I forget, sometimes, just how dependent on internet connection we can be. This past week on the road, I learned a valuable lesson on the importance of connection. Although, perhaps not the kind that you might think.
It was a Friday afternoon, and I was watching Mary and Jerry’s car drive off down the road. We were house-sitting their home for the week. I sat on the couch with Wally, their sweet nine-year-old King Charles Cavalier spaniel. His breathing was shallow and anxious as he slowly realized that his parents had just left him with a stranger.
The necessity of internet connection
After comforting Wally, I headed over to the kitchen table to do some writing. As I turned on my laptop, I realized that I had forgotten to ask Mary for the WiFi password. I needed internet connection to do my work for the week.
No problem, I thought to myself, I’ll just use my phone as a hotspot.
It was sufficient for the moment. However, I knew that I couldn’t rely on my phone for internet connection the whole week. That is, unless I wanted to pay extra for data on my next phone bill.
Personal WiFi hotspot
Before our trip, we bought a TEP Wireless personal WiFi hotspot, to give us internet connection on the road. I decided this week would be the perfect week to give the TEP a try.
A couple of days later, I switched on the TEP to test out the internet connection. It worked for a few hours during the day, and then in the evening it got stuck. The spinning wheel just kept spinning, and the websites wouldn’t load. No matter how many times I restarted the TEP, or disconnected and reconnected to the TEP, I just wasn’t getting any internet connection.
Being spoiled with fast internet
I was getting frustrated. I needed internet connection to post on the blog, check my bank accounts, and interview people via Skype for an article that I was writing. And come Monday, my husband would need internet connection to do his work during the week.
Stop being so melodramatic, Astrid, I told myself, this is part of your reality now, deal with it.
We are spoiled with fast internet connection. I hate to admit this, but it’s true. We’ll undoubtedly come across many more moments like this during our travels. I need to retrain myself to be fine with slow internet connection, as a great deal of the world is not as technologically privileged as the United States.
Our dependency on fast internet
Yet, no matter how much I tried to reassure myself, or put things in perspective, I just couldn’t let go of my frustrations. My anger at the lack of internet connection grew.
Then on Tuesday, Mary called to check in. After a few minutes of chatting, I remembered to ask her for the WiFi password.
“Oh you poor thing,” she said after giving me the password, “have you been going this whole time without internet?”
“It’s okay,” I told her, “I can make do.”
I was too embarrassed to reveal to her my dependency on fast internet.
Connecting with family
The rest of the week was productive, as I got caught up with work, expense tracking, and travel planning. But I am realizing, after the whole fixation on having fast internet connection, how much I was overlooking what was more important: connecting with my family.
This past week, I got to spend time with my husband and hang out with him. Homeschooling my kids allows me to really see how they learn and interact with others. This trip will bring many moments of connection like these, and I am thankful that we have this opportunity.
Don’t lose sight of what is actually important
After our house-sitting gig was done, we headed to Seaquest State Park for a weekend of camping with my younger sister and her husband. It was one of the Washington State Parks that we had yet to explore.
Funny enough, there was no service on our phones at the state park. I had to make do with no internet connection the whole weekend. However, I had learned my lesson.
No matter where we go during our travels, having fast internet connection will be important for us to do our work. It will also be important to help us connect with those back home. But I mustn’t lose sight of what is actually important during this trip. I need to prioritize the connection we make with each other as a family.
Are you as dependent on fast internet connection as I am? How do you deal with slow internet connection on your travels?
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