When I first went travelling, fellow backpackers were amused to discover I carried a watch and an alarm clock with me. They joked that I must consider myself a busy man of the world, who may need to wake early, meaning before lunchtime; “Like, Richard, it’s not like you ever have An Appointment.”
Technology for the traveller has moved on. My mobile phone also serves as watch, alarm clock, camera, diary and home entertainment centre. Things are so much more convenient now…or are they?
This week when Mevrouw T and I set out for another stint on the road, we had with us:
Two mobile phones (naturally).
The iPod (saving us the trouble of carrying CDs, though we brought some of those too).
The iPad (we don’t know exactly how to use it yet, but we were told we should have one)
The Kindle eReader (capable of storing 20,000 books, but I brought 20 real books too)
The transistor radio (I still like it for listening to the morning news while walking)
The laptop (which is getting a workout right now).
The backup external hard-drive (I’ve learned the hard way).
The noise-cancelling headphones (brilliant for watching movies on the plane; I read a book all the way.)
Two cameras (one was needed to take the above photo, so you have to imagine it on the heap).
The photo card reader (my laptop has a slot for that too, but I brought it because…oh, I don’t know)
The Garmin Edge 500 GPS bike computer (for mapping our travels between sustenance stops and calculating calories used in getting there)
The electronic photo frame (with pictures of the grandchildren on a permanent loop)
Two electric toothbrushes (we don’t share toothbrushes, but we do share the toothbrush charger)
Each of these essential items also has its essential protective cover, earpiece, charger, power adaptor, lead and instruction manual. Some have an external keyboard and convenient compact travel mouse too.
We also needed a set of plugs to adapt our Australian devices to European power points, and adapt European devices to UK power points. When stuffed into a SEE, FLY, BUY duty free plastic bag, cords and adaptors manage to tangle themselves together like wire spaghetti dotted with electronic meatballs.
For those times when we want to recharge a mobile phone, an iPad and our toothbrushes while sending an email, writing a blog post and admiring photos of the grandchildren, we also brought a four-plug power board. Maybe that should have been the six-plug model?