It used to be hard to keep in touch when you travelled.
The first time I went overseas by myself, I remember sending a telegram to my parents to say that I had reached my final destination.
ARRIVED SAFE STOP
Back then you were meant to report to the local police station to say you were staying in town for a while. Nowadays this may be unnecessary as they can probably work it out themselves via GPS trackers on phones or when you search for hotels or bus timetables in their region. (Check out this post – it is scary).
Backpackers would check ‘Poste Restante’ at the main post office in each city they visited – hoping for letters from friends and family (that would have had to be sent a week or two before – and would possibly arrive after the traveller had already moved on).
While I was studying at a Swedish university, my flatmates and I would rush to the door of our apartment building whenever we thought we heard the post arrive – often to find that it was only someone dropping a bag of rubbish down the waste chute.
Phone cards were still in their infancy and not yet available in most countries. When I rang my parents to say I was finally coming home, the noise of the coins being swallowed by the pay phone was so loud that I could barely hear them talk.
Nowadays it’s much easier to keep in touch. Travellers can go to Internet cafes or use their smartphones and tablets to check for messages or call home (with webcam) anytime they want as long as there is an Internet connection. (See my post re Bali for what to do if there isn’t.)
It will therefore be very different when I travel in future – but I’m not going anywhere just yet. When I do go – family, friends & followers probably won’t miss me at all. They might not even know I’m gone.*
* Check out this great song called ‘Cups’ based on ‘When I’m gone’ – an Appalachian song that was first recorded by the Carter Family in 1928 – to which later artists have added ‘The Cup Game’. This version was recorded by Anna Kendrick for the film ‘Pitch Perfect’. However, there are lots of other great recordings (e.g. Cimorelli; Lulu and the Lampshades; and Anna Burden). Thanks to Clyde for telling me about it!
Photo credit: © Absente | Dreamstime.com