It wasn’t all that long ago that John and I boarded that plane to Pakistan to spend a year cycling around the Indian subcontinent. 22 years, in fact. In technological terms, that’s an eternity.
It was June, 1990 when we checked our bikes and panniers in and climbed into a plane for the long journey to Asia. For the next year, we explored the back roads of Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh on our bikes. It was adventure at its finest.
Travel was different back then. Affordable international phone calls and VOIP calling were unheard of. In fact, during that year of travel, John and I made exactly one phone call to our parents – to tell them we had gotten engaged. Those two calls cost us a small fortune.
Twenty years ago, travel meant disappearing. We hopped aboard a plane and vanished, then reappeared at some later date with stories to tell.
Now, things are different. When we left Alaska in 2008 we carried laptops capable of connecting with the world from any of the many wifi spots around the world. And many travelers chose to carry iphones or other portable devices capable of connecting from virtually any place on earth. Communication is instant; stories are told immediately.
As much as I enjoyed blogging about our adventures and being connected with old and new friends alike, in some ways I think something is missing from travel these days. I’ve tried to put my finger on what it is that’s missing, but can’t quite capture it. Is it the feeling of being “out there”? Of being totally immersed in foreign cultures? Or is it that the world is smaller these days whereas it used to be bigger?
What do you think? In what ways has travel changed with the introduction of today’s technology?
*with cooperation from Rebtel