Celebrity traveler: Tech expert Mario Armstrong recharges in St. Thomas
For vacations, Baltimore native enjoys being able to disconnect
Mario Armstrong with wife Nicole and son Christopher in St. Thomas. (Courtesy of Mario Armstrong, Baltimore Sun / June 29, 2012)
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So you're on an island; do you like water sports?
Absolutely Jet Ski. They're not expensive, they're fun. Jet-Skiing in the Caribbean is abovewater snorkeling, because you can see straight through.
Any favorite memories?
One is being able to buy drinks off a truck. You're walking around St. Thomas by the waterfront or Main Street, and there are these trucks that are minibars on wheels. It was one of the first things that caught my attention: "Whoa: Is that a bar on wheels?" They can make you food or shakes or drinks.
The second was that we were having some jewelry repaired and the jeweler was having Coronas while fixing my stuff. I was like, "OK, it's okay to drink at work here!"
Do you have a favorite travel bag?
Probably my solar backpack. 100 percent recycled. Solar-charging. It has two straps over each shoulder, a main compartment and a smaller compartment. In front of the smaller compartment are the two solar panels that pull in the sun. I can connect my phone. It has an internal battery, charged by solar power, and also a USB port to connect any USB device to it for charging. It's pretty cool for my hand-held electronics. … It's called Voltaic [and retails for about $230].
What is one item you will not travel without?
Aside from my Voltaic, I guess it's my Kodak waterproof camera because it can go up to about 10 feet underwater. It's a camera, and it also takes video and I can shoot in full HD. For me, it's an all-in-one must-have.
What are you favorite travel guides, websites or apps?
I am huge fan of the TripIt app. It does the itineraries and is really well thought out. For overseas, I like XE currency app. And [I also have] a free Wi-Fi finder.
Favorite travel reads?
Mostly the things that allow me to recharge my mental capacity and use other areas of the brain. I like to look at TED videos when I'm in a place where I can relax and concentrate. The other thing I like to read is inspirational stuff: personal development, motivation. I stay away from the newspaper; [except] I'll read local stuff to get a sense of what's going on and where the happenings are. I'll [also] do puzzles, checkers and chess.
Ever play Words With Friends?
Oh, my — it's totally addictive!
I can't even imagine all that's on the home screen of your smartphone.
It's definitely on overload!
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