Travel and Technology

I’m a self-confessed technophobe. I try, but I don’t really understand technology and am impatient if it doesn’t work. I never have the most up to date kit…in fact, I probably don’t even have the kit in the first place!

The old days!

When I first went travelling, digital cameras were in their infancy, the internet was still a fairly new phenomenon, and there certainly were no smart phones. My friend and I set off to travel the world in 2003, armed with a normal film camera each (remember them??), one bulky digital camera (which was pretty state of art at the time!)… and a phone card, so we could phone home when we could either find a phone box, or stayed somewhere with a phone in the room (if we were treating ourselves!).

South Africa – Cape Town!  Not bad for the digital camera of the time – complete with date stamp!!

We had to search out internet cafes where we could download our photos and get them burnt onto disks. We would not be in contact with friends and family unless we called them, or emailed them from a cafe. It could be a while before either of those happened.

We would occasionally use the Poste Restante services to receive missives from home, particularly for special occasions such as birthdays or Christmas… whether the items ever actually arrived is another story. We did seem to spend a lot of time at post offices, either sending items home, or waiting to receive things!

We set up a blog on a site where we could record our travels and share photos. Our friends and families could log in and read about our tales, but it wasn’t public and it was very rudimentary compared to the blogs of today.

Somewhere in New Zealand!

I know those of you who travelled before I did would have been even more restricted in terms of contact and sharing your travels. But compared to the world today, our travels then seem quite rustic!

The world is so connected now and is a much smaller place than it was even 15 years ago. There is a lot to be said for being contactable – it’s probably easier on the parents now, as they will hopefully know where their children are! I know my mum was very worried when she hadn’t heard from me for a few weeks – I had been struck down by gastroenteritis in the highlands in Malaysia and had no way of contacting anyone. I just had to ride it out (as did my travel companion – not a pleasant time for either of us!!) until I could make it back into town to phone home.

But has a certain amount of the adventure of travel been lost, because of the fact that we can be constantly in contact with the rest of the world?  Maybe, but times change and it is what it is.

There are definite advantages though, I mean, digital photos??!!  Amazing! No more carrying around mountains of film cartridges!

But there are also a few disadvantages. When you walk into a hotel asking if they have a room and how much is it, and they tell you to go away and book it on the internet because it’s cheaper…what’s all that about?!!

Aah, there you are 21st century!

Anyway, before our last trip I decided it was high time that I updated my tech a bit and I finally took the plunge and bought a little Google Chromebook (I know, talk about dragging myself into the 21st century!).  It took a lot of deliberation but I did it! I wasn’t sure about it at all, or if I would use it whilst I was away…but I did start writing this sat on a flight to Luang Prabang… and I love it!! 

I have to admit that I did need a tutorial in how to use the thing, it took me a good few days to figure out how to download apps and I had to enlist the help of my tech savvy friend to get to grips with doing things offline (thank you!!).

Empire State Building – NYC!

BUT it was all a total eye opener!! I even watched my first download from Netflix offline on a plane…oh my god, it’s revolutionary, haha!! I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to embrace the technology, what have I been missing out on??!!

Chargers, chargers, everywhere!

I also hate having to take so many blooming chargers with me when I go away. Again, I have been lugging around chargers and plugs and adapters.  After realising that you can actually get USB chargers which would cut down the amount of plugs that you need, I ordered myself one. I’m sure that there are more corners that can be cut to streamline how I use my tech…I’m just yet to discover them!!

Having said all of this I don’t like to be connected all of the time, earlier this year we had 10 days staying in a place which had no internet, shock horror (in Australia too!).  It was lovely though to just disconnect for a while and go on a digital detox. I need time out every now and again.

There is without a doubt still a lot I have to learn and I’m certain that I will always be a step behind but hey, what the hell, I’ll get there in the end and will hopefully pick up a few skills along the way!

Note: The photos in this post were taken whilst I was travelling with my friend way back when. I don’t know which of us took the photos! So acknowledgement must be made to her (you know who you are)!


