Last time I did a RTW trip, eighteen years ago (that makes me feel old!) the only remotely technological things I took were an old cassette walkman and my prized Canos Eos 50E camera, which I still own. Laptops were huge and expensive, as were mobile phones, and I don’t think internet cafes existed. Even if they had, I didn’t know anyone with an email address at the time, so they’d have been useless to me. I relied on weekly calls to my parents from phoneboxes, and letters waiting at poste restantes, for my communication needs. I did sometimes feel lonely and cut off from my friends and family, but on the whole, it gave me an enormous feeling of freedom.
This time it’s going to be different. Not only has technology moved on dramatically, but as a family of five, our needs are different to the single girl I was. I will almost certainly replace that old cassette walkman with my much-loved ipod. The whole family uses it to listen to music and audio books, and watch cartoons on long journeys. We might even take more than one ipod so more than two people can listen at once.
I’ve yet to fully convert to digital photography, with my ‘proper’ camera still being the Canon SLR which I took on my last trip. It’s now on it’s last legs, so it’s probably a good time to switch. I’ll also take a small, pocket camera both as backup, and for the children to use.
I’m not a big mobile phone user, and would happily live without one, but I think our parents will want to be able to get hold of us. I’m sure it would also come in useful for booking the next place to stay.
We will need a laptop for school work, storing and editing photos, updating the blog and sending emails. It can also double as a DVD player and form of internet-related, entertainment. With all those different uses, will one computer be enough?
Last time I travelled the world, I carried at least six books at any one time, often more. Their combined weight gave me horrible backache, which makes an ebook look pretty attractive.
You rarely see kids on long journeys without a Nintendo DS, or similar, these days. Our children are a bit too young to have succumbed so far, but I can see the attraction on a twelve hour flight, and one might sneak its way into our luggage.
I’ve never really got into video photography, although I did once own a video camera, which no longer works. Eve and a friend had a great time making a little film together last weekend, so that’s something else to think about.
If we took all these things with us, we probably wouldn’t be able to fit in any clothes or toiletries, so I’m sure this list will get refined. It’s easy to get carried away with the idea of all these things, but I’m also aware that each piece of technology can become an expensive burden when it breaks. Also, the more valuables we carry, the more we will worry about stuff getting stolen.
Most of all, I want to be sure that we don’t spend all our time with earphones in, looking at flickering screens, whilst missing the amazing sights and sounds that we have travelled so far to see.