The Making of the Traveler

In May, as we began creating samples for the Mod and designing the first inserts, we hopped on Skype with one of our Adventure Project collaborators, Hanni (aka @justhanni). He had an upcoming trip to Iceland in the works and had been training his keen eye on our first, vague previews of the Mod on Instagram.

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Mike and our head designer Nisha spoke with Hanni, showing him the first working prototypes of the Mod and inserts that Nisha had made in our studio just a few days prior.

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In turn, Hanni walked us through the gear he was planning on taking on his upcoming trip. The roster included all his mobile shooting gear: OLO clip, Griptight Micro Stand, reserve Power Bank batteries and chargers galore.

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All of this was handy feedback for our Shooter insert, but what we ended up discovering was that most of all Hanni needed a solution to help him easily transport all his travel credentials from point A to point B. He showed us a nylon zip case he used that was designed with a single outer pocket long enough to place his boarding passes in for easy accessibility at the airport.

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With that in mind, Nisha got to work prototyping a Mod with an exterior pocket. She sewed this one up with a pocket large enough to fit a passport and boarding pass as well as accommodate pens or pencils on the sides.

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We shot the photo over to Hanni and while he liked that we had mimicked the exterior pocket of his other case, he told us he preferred the clean look of the exterior of our original Mod.  He sent over a sketch us an insert idea for the “world traveler” that he cooked up himself.

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Hanni’s design included a front-facing pocket able to hold up to 3 boarding passes with the idea that they would still be readily accessible by unzipping the top portion of the case. The front would also hold a pencil or pen to fill out the customs forms and small pockets to hold keys or foreign currency. The back included two pockets to hold passports and he suggested creating a large single pocket to hold a bunch of passports.

With Hanni’s sketch in hand and the exact dimensions for the insert in mind, Nisha whipped up our final Traveler insert, which holds multiple boarding passes, pen or pencils, and 3+ passports, notebooks or other misc. items on a tiered pocket system on the back. The ability to hold multiple passports makes it ideal for traveling in a group or with family.

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The Traveler Mod is the perfect carry-all for stress-free international travel– no rifling around in your bag for your boarding passes or passport.

Look forward to the Mod’s adventures in Iceland with Hanni next.

Through the Lens of Pei Ketron

As part of our upcoming Adventure Project series this summer, we will be working with several select collaborators to take This is Ground on the road with them as they travel the world.

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There’s a wonderful personal quality to the work of Pei Ketron. Viewing her photographs, you feel as though you’re traveling the globe along with her, riding around inside her iPhone, peering through the lens. On Instagram, her warm personality is apparent in her captions and use of perspective. Pei’s humanitarian influences are visible in her work as well and despite the fact that many of her photos are taken around the world, they serve as an inspiration for us to appreciate the everyday, routine aspects of our lives.

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Where are you and what can you hear out your window right this moment?
I’m currently in Taipei, Taiwan and can hear the sounds of the city outside my window: cars and motor scooters driving by, intermittent honking, and occasional chatter from passing pedestrians.

What drew you to photography?
I became drawn to photography because it changed the way I looked at the world around me. It made me slow down, notice, and appreciate moments in life that often get overlooked. To me, it’s a very introspective, personal process that suits my personality quite a bit.

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What was your first camera?
I didn’t get into photography until the end of college when I had a cheap point and shoot film camera, a Fujifilm Discovery 290s Zoom. I quickly upgraded to a 35mm film SLR, a Canon AL-1, that was loaned to me by some family friends. I made the jump to digital in 2003 with a Canon Powershot G3.

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Who are some of your favorite photographers?
I love the portraits of Steve McCurry, the travel and humanitarian work of Lisa Kristine, the minimalist work of Akos Major, and the street photography of Vivian Maier.

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ph: Vivian Maier

Can you tell me a little more about the humanitarian work you’ve done? What countries have you worked in and what was your experience like?
I haven’t done nearly as much humanitarian work as I’d like to do, but the humanitarian work I tend to gravitate towards is usually child-centric work in developing countries. I’ve spent time with preschoolers in Mozambique and with students with special needs in India. Both were eye-opening experiences that taught me to find joy in the life that I have and to think twice about what my priorities should be.

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What’s your next destination?
I have a short personal trip to Seoul, South Korea planned. It’s a country I’ve never spent any time in before and I’m excited to experience the culture and compare the city to other major cities I’ve been to.

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And your travel essentials?
Photography gear (film, digital, and mobile phone gear and accessories), ample back-up batteries, a good camera bag, an inflatable travel pillow (I can’t stay awake on an airplane for the life of me), snacks, Chapstick, and hand lotion.

Lastly, what’s your favorite book?
Does a play count? Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of my favorite stories and I read it long before I ever saw it on stage. I love the lighthearted, playful spirit of the story and how the multi-layered story mixes a little bit of fantasy with real life.

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Follow Pei on Instagram this summer at @pketron.

7 Questions with Justhanni

We first stumbled across the photography of Hanni (aka justhanni) on Instagram where he’s gained a large following for his charismatic VSCO Cam iPhone photography. He tagged our Cord Taco in a photo of his everyday bag and when we checked out his photos, we were immediately charmed by the quote on his profile, “Life is too short to remove USB safely”. Since then, we’ve been following along with his quiet, thoughtful photography from Denmark (and beyond) which has captivated us with its inventive use of symmetry and light.

How do you start your day?
With coffee! On the way to work (I vary between car, metro and bike) I listen to some nice tunes to get me started and catch up with my Instagram feed/comments.

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What do you carry in your everyday bag?
Always my Fujifilm X20, extra iPhone charger and two different sets of earphones (neatly wrapped in my TIG products :), sunglasses and a shemagh.

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How does Copenhagen inspire your photography?
Copenhagen keeps surprising me and showing me new sides of itself. It’s a city that’s going through a lot of change and it allows for constant inspiration that way. I also love following my fellow Copenhagen Instagramers’ takes on our city – it seems like there’s always new angles and spots to discover.

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What do you shoot with when you’re not on your iPhone?
Currently I’m in between DSLR’s, but I’m planning on getting a Canon 6D soon. So at the moment I’m having great fun shooting with my Fujifilm X20.

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Your favorite travel destination?
Just one favourite destination? That’s a tough one… I’ve been fortunate enough to visit so many great places. But China really stood out. Being an immensely large country, I was amazed at its diverse milieus and cultures. In just 15 days I experienced hi-tech metropolises, an historic wall, quaint river villages, mystical mountain ranges and tropical environments.

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What can’t you live without?
Traveling.

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What are you listening to/reading/watching at the moment?
Like the rest of the world, I’m following Game of Thrones right now, but honestly I don’t have much time for TV or reading. Perhaps just for reading Instagram comments, ha! ;)

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Follow @justhanni on Instagram.