44 thoughts on “Travel and Technology

  1. There’s something about the romance of the days when we relied on postcards. It was how we found out that my Dad ended up in Singapore rather than his planned destination of Bombay (as it was at the time). Something else that is less likely to happen now! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So recognisable! Though I’m more of a nerd and nowhere near being technophobe 😛
    My first big travel to Australia in 2002 was so different from what it is now. I didn’t even have a digital camera! Some film rolls had been damaged because they’d gotten too hot. I’d spend time in internet cafes, call phone with a card…oh the memories!
    Nowadays, it’s far easier to stay connected for sure, especially in Europe. It’s easy to Skype or Facetime. But I agree with you that disconnecting can be wonderful and I enjoy not being all wired in!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aah I’m jealous! I wish I was a bit more tech savvy but I find it really difficult…and frustrating when I don’t understand things, or they don’t work!
      Oh no, what a shame about your films!! There was that risk wasn’t there, always gutting when anything happened to films. We only had a digital camera because my bro knows his tech and persuaded us it would be a good idea! Haha, things have changed so much though, those days seem so long ago now! But it’s important to get the balance right regarding connectivity now. It’s important to take time out and just enjoy where you are! Thanks so much for your thoughts as always 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I remember the scene, because I remember thinking how amazing it was, but I really have no idea where it was! We covered a lot of ground in NZ whilst we were there. I’ll have to ask my friend and see if she remembers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That is very true! Sometimes I feel like I know the place even before I’ve been there 🙂 I still like to have a print copy of a guidebook though, that will never change for me I don’t think.


  3. First of all, It’s very nice to meet you here. I was very busy during the holiday so couldn’t come to stop by. I love this post and yes I am exactly the same way. I don’t really understand technology although I am married to a computer engineer…lol Your pictures are so beautifully taken I like feature image on your site as well. Wow… you must have seen half the world by now as it’s been long times since you started traveling. What is your most favorite place by far on earth, I am just curious to know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I know what you mean, life can get very busy so it can be difficult to find the time for blogging as well. Haha, it’s lovely to know that I am not alone with technology! It sounds like you are lucky and have tech support on hand at home though, that’s very handy 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words about my photos, I do enjoy taking them. I have been very lucky to have traveled so much. My favourite place?? Oo now that’s really tough! Everywhere is so different, but I really do love visiting Australia. It’s a complete change of lifestyle from here in the UK. In Southeast Asia, I do love Cambodia. I’ve been lucky enough to travel there quite a few times and every time I’m blown away by the culture, history, people and of course the food!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds a lot like me! 🙂 🙂 I have a small laptop that I don’t fully understand and I stumble along in the dark, cursing quietly when it acts up. Internetless, I rejoice, because the darn thing tends to dominate my life, but then I sulk because I can’t write another post. 😦 I live in fear of it crashing and my whole world disappearing in smoke. I really need a new one. Maybe I’ll look at the Chromebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, I know exactly what you mean! Getting the balance right can be hard can’t it. I have to say I’ve been very happy with my little chromebook so far, it does everything I need it to and so far (touch wood), I’ve not had any problems with it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The progress is truly fascinating.

    Remember collecting film during the whole trip, making sure it’s not exposed to light, and X-rays at the airport, and then dropping it off at a drug store and waiting a few days while it develops, only to find what should have been 2 separate pictures on 1. Or someone’s head been cut off? Etc. But then, the feel and excitement were pretty real. Now, you snap a photo (or a few to later choose from), look at it, and you move on to another memory.

    Also, the being in contact is good, but it also pulls you out from being in the moment. Having to ring home(parents who somehow survived you not having a cell phone all these years ago!!!) takes you out of the moment you are enjoying. Your sightseeing is put on hold and it get destroy your enjoyment.

    But of course, there is so much good in all that, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha, oh yes, the mishaps with the printed photos! It was awful when that happened, or when the photos turned out to be quite disappointing! There was no going back and retaking them if that happened back then, not like you can in this digital age. But everything evolves I suppose and I guess there will always be pros and cons. I am just still quite amazed at just how much things have changed and how quickly, it’s quite phenomenal.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Really enjoyed this read!

    When I first started travelling whilst solo-backpacking back in 1985 (I’m a little older than you 😉 ), there was no internet, mobile phones, only snail mail (paper variety), and much more challenging than these days. You know that I think I preferred it back then – didn’t carry as much with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I know it felt like we were really going away when we went, even though there was limited access to things like the internet at that time, but we weren’t constantly connected. I can imagine it felt even more of an adventure back in the eighties! Haha, yes, no laptops…or those darn chargers to lug about with you back then!!

      Liked by 1 person

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