Travel Thought Thursday :- Connection

Today its very common to see people of any nation holding a cell phone or a smart phone. Head lowered. Eyes on the glowing screen. Thumbs and/or fingers tapping furiously on the device. Sore necks ensues. Eye contact lost. Face-to-face connection is a thing of the past.

Nevertheless, technology has made connection across continents much easier.

Human connection often times requires an electronic device as a mediator. However, sometimes the electronic device has caused mixed messages and led to misunderstandings.

Yet when friends and family gather, the true human connection is often neglected. It’s no uncommon to see a table of 4 people seated at a table in the restaurant and all 4 are busy with their own electronic device. Children and babies are often given a tablet to play with to provide the parents and guardians free time.

What is this world coming to??

One time when I was visiting a remote Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, right there in the courtyard a monk’s robe starting ringing. Out comes his cell phone and a conversation ensues.

I chuckled a bit inside. My face showed my surprised reaction. It was definitely an interesting sight.

***

In an effort to save money, I have not purchased SIM cards for each country that I have visited. Instead, wherever I’ve traveled to I’ve been on the lookout for Free WiFi. “Do you have WiFi?”, I would ask and then follow the positive response with the request for the associated password. All this time I did not know what the acronym stands for.

WiFi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”
WLAN stands for “Wireless Local Area Network” or ” Wave Local Area Network”

I had no idea!

When I was in Germany, I see “Free WLAN.” Now that I’m in Switzerland, I see very few signage.
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What I have noticed traveling through different countries and continents is that with consideration of staying within touristic areas or not, some countries are simply more willing to share than others.

Perhaps in the more “advanced” or “Westernized” countries they assume locals and travelers are already connected with their own network provider.

All the while many businesses in Asia uses the availability of wireless connection to lure in customers. Though I have encountered many which displays their WiFi password publicly, regardless whether a purchase is made.

Then of course there are the times when I see a café signage that says “No WiFi available – Talk to each other”.

***

I am not without my dependence with my electronic device. I seek out Open WiFi networks, so I can satisfy my ego by checking into a location with Foursquare and /or Facebook.

Honestly, I am writing this post while traveling on a train to Zermatt, Switzerland to visit the famous Matterhorn. With the hope that I will find a free open wireless connection somewhere so I can upload this post.

In the end finding the balance provide the best of both worlds. Stay connected wirelessly while staying connected in the physical form.

I know many times I had to stop myself from striving to get the perfect selfie for my Facebook profile photo and actually enjoy the location I have found. Though I do I wish to share as many sights and sounds as possible with everyone who’s not traveling with me.

Staying in the present moment is difficult for me. There’s so many distractions in life. Now that electronic devices have added to the list I just have one more to distraction to contend with.

Wherever you are, stop reading this post for 2 seconds and notice your surroundings. Enjoy the breath of air. Enjoy the small flicker of light out of the corner of your eye. Enjoy the distant sound of laughter. Notice the small things – hopefully they bring a smile to your face as they do yo mine.

Keep smiling. Keep exploring.

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