Karl Rock's Blog

India Travel Safety & Advice plus the Best of Incredible India

Category: Travel Hacks Page 1 of 2

What's in My YouTube Filmmaking & Live Streaming Bag?

What’s in My YouTube Filmmaking & Live Streaming Bag?

A lot of people ask me what equipment I use to create my videos on YouTube videos and live streams. I’m a very minimal person. I try not to own much equipment, or possessions in general. The more stuff I have, the more I have to lug around, it’s a pain.

I still use my first GoPro camera as my primary camera, and it’s what I’ve filmed 99% of my content on – just the camera, no external microphone or anything else. In the beginning, I was even borrowing my friend’s computer to edit. I literally only had a GoPro.

I tell you this because the equipment you use does not matter. I made videos with millions of views with just an idea, my GoPro, and a borrowed computer!

The story you’re telling is what matters the most! I’ve seen travel vloggers make stunningly beautiful vlogs… but there was no personality or story in the video, so they only had a few hundred views. A story is everything, not equipment.

Recently, I’ve begun to buy more equipment to increase the quality of my live streams and social media posts. But still, the GoPro is my go-to camera for most of my work.

YouTube Video Equipment

YouTube Live Stream Equipment

Social Media Equipment

The Best TED Talks on Language Learning [Exclusive Video]

The Best TED Talks on Language Learning [Exclusive Video]

I’ve been learning Hindi slowly for 3 years now, and I got to the point where I was just not happy with my progress. I felt progress was too slow and I wasn’t making the most of actually living in India. So I went search for the answer to speed up my language learning.

After watching hours of language learning videos on YouTube, I was able to separate the fake from the real. There are a lot of fakers on YouTube with language learning videos with The below 3 videos formed my decision to renounce English and begin only speaking Hindi. I’m quitting English for an entire week to see if it helps speed up my learning. I won’t even talk in English to my family and friends, they’ll have to use a translator app.

I expect it’ll help immensely because it’s replicating how we all learnt our mother tongue as kids: listening > speaking > screwing up > repeating. What I think is that language learning is 80% practice and 20% grammar, so I’m going to put that to the test. Goodbye English.

I’ll post an update after the week ends!

7 Must-Have Travel Accessories for India. Photo by Matthias Ripp (https://flic.kr/p/q2dgEV).

8 Must-Have Travel Accessories for India [Exclusive Video]

I arrived in India with none of these things, but I quickly learnt their importance! Here are the stop 7 things you need to travel India comfortably.

1. Ditch the suitcase & change to a travel backpack

Suitcases are useless in India. The roads and footpaths (if there are any!) are full of holes, dirt, and dust. Good luck wheeling your case around on these streets.

Use a large 55 L backpack instead. When it’s on your back, there’s no dragging it through the mud, and you have both your hands-free.

2. A cloth to clean your shoes

Your shoes collect a ton of dust, dirt, and if you’re “lucky” (as they say in India), cow poo. Don’t let the muck build up. Bring a disposable kitchen cleaning cloth and clean your shoes each night with water. Leave it out overnight in your room to dry.

3. Baby wipes, not toilet paperCloth for shoes

Toilet paper is a weird shape to pack and ends up getting squashed and perishing. Baby wipes are easier to pack, you get more use out of an 80 pack, and they do a much better job where it matters.

4. Carry flip-flops

Crocks Flip Flops

When you get back to your hotel, you’ll want to remove your shoes, but still, you don’t want to walk barefoot on the floor. Leave your flip-flops (sandals) by the door to change into when you enter.

5. Microfibre travel towel

Microfibre travel taowelDon’t use towels provided by hotels. People commonly use them to clean the muck off their shoes, and after all the stinky towels I’ve encountered I doubt they’re washed well. You’ll frequently see them drying on a dirty fence in the middle of busy roads.

A half-sized travel towel is small and will do the same job as a regular sized towel plus dry much faster. Most hotels have washing lines on their rooftops.

6. Sweat-wicking clothingNike Dri Fit

If you want to travel comfortably in summer what you wear will make a vast difference to how comfortable you are in 40 degrees. Use sweat-wicking clothing to achieve this. When summer comes, I’m thankful for my Dri-FIT t-shirts.

7. Padlock

Some hotels use old-school padlocks to lock their rooms. Use your own instead, that way you know no one has access.

8. Power bank & adapter

You can buy an adapter in India easily for around $1 USD but one thing to bring from home is a power bank. You never know when you’ll run out of battery on a bus or train. The higher classes on the train have power outlets, but only a few in each carriage and in weird locations.

The Best Places to Visit Near Indore (Omkareshwar, Ujjain & Mandu)

After having a full eating dose in Indore, I was all geared up for a three days trip to three different places around Indore. It consisted of Omkareshwar, Ujjain and Mandu.

Omkareshwar, Narmada River. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Omkareshwar, Narmada River. Photo by vkpriyesh


77.6 km south of Indore exists a place of utmost religious spirit, Omkareshwar. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga (devotional representation) shrines of Lord Shiva in India and is situated on an island named Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada river. A place full of sadhu babas, an amazing sunrise scene, rhythmic water waves, and Sangam.

Best travel connectivity from Indore

Frequent buses from Sarwate Bus Stand, Indore. You can also book a local taxi. Travelling by road is another add-on to the journey as the route consists of ghats on the way. It’s a 3-hour journey.

Food & Stay

Although the place can be fully experienced in a day. If you wish to stay, then Narmada Resort is a good option. The restaurant offers good quality food too.

Prominent Places

Standing on the bridge, you can experience a blissful sunrise over the dam. There are two main temples of Lord Shiva.

