Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reflection on Past Trips

As I think about the first time I did an around the world trip in 1990/91 and when Lauri and I spent 9 months in Central and South America in 1997/98 the changes in technology are truly amazing.  On those first two trips, the only thing I/we had that turned on was a 35mm camera (had a little camera battery in it).  On my first trip, communications with my family included postcards, plus those super-thin, tissue-paper like international letters, and a once-a-month an expensive 3-minute phone call.  And if they wanted to send anything to me, they would send things to American Express offices or would use “Poste Restante” at pre-arranged post offices I had given them.  Poste Restante basically means that the post office holds the mail for you until you come and pick it up.

I had to wait for months to see if my pictures turned out.   For the year I think I took something like 60 rolls of film, which seemed like a tremendous amount.  But think about it – that was about 1500 pictures, or about 4 per day.  We recently spent time with friends at their parents’ lake cabin, and I was experimenting with the continuous photo setting, and I took over 500 photos in 1½ days!  On that first trip, getting money had to be carefully considered.  I started with travelers checks and a personal check book.  American Express had a rule that you could go into any Amex office in the world, and write a personal check for up to something like $2000 of travelers checks every 21 days.  Does anyone carry travelers checks any more?

The level of connectedness now is truly amazing.  Wi-Fi internet access is everywhere.  We’ll be able to do video calls with friends, family, and the classrooms that are following us from most anywhere.  We can post photos and blog posts and everyone can see them immediately.  But yet, we have made a conscious (and budgetary) decision to not be connected every minute.  I left my iphone at home, in favor of a very light, cheap, phone that supports 2 SIMs, one of which is a prepaid global SIM.  Lauri has her iphone, but we are putting another prepaid global SIM in it.  Basically, they will be for us to communicate with each other if we’re doing different things, or for emergencies.  Strangely enough, they have Estonian phone numbers.  Go figure…

What we won’t be able to do, is every minute of the day be able to check our email, or receive phone calls, or send texts, or check sport scores, or check stock prices, or look up some fact on google.  We’ll be able to do all these things, but only at the end of the day, or when we stop somewhere with WiFi.  This level of connectedness would have been absolutely mind-boggling to me on my first trip.  And, in some ways, it is almost mind-boggling now, but in the opposite direction.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Larry and Lauri, what a fantastic plan you're doing! You remind me of a friend named Behan Gifford (also in marketing) who has been sailing around the world with her whole family since 2008. When you pass through Indonesia, you should connect with them - I think they'd love it. Not sure if they'll still be there, but they have been on that side of the world for quite a awhile now. is their blog.


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