I travel a lot. Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Twitter will know I don’t spend too much time in one place. My Foursquare was even kind enough to point out that in the past 6 months, I’ve checked-in to 17 different airports and over 25 different subway and train stations. It’s come to a point where I feel at home most when waiting in airport terminals or waiting for the next train. Naturally, I’ve learned how to help the time go by faster and the trips more enjoyable, and here are a couple apps I think you absolutely need to enjoy your travels or commutes, while learning more and enriching yourself (versus just running away from zombie monkeys and collecting coins)
I love reading just as much as I love writing, but the prospect of carrying a bulky book around is discouraging and the chances I’d actually have it with me when an unexpected opportunity for some reading-time presents itself are very rare. That’s why, perhaps my favorite and most essential app when on-the-go is Amazon’s Kindle.
There are over 1 million books available, with thousands downloadable for free (classics such as Les Miserables for example). What’s beautiful about reading on the Kindle app is that the pages are often much smaller, meaning, you are sort of cheated into reading a lot more than you would with a book (for me at least). And if you’re like me, you love percentages and I absolutely adore seeing the percentage points go up with every reading (versus the read pages getting bulkier in a book).
Another awesome thing is that the Kindle app is cross-platform and syncs beautifully, which means if I was on my Galaxy Note II reading a particular book on the subway, when I open it on my iPad or Nexus 7 at home, it’ll remember where I left off on my Note II. You can also highlight, bookmark and look-up word instantaneously. Other perks include fixing the margins, the text size and arrangement, the background color and brightness to how you feel most comfortable. Personally, I love white text on a black background (saves battery too!) and justified arrangement.
In my subway time, I have finished two books in little over a month (Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevski, and a very interesting forensic psychology book: The Anatomy of Evil). I would’ve never imagined 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there would let you finish entire books in a matter of days. Books are also much cheaper, often less than half the price of a real book, and they all fit in your pocket, forever. So, you might be like “I love the feel of a real book (someone once said smell to me!)” but, if you want to think of convenience, customizability, easy-access and less money to spend on books, then you need to download the Kindle app and start reading.
We’ve all watched and fell in love with a TED talk (or several dozen if you’re like me!). TED talks are awesome for many reasons. For one, they’re given by people who are at the frontier in their fields or at the top of their industries. For two, they have something useful to say or an idea you might not have considered or ever known about were it not for these free TED talks. Thirdly, what I find most important in making TED talks a viable option when you’re flying or on the train (or boat if that’s what you’re into) is that they’re usually between 7 and 20 minutes only, which is very convenient and well under the average time a flight or commute usually needs.
What’s awesome about the TED app is that you can download the talks you’d like to watch or listen to, and watch them offline later when there’s no internet connection meters underground or thousands of meters above it. I have queued many TED talks and you have the choice between audio only, low quality video or HD (in case you’re worried about data caps and storage space, you can go with audio-only, but if you wanna enjoy your IPS 7″ screen, you might wanna get the HD version).