressure (use during take of and landing before switching).

    Put on the sleep master sleep mask (still the most creative product name to this day xD) and you completed the mummy traveler look!

    For future flights I will try to incorporate some technology like emWave2 to get into a relaxed stat quicker after the hectic security check and airport experience.

    You could also bring a lacrosse ball a la Kelly Starrett style for some on flight mobilization.

    The thing I’m currently looking for to invest in is a more portable version of a brutal foam roller like the RumbleRoller or something like Kelly’s Battle Star.

    Had a 30 hour travel from Sweden to O’ahu where 19 of the hours where on a plane. I tried to pop my spine back to normal by laying out with my head from the bed for days without any success!

    Awesome post as always. Keep it up!

  11. I have only one question, “Why such a short episode with “the real-life Most Interesting Man In The World”? Seriously! 🙂

    Also, a more practical question, I want to start a global Longevity Research Exchange project, uniting all the researchers, scientists and thinkers into one group without-borders under one umbrella “pursuit of immortality”, where people can openly share their findings and thoughts detailed or not so, with some translation service to include as many nations as possible, project on a mission to prolong human lifespan for as long as possible as fast as possible.

    How would one start something like that Kevin? You have a lot of experience starting global projects.

  12. “They base this on your sizes, preferences, etc. The trunk is then delivered free of charge both ways, so you only pay for clothes that you keep. If you keep none, it costs you nothing.”

    Do you think they’ll bring this internationally?

  13. Tim, huge fan and follower. I also seem to compile a never ending list of books and articles to read. My question is two fold: How do you manage this, and should one on a budget go about trying to read all the books on said list. Thanks!

  14. Tim – You should do a “What’s in my bag?” like Matt Mullenweg has done in the past. Just curious what your everyday carry backpack and travel backpack looks like. What sort of life hacks do you tote around?

  15. Instructions for comments on 5-Bullet Friday are to leave them on the blog, so here is my comment: I like the fact that the “quotes you are pondering” have been Japanese tanka poems for the last few weeks. However, the websites where you have found them do not credit the translator. The Saigyo poem beginning “One whose mind is/one with the sky-void” for this week is from William Lafleur’s Awesome Nightfall. See google books. By not crediting Lafleur, you are in violation of copyright. The websites where you probably found the poem are as well.

  16. Loved your Saigyo quote, “One who’s mind is one with the sky…”. Here is a corollary quote from the Bagvad Gita, chapter three, verse 17.

    “But the man whose delight is in the Self alone, who is content in the Self, who rejoices only in the Self, for him there is no action that he need do.”

  17. Tim,

    I just want to thank you.

    Thank you for just being.

    Thank you for being smart. Smart enough to know your own limitations and seeking out intelligent ways to change that that can be beneficial to others as well.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

    Thank you for giving so much of your knowledge away for free.

    In an age when we are all personalized promotional ads and everything we do is a marketing ploy, it is comforting to see someone giving something, anything, simply to help create change.

    Thank you for being vulnerable. That is the key to all true sharing and giving. Allowing others to see our short comings and struggles and finding inventive ways to overcome them.

    Thank you for waiting to have a TV show until I was willing to succumb to purchased TV viewing for the first time in my life.

    I am loving your show, your podcast, your books, your blog and your Friday bullets.

    You continue to inspire and motivate, and I will continue to tell you so and be thankful for you.


  18. Hi Tim,

    I’m editor of a travel magazine and currently looking at the trend that we’re always active, even on holiday. I wondered what your view on that is. The theme of your book published 10 years ago was the 4 hour work week, an encouragement, as far as I understand it, to use time wisely and get away from this constant pressure to “do stuff”, to look at what really needs doing and doing only that and thereby freeing up time for other pursuits.

    But how do you feel about the trend that now people aren’t only busy with 40h work weeks, but also have packed schedules on holiday starting with sunrise yoga at 6am, learning to bake the local Italian bread, going on a boat tour and to an exhibition all before lunch on the first day of their trip?

