30 Days of Indie Travel- Day 23…TECHNOLOGY
BootsnAll says: Where would today’s travelers be without smartphones, GPS, iPods, iPads, or even the internet? Tell us how technology has changed the way you travel.
It was about 8pm in San Diego and we were sitting in the living room with some new friends, talking. My blackberry buzzed. I glanced absent-mindedly at it and read the message. It was my Mum. They’d found a kidney for her and she was going into surgery immediately.
My heart stopped. I was caught somewhere between a laugh and a panic attack. A laugh because of the ultra-casual way she had phrased the text (“By the way…they found a kidney. Thought you should know”) and a panic attack because I was almost 10,000km away from home.
I knew that even if I ran out the door then and there and somehow got an immediate flight, there would still be no way I would make it back before her surgery.
My hands shaking, I tried to call her. Her phone was off. I tried Dad next. He sounded implausibly calm, in fact I’d obviously woken him up. I felt irrationally angry that he could possibly be sleeping at a time like this. He explained the schedule to me, she was due in surgery at noon. He would call me right after with any news.
I re-entered the living room and abruptly burst into tears. Shock, I guess. Thoroughly alarming everyone there, they were all very positive and encouraging when they learned the news.
I spent the next few hours distracting myself and keeping busy until the alotted time came when Dad was supposed to call.
I waited a little longer, allowing for normal delays and red tape.
More hours passed and I started to lose the sense of Zen I had forced on myself. I looked up the number of the hospital on my netbook and called them myself. It seemed like the longest phone number in the world with all the area codes.
It took an age to get through to the right ward, after being bounced from department to department. I asked about my Mum. The nurse instantly sounded ill-at-ease.
“You mean…you haven’t spoken to your father…?”
Not the most encouraging of remarks. I tried not to panic.
“No. No, I haven’t. He’s not answering his phone”.
“Right…well, hold on a minute.”
I leaned against the nearest wall. Why wouldn’t she tell me what was happening? I started imagining the worst.
The nurse came back on the line.
“Sorry about that, I had to check what I could release to you over the phone. She’s fine.” She continued on with more detailed medical facts.
I thanked her and hung up, literally feeling a weight lift off my shoulders.
Without my little Blackberry, I might not have been able to get news for hours and hours and would definitely have driven myself insane with worry. It’s only when stuff like that happens that you realise how amazing technology is. It wasn’t long before I was talking to the recovering patient on Skype, assuaging any residual worry.
Travel would be a considerably more difficult affair without technology, even if sometimes people go overboard with it. (I’m thinking GPS-enabled shoes and 2 stone of camera gear, complete with underwater kit).
There is something very attractive about getting away from “it all” and leaving your laptops and ipads behind. But me, I will always bring my one basic piece of tech…my phone.