Gear and Tech

Plugged Travel: My Digital Addiction

I booked the first part of my summer 2013 trip yesterday.  Without giving away too much, let’s just say that one of the locations is fairly remote (yet still within the United States) and does not offer any sort of wifi, paid or otherwise (nor is 3G available).  I immediately began whining about the fact that I’d have to go without internet for Four.  Whole.  Days.

And my husband was all like:

Can this trip please not be a live blogging event?  It’s going to be a live blogging event, isn’t it?  Oh god–am I going to have to sit there while you tweet what should Doug order for dinner #feeddoug #bacon?


But he said the word ‘hashtag’ in place of the actual hashtags.

And while no, I’m not going to make it a live blogging event–because the length and scope of the trip would render such and undertaking unsustainable–I am going to be constantly taking excessive amounts of notes and  photos, spending my late evenings writing posts rather than sleeping,  and generally being a travel blogger the entire time.  And my husband-slash-travel-partner is not pleased.

He has a valid point.  Most people travel–or, rather, vacation–to get away from the world.  To retreat.  To disconnect.  Personally, I can’t imagine a worse fate.  Two weeks ago, when Hurricane Sandy came to town, I dealt with it rather well.  I watched the siding blow off our house (act of nature, what can you do?)  I heated up hot water on the camp stove to take a bath (just like my hippie music festival days in college–pass the patchouli!) and wrapped myself in layers of flannel and fleece (not slimming, but who cares?  I have cheese in a can!)

It was a long, cold four days.  But all I cared about was finding a way to stay connected.  Clean and warm could wait.

In short, I have no desire to unplug.  None whatsoever.  I own a car adapter that allows me to charge my laptop and I know most McDonald’s restaurants have wifi that reaches the parking lot (and I’m not afraid to sit there and use it).  I’ve charged my iPhone in countless inappropriate places, from an outlet behind an outside produce stand at a grocery store in Northern California to a I-might-be-raped-in-here public restroom in New Orleans (seriously, it was frightening and complete with flickering florescent bulb).

In my real life, I’m a teacher.  Tonight at parent-teacher conferences, I met many parents who said something along the lines of ‘yeah–I just don’t ‘get’ computers’.  And after suppressing my urge to gag and cough due to pure shock and awe, I thought:  that must be so relaxing.  I literally can not even imagine what that would be like.  And I hope I never have to find out.

Do you unplug when you travel?  If so, please share tips below.  Because sometimes travel forces me to unplug, and I could sure use some coping methods. 

Photo Credit:  A mere fifteen hours or so after the conversation that spawned this post–the hashtag feed Doug conversation–I saw this New Yorker cartoon on Facebook.  So I made it the header photo because, well, it completely goes along with this whole post.  Thank you, New Yorker.  I love your cartoons.

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