I am definitely having a “woe is me” sort of day. I’m trying not to. I was in denial for most of the day about the fact that my iPhone dropped unceremoniously into the toilet. And then I had to reach in to get it.
I refused to even think about it until this afternoon. And then it hit me full force. Besides the serotonin boost that phone provides me when I have a surprise text message or comments and likes on Instagram, it is also my emergency link to you. There’s comfort in knowing that I can text home or pay a gazillion dollars and actually call home if I want to.
I feel like I need to hashtag this post, #firstworldproblemsinathirdworldcountry
I still have my laptop and can email and Face Time and do all these things that never would have been possible 10 years ago. Or even a year ago as Face Time is brand new, at least to me.
I will now take a moment to date myself and tell you about several trips I’ve made over the years and how technology has evolved. For by the time you are old enough to head out on your own, I will travel with you by hologram or some such thing.
The summer 1997 I backpacked through Europe as you do. Though I did have an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, I believe, I didn’t have anyone to email! I remember passing an internet cafe and waiting for other people to go in and send an email, (emphasis on singular, not plural), but why bother? The rule was that I had to call home at least once every 2 weeks and that was enough.
In 1999, I spent a few months in the Middle East. This was in the dark ages as far as technology goes. I was traveling with my friend Rick and we decided we were going to be revolutionary and have a website that we updated during our trip. This was a huge endeavor that included, first, having a website built and then, buying a whole set of phone adapters for the modem and lots of complicated telephone hacking. It also included buying one of the first Nikon CoolPix digital cameras to go along with a film camera (thanks Dad!). We had big dreams but the world wasn’t ready for us. Plus, we were always staying in cheap hostels that didn’t even have a phone. But we did have a nice website that was never updated.
2001. Jason and I were traveling to India and SE Asia and we were part of a team of writers and photographers documenting the Maha Kumbha Mela, a huge Hindu festival that only happens every 12 years. (The most recent one just happened this past Jan. Put 2025 on your calendar now.) It was an all digital trip and we had incredible sponsors such as Kodak and IPIX. Somehow we did manage to update a website that was built with Dreamweaver along the way from this tiny little Sony VAIO we carried. This was the time before blogs, which didn’t become mainstream until 2004. Our lives would have been so much easier had we known what those were. Always ahead of the curve, but not quite realizing it!
2003. I lived in Australia for the year and had my trusty Mac Book Pro with me. But this was before wi-fi, Facebook, etc. and I spent hours upon hours sitting in an internet cafe throughout the year.
2013. Here I am in Morocco and I am, ahem…”was” constantly connected throughout the day. Always looking for wi-fi hot spots so I could check my phone. Coming home to call you over Face Time in the evening. Regularly updating my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, checking and responding to emails, reading all my favorite blogs, trying to stream Downton (didn’t work), etc.
All this is to say that I was genuinely upset by the loss of my phone and in my sorrow, I much appreciated the sympathy I got. I also appreciated the kick in the butt my friend Rebecca gave me. Ever the optimist, she said, “silver lining- spin it around and see it as an excuse to disconnect and will allow you to be evermore present in your amazing experience!”
And, I shall do just that. It’s a bit of a crutch to constantly have the iPhone in my hand to entertain me through meals eaten alone or while waiting for a train. The best part was that it provided me with a digital traveling companion as I experienced a new country alone and I got a huge thrill out of sharing photos in semi-real time on Instagram. It made the world smaller and I felt important, like I was a scout, sending messages home about the new world. But perhaps I should look up and soak in the moment, if anything, through one of the other 4 cameras I have with me.
All this comes back around to you Seamus because if my laptop were stolen, I would board a plane in a second to come home. For if I did not have the modern wonder of Face Time so that I could “see” you everyday, I would not be able to make it.
My favorite moments are when the iPad is on the floor at home and I get a full view of all the chaos that I am missing in my own house. The poor Bella dog is so confused. She can hear me but she can not lick me and you can just see it on her face in this photo. You, however, seem to take it all in stride. The other night you tried to feed me pasta through the computer, perfectly content with my “image”.
I did get a message from your dad this morning letting me know that you stubbed your toe last night and in your pain, you called out for “mommy”. He said about you,”His face (bottom lip fully curled for maximum heart tugging leverage) would have put you back on the Marrakech Express!”
I’m counting down the days, Seamus! Counting the days.