I love Thankful Thursdays. I enjoy the opportunity to get really deeply thankful and appreciative for something in my life. Today I am grateful for technology. In some ways I sympathize with the Luddites. I do believe we have become a bit disconnected from our real lives by becoming too absorbed in our virtual lives. But in other ways, I am hugely grateful for the vast array of wonderful technology just waiting to enhance our real lives.
Keeping in touch
This past week my family took a long trip to visit family. We used a huge amount of technology to make this trip. Our families live 500 miles apart, and we used chat programs to plan the details of our visit. Through the magnificence that is the internet, we have been able to keep in close contact and up to date with each others’ lives even though we rarely get to hang out together in person. We chat on a weekly, if not daily, basis. I made a video on Youtube reading a book to my nephew. I made Happy Birthday videos for him. His mother and I share juicy secrets just like we used to when we were younger and lived together. We complain about our husbands, our kids. We brag about our husbands, our kids. Effectively, we have been able to maintain a very close relationship for many years while living 500 miles apart.
The trip down here took very many hours. For someone who has not planned a trip since last century, I think I did a pretty good job. I planned our route to avoid New York City. I scheduled rest stops and found fun places for those stops (though they would have been more fun if the temperature wasn’t 95+º F). I did not plan long enough for some of the stops, but more travel experience will help with that. We chose where we would stop for breakfast after the first two-hour leg of the trip, we found an awesome park/playground after the second two-hour leg, and then New Jersey has pretty good service areas on I-95.
We arrived 4 hours after we originally planned, but part of that was leaving an hour and a half late, and spending an hour at each of the first two stops instead of a half hour. We also made a couple of unplanned stops for bathroom breaks. With the technology of cell phones and texting, I was able to keep our hosts updated with our travel progress.
I am so grateful for Google Maps. GPS is a lifesaver on such a long trip. Last time I took a long trip like this (last century), we used a AAA TripTik, which (for those unfamiliar) were a series of paper maps with the entire route highlighted. They were awesome tools for the time. Getting real-time updates from GPS when we missed an exit was so valuable and time saving. I would have been so flustered without the GPS to instantly update our route and get us back on track with only an eight-mile round trip detour.
We also used it to find an ice cream parlor to soothe the savage beasts that our children turned into as we drove south into a heat wave with no AC in the truck. The kids asked me to change the display on the rear view mirror from temperature to compass once it hit 90 to avoid the reminder. A couple of times I checked it quickly to find it reading 100 or more.
Because we were able to keep our hosts updated with our arrival time, we were able to eat a hot, delicious home cooked dinner very shortly after arriving tired and hungry from 13 hours on the road. That was the best shepherd’s pie I think I have ever had. We have also been able to arrange plans with our other hosts, since we are visiting multiple families on this trip. The ease with which we have been able to communicate and coordinate plans has made this trip so much easier than it might have been otherwise.
How has technology been a boon to you? What can you do today that you couldn’t have done without it? How has it made your life better?