I’ve been traveling for the past week (more to come on that in a future post) and two things have struck me on this, my first big trip in 3 years ago.
First, my goal of moving someplace where we can travel more slowly and deliberately is stronger than ever. Airports are still a nightmare and the stress of dealing with all the logistics of travel is something I didn’t miss at all. The only saving grace of this trip is that it hasn’t been for a WordCamp (I doubt I’ll be doing any more of those in the future unless they take the safety of the camps seriously in the era of COVID). This means I didn’t have to prepare a talk, there was no overwhelming party, etc. We could take things at our own pace which has meant exploring during the day and mostly relaxing evenings reading. We’re one of very few who mask everywhere (and we still won’t eat inside a restaurant without a mask) and I was worried this would cause us issues but so far that hasn’t been the case. Unlike at home people here seem mostly just oblivious to the threat and not outright hostile to anyone who takes action. That has been kinda nice.
Second, travel tech has come a long way. I feel comfortable with my iPhone as my sole device in other countries, something that wasn’t the case when I last traveled with one in 2017. It has been rock solid at directions and, paired with my Apple Watch, has done a delightful job at preventing us from getting lost and helping us find places to visit in the medieval city we’re staying in. The rest of my tech, from charges to battery packs to apps and more, has really performed well too. Apple Pay is now accepted pretty much everywhere and translation apps have removed a lot of historic awkwardness when visiting a place where the proprietor doesn’t speak English. Taken together our tech has made this a much more enjoyable trip than some previous experiences and for that I am grateful.
I feel, in some ways, like travel is just like everything else in American life now. The tech helps make things easier but people have mostly gotten worse. While I’m glad to be on the road again I don’t relish going back to the travel schedule I had pre-COVID and will still avoid any and all places with groups larger than a dozen or so folks. Here’s to hoping we can continue to stay safe as well as that the logistics of travel continues to make things a bit easier.