    When does holiday and travelling just become an extension of the hamster wheel schedule and when is it the sort of life-enhancing experience you tend to speak of when you speak of your travel experiences? What’s the trick? What’s your definition of “work”?

    When you’re blogging about travel, is that part of “work” or is that “leisure”? With all the blogging and speaking engagements and book-writing are you still managing all that on a 4-hour-work-week?

    Would love to hear your views.

    All the best,


  19. Tools of Titans has completely changed my life.

    I tell everyone about it, they buy it and come back to thank me for the recommendation! That is gold! That’s my first THANK YOU to you. I took on board your statement about ‘Google being my friend’ in relation to all the stuff in your book that I might want to research.

    I was reading and flicking to my notes app and feverishly making notes, then I was copy and pasting my notes into Safari and searching for content. This felt unintuitive (I’m an app developer) so I created an app that would allow me to make lists and then to instantly search for what I’d written.

    [My app]* is heading for its 3.0 release and people all over the world use it everyday to make bucket lists, research lists and lots of other stuff! All thanks to a line in your book which set my brain on fire!

    I’m so grateful that I found your work, please keep writing and churning out the content, because I’m sure that it makes a difference in the world, it certainly has to mine.


    Marc Foi

    I tried to email this to you, then I noticed the small print!

    *Edited by Moderator

  20. myTracks app – smth like that for Android? I’d really love that! I love taking pictures and would love to tag them to locations!

  21. Hey Tim… One solution to the always on emergency beacon for travelling in remote areas is the Spot satellite beacon. If I’m trekking into the mountains I can set it to upload my location every 5 minutes or so via satellite, even if I don’t have cell coverage (which is true where I hike in the alps most of the time). It also comes with a button to call for help from the local emergency services, just in case the worst happens.

    The spot web service works for sharing your location, but it isn’t that great; so I send the data via a 3rd party service shareyouradventure. – which has the bonus in that it also accepts location data from tweets, foursquare checkins, and shared photos – giving you a super cool record of your hike or multi-day adventure.

    If you have cell coverage the Viewranger app also has a beacon that will send location data to the above website, although as this depends on your smartphone battery, it isn’t great for long trips in the back country.

    [Moderator: links removed.]

  22. Hey Tim, I’m a huge fan, I know your busy so Ill get right to it.

    I am the owner of a small independent Travel Magazine in the Philippines.

    I was hoping to repost your list of COOL TOOLS for TRAVEL in our latest issue. I will definitely put links to your original podcast as well as credit you and Mr. Kelly.

    Please let me know if this is ok?

  23. Always finding cool new stuff, some of which I need. Now if only we could find a manufacturer who can put cargo pockets on dress pants for our cell phones!!

  24. You forgot to mention in your links what Kevin referred to as “I think it’s called the ‘Silver Dome.'” That would be the “Chrome Dome” umbrella popular among lightweight and long-distance backpackers. It weighs just over 200 grams and is far sturdier than the complicated, but smaller, fold-up umbrellas out there. It’s been my favorite piece of hiking equipment for nearly a decade.

  25. This was surprisingly boring.. If he is the “most interesting man in the world”, something got lost in translation…

    15 minutes talking about the size and wrinkles on a jacket.

    Another 15 minutes describing just how thin is that bluetooth keyboard…

    Come on

  26. I loved and laughed often in this episode! And, you inspired the decision to buy a microphone to gather material when traveling. Thanks guys.

    1. …oh, and a hearty upvote on the Mac’s Silicon Wax ear plugs suggestion. I’ve used them for years swimming but had blinders on the simple idea of travel use too…

  27. Between the book “Four Hour Work Week,” and interviews on Travel, I was able to change my life this year and for the first time take off 11 days and travel with friends, leaving work behind and an understanding wife, while the kids were away. I have not taken more then eight days off since my honeymoon 19 years ago, however between learning tips from your book and travel ideas from your interviews, I was able to travel to the middle east for 11 days only using a carry on page and backpack. That is pretty good for someone that has not left the country for an extended period of time in 19 years. If I can do it…anyone can do it…Thank you Tim…Keep up the good work…we are listening…Ira Greenspan