When is the Sharper Image going to come out with the right adapters?

Out of all the things that did not make it into the trucks or our bags in the chaos before we left, a power adapter is probably one of the more important ones.  As we did the push to get sponsors on board before we left, we even produced a video travel guide with a full section on the importance of understanding voltage differences and power outlets in foreign lands.  This was not a big deal though, since most airports have a plethora of different models of power adapters to choose.  The power conversion situation was easily averted.

As we go around the globe we are still very connected to home in many ways.  One of the less fun ways we are connected is to our bank.  Of course our bank is essential to our success, but it does not play well with others.  Upon leaving we notified all of our credit card companies and banks of our situation.  They all supposedly updated their computer systems with word of our impending nomadic lifestyle.  In the end however, no adapters exist to help the hundreds of banks and systems of payment around the world work together.

On Tuesday morning last week, Steve Bouey and I left the team behind at the hostel in Sydney, jumped on the subway system and made our way across town to the Britz campervan headquarters.  The team’s instructions were to find something to occupy themselves for the next couple of hours until we arrived with the vans.  The wait time was inevitably doubled due to the adapter problem, along with a few extra curve balls thrown into the mix.

We arrived at the Britz location in wide eyed excitement to finally get the vans and get out of the expensive city of Sydney.  After listening to the usual rental shpeal about getting additional insurance for the bargain price of $18 per day per van that only effectively lowered our liability to $2500 per van, we declined to find out that we need to put down a $5000 deposit to rent the vans.  This is $5000 each in cash for the rentals.  Since we do not have a bank here, they will not accept checks.  Since we are out of the country our limit for daily charges is $3000 per card…let the games begin.

First we tried to charge the full $10000 for both vehicles directly from our bank account.  The charge was declined.  Then we tried to charge $5000 for one, the charge was declined.  Next we called the bank internationally and were disconnected 2 times before we found out that the only way to have this daily limit raised is to sign paperwork at our bank in the USA.  So now the only solution is to charge $3000 on 3 different cards, sounds easy enough.  First we try to debit directly from our bank account $3000.  It was declined, this time because we have now been flagged for fraud from Mastercard.  After pulling out a total of five different cards to pay for everything from 3 different banks, signing about 6 different waivers and documents, and having a quick little 30 minute hiatus to watch a serious car accident that happened at the intersection just outside of the rental shop, we were on our way four hours after the whole saga began.

So the question is, when will we have the right adapters that can allow all of our different systems to work together.  Whether it is the banks, the rental companies, the credit card companies, the airlines, or the government, we have only found that everyone has a completely different way of setting things up.  With the help of a kind manager at Britz or wherever you might be, an answer is only a matter of a positive attitude, and so far these little debackles have only proven to small annoyances.  Dwelling on these moments is a waste of time when you only have to go through a few hours of trouble in the morning to enjoy beachfront property while eating dinner.  At the end of the day we had kangaroos for company and one of the most beautiful beaches to call home for the bargain price of about $16…Australia is not a disappointing place in the least bit.