It’s a funny old thing – Tony’s been looking into these magic gizmos that you can get that have a GPS built in, and they track your journey and automatically plot it on a map. Sounds like a great idea to keep folk updated with what we’re up to, but it really got me thinking… You see, I travelled quite a bit when I was younger – on and off for around 5 years in fact. Now this was only 20 years ago, but way back then in the Dark Ages, there wasn’t any GPS. There was no internet, or at least nothing in common usage, no mobile phones, no email, no twitter, facebook or any of that malarky. I travelled without a single electrical item in my luggage, unless you count my film-based point and shoot camera that ran on batteries. I sailed across the Atlantic in a 46 foot yacht, and we navigated by sextant for heavens sake (though that is something I’m rather proud of, it has to be said)! SatNav was around at the time, but we didn’t have it – the skipper thought he’d bought a SatNav system and swears it was in the wrong box, as when he tried to set it up it turned out to be Decca, a system that’s now redundant and at the time was only good for navigating around coastal regions. Not much good for an ocean crossing then. So, sextant it was. No batteries required. Except the ones in the rather nifty little calculator that meant I still didn’t need to master the art of log tables.

Back then I used to ‘phone home once every two or three months as it was a faff to do so, and was prohibitively expensive. On odd occasions I would write postcards and letters home, and if I had an idea of where my path was likely to take me (which most of the time I didn’t, except in a very general sense), folk from home could write to me care of a town’s poste restante – see article here if you have no idea what that is, as Tony didn’t!

Blimey how things have changed! Now the list includes such absolute essentials as the ubiquitous mobile phone, a laptop or netbook, digital stills camera, video camera, GPS, GPS tracking gizmo (which may or may not be needed as the cameras have GPS built in these days!), iPod, and possibly my electric toothbrush (I’m older and my teeth need more care, OK?!). Oh, and a hair trimmer for Tony so we can keep his under control (hair, that is!). I’m sure there’s more that we could add that I just haven’t thought of yet, and I’m a little concerned that our entire luggage is going to be taken upĀ  with various chargers at this rate… Tent? Nah, no room for it, got to fit the speakers for the iPod in, sorry!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking all this, I actually think it’s all rather wonderful. After all, without it all, how would we be able to run this blog, and keep in touch with all you lovely people? It is a completely different world though, and my mind is just boggled with the sheer speed with which it has all changed. One of the things that I found most noticeable when I re-visited Sydney a few years ago was how every other place in Kings Cross (backpacker central) was an internet cafe. I suspect that’s changed again with the advent of netbooks, iPhones and wireless. Maybe it’s an age thing, does every generation reach a point when they’re awestruck by the speed at which things change?

Or maybe it’s just me…

Welcome to the Digital Age!