In my past few trips abroad, I’ve discovered my favorite way to travel. I love it & India is a country that supports it fully. See the world, experience it as fully and immersively as you can (or as much as any tourist can) but share it with your friends as you do it & without compromising the experience itself. (I need a good name for it – electronic umbilical? e-travel?) Well one good way to think of it is travel with my Lil’ Electronic Friends. (DeepLEF?)
Those of you who don’t like their cell-phones or don’t check email when they can help it, you and I don’t see eye to eye anyway, so the joys of this will be lost on you, and shouldn’t you be putting more coal in your calculating-engine to keep it running while you read this anyway? And check the inter-tubes for blockages while you’re at it 🙂
This is the deal: Place meets ‘Deep with his lil’ electronic friends: Mr. Cellphone, Mr. Computer, Mr. Thumb drive, Mama Net & of course a digital camera (neuter).
My first few days in New Delhi, I got a cell phone
that worked all over India – prepaid & talk-time rechargeable. So far it has been worth its weight (& wait*) in gold. Standing at a Chennai bus station with a dawning sense that this isn’t the bus stand I need? Grab the number for the State Tourist Info Center from my Lonely Planet & call- aha! suspicions confirmed! My family here wants to know how I’m doing? a periodic stream of TXT messages keeps them up to date & keeps the flow of GREAT advice coming (thanks Sumeet & Sunoo)…….. What hotel should I stay at tonight – 50km and many hours down the road? Call from the bus….
My computer was originally brought as a place to dump digital camera shots, and play movies on the plane, but now I use it late at night in my hotel room (like now) to write blog posts – a way to reflect on the day. That is what the thumb drive is for. I save the post to the drive so that sometime in the next day or so, when I sit down for a rest in a internet cafe, I’ll pull out the drive & voila, a few minutes later, a blog post from the front for my public (hello? hellooooo – anyone? someone? … at least a spambot? siiiigh). Note that the blog posts aren’t large or comprehensive – that would take too much time (compiling pix etc) which would detract from the experience, that all waits for when I get home…
Even more than blogging and email (keeping track of ‘Deepistan), the occasional chat with friends back home makes me happy. Like today – advice from Apu, who has been where I’m headed, or yesterday, sympathy after a rough couple of days from Peaty-Peat….
I can see a few of you saying “but are you really experiencing the place you are in? are you really getting away from it all?” Those are good questions – but I think, if used properly, my lil electronic friends don’t mediate nor interrupt the experience: they enhance it by making it MUCH richer than it would be without them…. Besides of course I want to get away from some things, but who wants to get away from their people? Well not me anyway, did I mention I’m hyper-gregarious?
Obviously, I’m not going to sit-out my trip in an internet cafe, just as I’m not going to look at all the sights from behind my digital camera’s display, but there is plenty of time for it all and it makes for a happy ‘Deepy whilst I sojourn…
If ever there is a contest, the real experience wins easily.. And really, if you think about it, my lil electronic friends are really just points of contact with all of you, my warm happy carboniferous friends – I get to bring you along!
good night my awesome peoples….
.ps I’m @ 9312125996 & exactly 12 hours off SF time & as for chat: I’m amandeepjawa on AIM and amandeep_jawa on YIM – BTW: meebo.com rocks (all major chat services in one handy website, with a great interface!)
.pps Today, as I arrived here in Mammalapuram (beach/archeo-temple town south of Chennai) I noticed all these fishing boats drawn up on the beach alongside older tree-trunk boats. As I strolled the beach (Hello
Pacific Indian Ocean!) I noticed that the newer fishing boats all had C.R.S. or “Catholic Relief Services” painted prominently on their sides. Were these Tsunami relief? I’ll ask a local first, but probably check the Wikipedia to at some point for more info…. yay the interweb! Damn – forgot to check the interweb for what time the sun will RISE over the Pacific Indian Ocean tomorrow – will set cell phone alarm 🙂 for 5:30 just in case…
*It could/should have been simple to get but was actually a huge hassle. Big thanks to Rinky & Ravi Massi for helping me so patiently. Maybe if I got it in downtown Delhi it would have been simpler.
As your faithful reader, I resent being referred to as a spambot 🙂
Its interesting as I’ve not travelled extensively or at least internationally for quite some time. So its hard to say how I would do it… though I have now appreciated more than a few people’s blogging from afar.
And really, I wrote a ton of letters and kept an extensive journal, and still carried a camera, when I did travel. And I could easily spent my time just hanging out with other foreigners alone avoiding the world I was travelling in.
In other words, its not so much the tools as the person who comes between a person and their experience.
Although, that all being said, there’s still nothing quite like the satisfaction of receiving a long hand written letter from someone far away. (not that I’m asking one from you 🙂
Er, not being a pedantic bore, but the beach on Mamallapuram (or, even, the whole of Tamilnadu coast, except at Kanyakumari) is the Bay of Bengal, which blends into the Indian Ocean near Kanyakumari.
Spend a little while at Chennai – if you are like anything I think you are (based on this one small post) I get the feeling you’ll like my city.
Yipes – how embarassing! I skipped the Indian Ocean – thanks Ravages – you should be pedantic as often as you like 🙂
For you, I imagine that not having a cell phone would be like walking around without a lung! I actually like to be disconnected from my life back home except on longer trips when I’d go mad without occasional email contact. As long as you are living in the moment in your current locale, I don’t see how a global connection could dilute that experience. Oh, except that there is a certain romance to pen and paper and travel observations scrawled in that analog technology…. Happy trails!
Even though this is way more information than I’d usually get through conventional channels- I still want a postcard dammit :-).