Like most of you out there, I have spent quite a bit of my life travelling, staying in hotels and generally being away for work. Sometimes this is great and exciting sometimes it is not. If you speak to anyone who travels for work they will say it is kind of a like a "love / hate relationship", where as everybody who doesn't travel thinks it is most exciting thing ever. I remember while living back in the UK, travelling to Athens, Greece for work. As much as this was exciting, most of what I saw was the Plane, Taxi, Hotel, then the client offices, and of course then in reverse when leaving. My post today is no about whether or not travelling is good or bad but about my own experience and dependencies on little things that make my life easier when travelling.
A few weeks I ago I travelled out to Seattle for client meetings, as I always do where possible I don't check a bag, I reduce what I take to the smallest amount of essentials so I can skip out on the extra hour of time at any airport waiting for my bag back. However one thing that I don't skip on is my work back of "geeky" stuff. Travelling back in the UK, this was never really an issue as I either drove or caught the train, but here in the US, flying is the normal. So I packed my back and went to Dulles airport.
I am a great advocate of "saving the trees" where possible, so choose depending on the airport to check in online using my iPhone, and use the digital ticket they give you, feel like I am doing my part to save the trees.
You all know what comes next, the exciting airport security line that can be the easiest or the hardest thing you ever have to do when travelling. Luckily for me this time was very easy. However I arrive at the security barrier, start to almost strip down to my underwear (there's an image for you) and then unload all of the required items that have to be scanned separately. So while doing this one of the TSA staff is watching me and then comes over to me and asks me "why I needed all the devices" that I had placed in various trays. So to explain I had the following:
- Windows 7 Laptop for Work
- Apple MAC Book Pro for Work
- Kindle Fire
- Regular Kindle (forgot about that being in my bag)
What I also had was multiple external USB hard drives in my bag which always causes a double take by the TSA bag screener. So my response was very simple, "yes", I do and I then proceeded to explain and justify why I needed all the devices with me. At that moment I suddenly found myself asking if I did really need to carry all the devices. Both laptops would have worked, so one would have done, I get internet, email etc. on both by laptops, kindle and phone, justification being some devices rely on Wi-Fi others on the cell phone network.
Isn't it funny to think that in a world when the devices are supposed to do "everything" we can imagine we still end up carrying multiple devices, because the devices we need are different based on the task in hand. Now skip forward to Austin, Texas the other week sitting in the airport with a few colleagues who had attended and spoken and to a very awkward conversation that right now I cannot remember who started it, but it related to my obsession with devices and then the connectivity that I need *ALL THE TIME*.
Are you like me where you really feel it when you, don't check your email, don't surf the internet randomly or just know you have a connection. Sounds bad I know, but with travelling around you soon get an appreciation of a good internet connection, some hotels are good, others are bad, sometime my cell phone works so I can use other times it does not, and of course unless you are on plan carrier that has Wi-Fi the flights can be very long when all you need or want to do is send that email or check Facebook or twitter.
Surely I am not alone on this, so while sitting in the Airport, a friend Bill English said that when he finishes work on a Friday he "un-plugs" until he has to go back to work on Monday. I was amazed that he could do that. For me I have my phone with me at *all* times, just in case someone whoever it is needs to send me en email, text, tweet or a Facebook message. I like the feeling of being connected and really do feel a little disconnected and almost out of it when not connected or at least have access to some device that is online the whole time, kind of reminds me of being in the "matrix".
So does this mean I am an "internet junky"?
Do I have an addiction? Is it time for me to let go of a device for a few hours and wean myself off the need to be connected?
My own though is maybe it is time to let go a little and enjoy the time away from it. I am not alone in this, I go and see my son playing football (soccer) and I am not the only parent who is on the phone at some point of checking in on Foursquare, Facebook or tweeting how great my kids are. In my mind this is fine however, we seem to as humans being moved away from the idea that talking to people is accepted, now we ask people to "email me", "ping me", send me a "Facebook or Twitter Message", are we going to end up not speaking in the future? I don't think so but maybe it is time to let go a little and go back to idea, as Orange in the UK, always had on their commercials "it is good to talk".
Maybe I will start wearing this T-Shirt to spread the work and may you think about your own "connectivity addiction" J