How Technology and Travel Keeps Us Close

Technology keeps us closer than ever before. Also, let’s be candid. I doubt I would have considered this move (from the US to Mexico) if we didn’t have the technology we have available today. In the short time we’ve been here, I’ve missed my grandmother’s 100th birthday party, my Aunt and Uncle’s 50th Wedding Anniversary party, and several immediate family gatherings. You know, the usual when you choose to travel long-term or move far from family.

But technology helps!

For all the bad rap, technology is also so awesome

We are so fortunate that technology allows us to video chat on our phones. It seems almost unreal, having grown up in the 1980s and 1990s, that this is real life. Real life it is! I video chatted with my grandmother at her birthday party in July (if she is able to remember that is another thing entirely). I just got off the video chat with my Aunt, Uncle, cousins, sister, and parents. No, I wasn’t in attendance in person and I still got to share in real-time with my family.

I showed my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins a little bit of my house and street. I wished them a happy 50th (quite a feat, huh?) My cousin insisted that I send her a family selfie for the scrap book she’s making to commemorate the event.

The Me I Used to Be

Before I met my husband, I wouldn’t budge from Columbus, Ohio. I was comfortable and I had obligations, as well as a good job. I was too scared to give that up for the unknown. Also, I was much too scared to trade stability for instability, especially of the financial variety. Heck, I was barely traveling by the time I met him because I was so bogged down by my stressful life (and that aforementioned job).

But I met this fascinating man. I ate seared tuna and guacamole on our first date, as he told me about living in Russia and Japan. He liked dogs. He wanted kids. We got married a year later. We had kids. And my stuck-in-Ohio brain started to change. I wanted to have a mini-farm, with chickens, a wonderful garden, and can our own food. The first winter after my daughter was born was so flipping cold and I was getting so little sleep that I was thankful I hadn’t taken the plunge into setting up a coop. I also wondered who in the world would chicken-sit when we wanted to travel, especially since I dreamed of warm places in the cruel winter months.

It took me a long time to realize

That was the hook. I wanted to travel. I didn’t even realize just how much I wanted to travel until I had children. By the way, I want to travel a lot. Mucho.

Fast forward a few years and here we are, living in Mexico. Considering my husband has been asking me if I’d consider going on an international assignment since he met me, I’m surprised it didn’t happen a little sooner.

I also know I’d not have been so quick to agree (if three years is quick) without the major advancements in technology we have today. While phones have existed for a long time, it used to be extremely expensive to make international calls. Even when I visited Grand Cayman Island in the early 2000s, phoning family wasn’t an affordable option, but I did email regularly.

Not only is technology better for communicating with loved ones, blogging has risen and there are travel blog posts about almost every destination in the world and cheap(er) ways to get there. Suddenly, through the words of other travelers and expats, the world didn’t seem so scary.

Using a snapchat filter, a woman (me) looks like she's part dog, including a large pink tongue that is sticking out of her mouth. Technology!.

While technology sometimes seems ridiculous or downright frivolous, it is also an incredible tool to use while traveling or living abroad. It works for using apps for maps, video chats, phone calls, and more. Even the dreaded facebook allows people to check in during natural and man-made disasters, relieving their friends and family’s worries.

Thanks, Tech

I’m so thankful for technology. It allows to me to be a little closer to my family, even though we are far away. Though I feel like I haven’t seen them in person in forever, my sad feelings aren’t really so sad when I can talk to them regularly and even see them on camera every now and then. It works with friends, too. Even though I don’t visit them in person, I can’t still text, call, email, follow on social media, and video chat. It’s a mix of surreal and totally normal if I actually stop and think about it. Though I feel the physical distance, texting, phone calls, and videos really keep me close to my friends and family.

Your future it whatever you make it, so make it a good one. – Doc Brown, Back to the Future III

Do you feel more in touch with friends and family when you travel? Or do you travel and “unplug” from connecting with the world on a minute-by-minute basis?

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