Lonely Planet Blogsherpa Carnival #7: Internet Connections

Back when my wife and I were in our late twenties we each spent a couple years backpacking through Asia, Africa and South America. One of our fondest memories was of arriving at various poste restante (held mail) locations after months of overland travel and eagerly opening our mail from home. Family and friends who knew our itinerary would time their letters to arrive just before we did. Letters from home were read and re-read several times to savor news of the familiar, a commodity that was in short supply in exotic third-world locales. These days, that connection to home is more immediate. Instant, 24/7 communication is the norm and the places that you can go to escape the web are getting fewer and fewer.

People stay connected these days by email, instant messaging, skype, chat and many travelers and expats have travel blogs. One of the benefits of my association with Lonely Planet is that I regularly get to read great travel blogs written by bloggers from all over the world. To find them, I didn’t have to slog through thousands of travel blogs on the web…Lonely Planet had already done it for me (list here). These blogs are all connected by quality travel writing and by the Internet. As such, the 7th Lonely Planet Blogsherpa Carnival is fittingly called “Internet Connections.” As your carnival leader this time around, I doff my top hat and say, “Let the carnival begin!”

First up is Liz at “Travelogged,” who is based in New York City and has been writing about her travels and those of others since January of 2009. Drawing on her experiences as a senior editor at as well as other publishers, she incorporates the perspectives of other travel “insiders” to give a fresh and varied perspective on the world. Much of her writing is done on the road but that leads to occasional challenges. When Liz was in Rome she found that her fancy hotel charged an outrageous €25 per day for use of their wireless connection. Read “Finding Wifi in Rome” to find out where she went to get connected. I’ll give you a hint: along with free wifi, they also have great Guiness.

Claire at “First Time Travels” writes from the Philippines and her blog was “created to help first-time travelers as they embark on something different. It is an assurance for every tourist and traveler that even the most seasoned one has started out as a neophyte.” Read her post "Internet Connections" to learn her convoluted yet effective technique of penetrating “The Great Firewall of China” while accessing Facebook and Twitter on her last visit to Shanghai. I’ve read it and I’m still not sure how it works.

Sash at “Barefoot Inked” is an Australian woman living in a tiny muslim fishing village in Indonesia. Sash is adventurous and feels that in order to experience the sand between your toes, you need to take your shoes off. According to Sash,”My office smells like the ocean, tastes like chillied fish and wraps me in the sweet air of the salted sea brushed with coconut leaves. Read her post “A Tough Day at the Office” and you’ll understand why her multiple re-writes are not a perfectionist habit but a technological reality imposed by the constraints of an internet connection “so unreliable that you often can’t upload a simple photo.”

Jen at “The Turkish Life” is a California girl from San Francisco who lives in Istanbul, Turkey and works as an editor for a Turkish publication. Her blog is a rich tapestry of expat life in Turkey seasoned with vignettes of her ongoing battle to learn the Turkish language. Read her post “The Tie that Bonds and Binds” to understand how the internet can be a double-edged sword to the traveler or the expat. Jen muses, “I do wonder how much my experience here has been shaped, and limited, by the ready ability to keep close connections to home. Without them, would I have immersed myself more fully in all things Turkey, improved my Turkish, made closer local friends, spent less time inside?” Jen writes from Turkey, but this idea is universal.

Bret at “I Moved To Africa” is an American marketing and advertising executive from New York City who spends a year in Africa. Bret states, “This blog is about my travel adventures in a country I never heard of before, my experiences within the U.S. Embassy community, the NGO community and befriending expatriates abroad.” Read his post “Internet Connections” to find out why he says “Everyone talks about how wonderful skype is, especially when traveling. Those people have never been to Gabon.” I smile every time I read that line.

Jennifer at “Orange Polka Dot” is a Californian living in Barcelona with her husband and kids. She is the English-language resource for what’s happening in that vibrant Catalan city, especially when it comes to doing things with children. Read her post “Internet Connections” to learn more about staying connected in Spain when the wait for a phone line is measured in months. Jennifer writes, “In the meantime, I sat in the parking lot of my nearest university to bum the free wifi, which by the way, in Spain is pronounced "wee fee." On the weekends, I would bring the kids so they could skype with my parents back in California.”

David and Tamara at “Quillcards” run a combination blog and e-greeting card business. David is English and Tamara is American and they’ve lived in England, the USA, South Korea, Finland, and Israel and have traveled in Europe, Central and South America, India, Japan, Australia, and Morocco. David gives a concise and thorough review of which accessories you should take to the subcontinent to stay connected with your MacBook Air in “Travels With a Macbook Air in India.”

As we close this carnival, it is interesting to note that over the years technology has changed considerably but the human need to feel connected has not. You can still enjoy the previous carnival (#6), titled "Encounters" at “The Brink of Something Else” and the next one (#8) will be hosted by Sash on September 1st 2010 at “Barefoot Inked” and it's called "Love on the Road."

No comments:

Post a Comment