BEING CONNECTED: Administrative
The internet is really a boon to travelers, as you all well know. When was the last time you planned a trip without researching your destination and booking it online in full or part? Right? Imagine doing it over and over and over again. So yes. It is so helpful that regard. We found out about or researched so many things to do and experience through online permutations. Continuously planning out our next steps was sometimes exciting but sometimes not that fun; it is part of the less glamorous aspect of post-launch, on-the-road life. But look, here is a tiny, minuscule sampling of how the internet helped us find things:
|Thanks to my sister-in-law, we booked in at a Sheraton in Sandakan, Sabah, Borneo...|
|...and enjoyed the sunsets from the infinity pool|
|A river cruise on the Kinabatangan River in Borneo|
|A cooking class outside of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia|
|Touring Angkor Wat -- having waded through all the tour and ticket options|
|We learned about an underground cave lake in Hungary|
|Unexpectedly fun trip to Kuala Lumpur....|
|...where online prices for rooms a cut above our usual standard are affordable and widely available|
|We learned about and went to a green tea plantation/factory/tasting in Sri Lanka|
|Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai, that was booked early!|
|Went on safari in Sri Lanka x 2|
|This is one of the hospitals we visited (this one after Chris bitten by a homeless cat in remote Borneo) thanks to the internet.|
|Researched what dental clinic I wanted to go to for tooth extraction|
|Snorkeling in Great Barrier Reef|
|Knew to leave a beach town early when it really wasn't working out for us|
|Got intel on getting travel shots in Croatia|
|Found a great hostel in Vienna|
|Booked our fun classes in Siem Reap|
Our trip would have looked a lot different if I hadn't ported my position. As most of you loyal readers know, I work at home even when at home most of the time -- so the biggest issue is that I haven't been able to attend some work events over the course of the last 8 months (and as a part-timer, that isn't a huge concern). I have found travel has been really productive for my worklife and also helped keep me grounded. I tend to work more rather than less. Multiple times I have forgotten that it is a U.S. holiday and busted on some grant writing. My colleagues (our Operations Director in particular) have been flexible about setting meeting times that work with the time differences and using different platforms -- I've had work meetings via FaceTime, What'sApp and Facebook video.
In addition to working, I have also been able to write a law (policy) review article, peer review a journal article and do some pro bono work.
Otis has used the online version of our district's social studies textbook, as well as online science and math texts.
|Working in Sri Lanka Part 1|
|Working in Tuscany|
|Working in our apartment in Dubrovnik|
|Working in a chilly tipi in Turist Grabovac, Plitvice Lakes, Croatia|
|Working in a mall, eating vegan food, enjoying the air con....Bangkok|
|One of my favorites: Alchemy in Ubud (it is beloved by the internet, more on that concept below)|
|Like Shonda Rhimes, I said YES!...to bringing my work to a hotel pool in Ubud and sat in this cabana thing in my bathing suit happily typing away; I wish I had done this more on the trip.|
|Cafe in Athens|
|My favorite place to work in Siem Reap -- Peace Cafe|
|An oasis in the midst of Ao Nang: friendly Govindas where I posted up to work numerous times|
|Working in Sri Lanka Part 2|
|Working in Sri Lanka Part 3|
|Working in Sri Lanka Part 4|
|Working and home schooling in cafe in Chiang Mai|
|The face of someone working on a grant proposal who has just watched a snake slither on by in her yard in Ubud.|
|School work in Ao Nang|
|Social studies in Sri Lanka|
We have been reading a lot on this trip. Until our last country, we all had our own Kindle* which of course requires internet. I generally keep an eye on our account (we share Chris's) and balance how many books are out, when they are due etc. Our library makes it easy and as previously mentioned, once my friend Busy Mom Kimya gave me a little tutorial on using our electronic system, we were off to the races. I like paper books too but Kindles have been a godsend on this trip. We have had many hours to while away as we traveled and I can't think of a better way to have done so.
*Sheraton 4 Points Brisbane. Call us if you find it.
|Waiting for flight in Krabi|
Chris and I were not on the same page regarding this issue. In the parlance of a tween, Chris won. As a thrifty person as well as the person tracking our spending as well as the person bringing home the veggie bacon, I wanted us to get SIM cards for each country as we traveled -- much much more cost effective. Chris came down stridently on the side of sticking with my T-Mobile plan, to which he added himself just prior to leaving. It cost us hundreds of extra dollars on the trip. I am not convinced that the ease was worth it. Either way, I personally do use a lot of data because I text a lot, What's App my family a lot, sometimes use my phone as a mobile hotspot and run all my programs through Safari instead of their native apps.
That was not the only issue of contention around phones. Remember what was released way back last summer? Yeah, Pokemon Go. Chris and Otis have been pretty into it for big chunks of the trip. They share Chris's phone and switch accounts. As an observer, I'd estimate that about 80% of the time it causes some kind of ruckus in our dynamics. I don't necessarily feel it was a positive addition to our travels overall because it caused whiney and annoyed/ing behavior in people.
|Walking around in....Budapest|
|Using phone when a safari became less interesting|
BEING CONNECTED: Friends and Family
No doubt about it, the internet has made it super easy to stay in touch. The interesting thing as travelers is to see what the preferred method of communication is with your communication partners. We have found that while some people prefer FaceTime, others prefer texting. We have used Google Hangouts, Google Duo, Facebook video and What's App as well. As wonderful as it all is, we still felt a little sad to not being seeing our families on holidays and missed our everyday connections with our friends at home.
|When you get this you might feel a little out of the loop|
|Happy Christmas....feels so far away|
|Chris FaceTimes with his sister|
BEING CONNECTED: Food
Vegetarians use online sourcing for meals all the time, so the concept isn't unfamiliar to us! But it becomes a little less fun every once in a while when everyone LOVES a place or HATES a place or MEHs a place. Sometimes -- often, in fact -- one's need to eat is outweighed by the need to have your own original experience. But sometimes you would like to have an original experience. Make sense?
BEING CONNECTED: Uber, yoga, football and more
|We sometimes used Duo Lingo|
|We used Uber more than we do at home. On the day pictured here in Sri Lanka, it was a real life saver.|
|I did yoga fairly regularly with online videos, here in Sri Lanka....|
|I less regularly did yoga on the beach with a podcast|
|Everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE, your service provider would like you to tell Trip Advisor what a good experience you had...|
|...even though not everyone's tastes are the same|
|Watching the unfolding of our nation's political events was definitely a way we spent time online...|
|Directions? Yes. Lots of times we relied on our phones to get us where we wanted to go|
|Watching football was extremely important to Chris and Otis...|
|Watching the Super Bowl in Bangkok|
|On our way out to the Great Barrier Reef, I react to news about Balboa|
|In the end, we all play the hand we are dealt. Travel in these times is made easier but also more complicated by many devices and options.|