Narmade Har, Omkareshwar. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

The island is said to be in the shape of Om () symbol. Narmade Har, Omkareshwar. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Sangam, Omkareshwar. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Sangam is wonderful place to sit and meditate. You can take a boat ride from the main temple to Sangam at a very cheap cost. Sangam, Omkareshwar. Photo by: vkpriyesh


55.4 km north of Indore exists another place with full of divine power, Ujjain. A city that hosts Simhastha, one of the biggest Hindu pilgrimages along the Kshipra River. You can visit infamous Mahakaleshwar Temple, another jyotirlinga out of 12.

Best travel connectivity from Indore

There are frequent buses from Indore. Taxis are good. You can also opt for the train.

Food & Stay

If you are a religious person, and you are in India to see innumerable temples, then you got to spend some time in Ujjain, as it takes a while to get a grasp on each and every temple. You can find some good hotels, and food similar to Indore’s food around the railway station.

Prominent Places

Shri_Mahakaleshwar_Temple_Ujjain. Pic courtesy: Wikipedia

Mahakaleshwar: As described, it is a must visit temple. Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple Ujjain. Photo by: Wikipedia

Ram Ghat and Kshipra river, Ujjain. Pic courtesy: Wikipedia

Ram ghat in the evening gives you a sense of complete serenity.Ram Ghat and Kshipra river, Ujjain. Photo source: Wikipedia

Kal Bhairav Temple, Ujjain. Pic courtesy: Wikipedia

Kal Bhairav: A very interesting temple where it is believed that the idol of Kal Bhairav drinks alcohol, as that is his favourite beverage. Kal Bhairav Temple, Ujjain. Photo source: Wikipedia

Iskcon, Ujjain. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

ISKCON Ujjain: Ujjain’s Iskcon is one joyous place to be during the evening. Iskcon, Ujjain. Photo by: vkpriyesh


Nearly 100 km south of Indore, exists a wonderful place with beautiful places, and Mughal architecture. It’s an ancient town with humongous heritage.

Best travel connectivity from Indore

Book a private taxi, as the places are located pretty far.

Food & Stay

Malwa Retreat, the hotel by MP tourism is finest.

Prominent Places

Rani Roopmati Mahal, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Rani Roopmati Mahal (Palace) – Along the Narmada river, this palace was home to Rani Roopmati. Surrounded by thick stone walls, view from the top makes it a must to visit place in Mandu. Rani Roopmati Mahal, Mandu. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Rani Roopmati Palace Garden, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Rani Roopmati Palace Garden, Mandu. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Baaz Bahadur Palace, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Baaz Bahadur Palace, Mandu. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Jami Masjid

Jami Masjid, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Jami Masjid, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Jahaz Mahal, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Jahaz Mahal, Mandu. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Sunset Point, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Sunset Point, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

How to Pack Light & Blend in in Pakistan. Photo by DVIDSHUB (https://flic.kr/p/9vXYVo)

How to Pack Light & Blend in in Pakistan

This is what I travel with! A 25L backpack.

This is what I travel with! A 25L backpack.

I always travel light. I love travelling minimally with as little to carry, and therefore worry about, as possible. There’s nothing worse than lugging a heavy suitcase around a country like Pakistan or India where there aren’t footpaths to pull your case along. It’s far more convenient to take a backpack.

The last thing I also wanted was to be lugging a big suitcase around Pakistan bringing attention to myself too.

Here’s what I packed in a small 25-litre backpack for a 2 week trip to Pakistan from India at the end of winter:

How to Blend in

Traditional Indian and Pakistani clothing, kurta pajama. Photo by Donal Mountain.

Kurta Pyjama. Photo by Donal Mountain.

One interesting item on my clothing list is the kurta pyjama. I wear a fancier version of this for formal events in India, but I decided to get a cheaper, plain and basic black kurta and pyjama pant for my trip through the more conservative parts of Pakistan. It’s what locals and villagers wear (except they prefer white).

I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and stand out in Pakistan especially as I was sometimes travelling alone and would be in the high-risk area of Peshawar near the Afghan border. A kurta pyjama allowed me to blend in and draw attention to myself.

You have to be mindful of colour and design of the Kurta too though. Red, maroon, or bright colours as worn in Indian cities will make you stand out. Plain white, blue, black, brown, and green colours are favoured in Pakistan.

The other thing to remember when packing for Pakistan is that they’re even more particular than India about revealing clothing. While certain areas of major cities in Pakistan are more progressive, many are not. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and keep your body covered.


  1. 1 Plain black kurta-pyjama
  2. 1 x Jeans
  3. 1 x Warm jacket (if winter)
  4. 2 x Socks
  5. 1 x T-shirt
  6. 3 x Underwear
  7. 1 x Polarised sunglasses (if summer)
  8. 1 x Microfibre travel towel
  9. 1 x Walking shoes
  10. 1 x Pair of sandals (for bathrooms)

All up that’s two sets of clothing. I wear one while the other is drying after hand washing.


  1. Bar of soap in a plastic case
  2. Toothbrush & toothpaste in plastic case
  3. Wet wipes (more portable and efficient than toilet paper)
  4. Hand sanitizer
  5. Floss

Electronics & miscellaneous

  1. Mobile phone with offline Google Maps saved
  2. GoPro & various mounts
  3. USB wall charger and cable
  4. Passport and 3 x copies of passport, Pakistan VISA, and passport photos
  5. USD cash to convert
  6. 2 x Pens

Medical supplies

You only need to carry these if you’re going to remote parts where there are no medical stores.

  1. Paracetamol (500 mg).
  2. Antibiotics for food poisoning (Novidat 500 mg, Flagyl 400 mg).
  3. Diarrhoea stopper medication (Lomotil).
  4. Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) sachets – helps you stay hydrated in summer or if you get food poisoning.
  5. SPF 30 Sunblock

Read the medical disclaimer.

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