This week our thoughts have turned to technology. What will we need to take on the Trip to do the things we want to do? I have to admit that ours is a relatively technology-focused household as the Husband works in IT and of course I have a few blogs and such like, and my work involves developing eLearning. So this is a big question for us. What do we need to take that will do the job but minimises redundancy and duplication of functions?
There are two of us so the question is which items require personal ownership and what can we share? For instance one phone will be very limiting if we want to do anything separately and potentially phone each other to reconnect. The worst case scenario would be that we never find each other again – I’m sure this wasn’t a problem in the olden days, I don’t actually remember losing anyone through lack of a mobile phone, but for the life of me I can’t remember how we did it. Where as, I think it is safe to say that one laptop will perform all ‘laptoppy’ functions such as Skype calls to the Daughters, blogging and writing ‘the best selling Book’. This also brings up the potential minefield of ‘sharing’, and whether at our great age we can actually do this. We have spent years telling the kids to share nicely, so how embarrassing would it be if the Trip falls apart and divorce ensues due to an inability to share the camera or iPhone?
The second decision is around the make and model of the equipment. The laptop is easy as we have a tiny 11” Mac Air that will be perfect for the job. The other items are not so easy. The heated conversation we had around iPad versus Kindle would only be understood by a true ‘techy’. Incidentally, we had this
argument conversation twice as the original resolution had been conveniently forgotten by the Husband. The Husband is a belt and braces kind of guy when it comes to technology – heaven forbid that we should find ourselves without Internet access at any point, left with only 17th century architecture and lavender fields to keep us company! I have a suspicion (nay hope) that we will change our priorities during the Trip and reconnect with more elemental pastimes … oops, that brings us right back to the iPad/Kindle argument!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one minute suggesting that technology should be minimised because it is a fundamentally bad thing, and that I want to replace it with chanting or anything. For instance, an e-reader can hold many books while being lighter than a paperback and is therefore a very good thing, but I don’t want to be the kind of people who only see their holiday through the screen of their camcorder.
I am also not averse to being lost once in a while. I find that the best adventures can be had while you are ‘lost’ and the thought of following a small flashing iPhone dot around Europe absolutely does not appeal. The solution we have come to is that the Husband will have the smart phone and I will go old school and look at actual paper maps (I do love paper maps and there is nothing nicer than pouring over the little coloured lines and symbols in the evening planning the route for the following day). Part of the reason I prefer paper maps is, if you are navigationally challenged like me, the iPhone screen simply doesn’t provide enough context to see which way up you are.
There is, of course, also the lack of Internet connection and cell coverage that will likely occur in rural areas rendering all the whizzy bang toys into lumps of metal … technology rocks to carry up hills. Those paper maps may come in handy after all!
We have also given some thought to powering the devices and are trying to choose gadgets that charge via USB from the mains supply. We are also looking at potential backup alternatives such as solar and dynamo charging from the bike. The danger is that we will end up carrying more chargers and cables than actual devices.
Camera-wise, I actually have nothing suitable can you believe. My digital SLR is way too large and heavy, my camcorder is again large and heavy and primarily for moving pictures rather than stills, and my ‘happy snappy’ handbag camera takes pictures of insufficient quality for recording the big Trip (not to mention producing insufficient quality for the cover shot of a best selling book!). I would like a compact and light camera that takes excellent quality stills and descent quality video as well. So it looks like I might have to sell my SLR and/or camcorder and get something smaller that does both jobs.
I do love my iPad and I take it to the park, or a cafe if the weather is inclement, and use it to write these posts … but it needs to be charged quite regularly, is relatively large (compared to a Kindle) and its primary use is internet browsing. Therefore, we will not be taking one of these (N.B. I have written this here so that we do not have to have the iPad/Kindle argument for a third time).
Mental note: I must find out if you can write on a Kindle.
I have done a bit of an Excel spreadsheet to help make these decisions and would really appreciate any ideas or thoughts you may have so please leave a comment. Have we forgotten anything? Is there too much?
I will update on the models we are looking at as we go along but any suggestions would be welcome 🙂