Staying in touch from the road tomorrow will be much easier and more efficient if things keep going they way they are. Cell phones will get smaller, look like watches and/or fit onto shirt collars, behind your ears, or even under the skin. Computers will get smaller with screens on special glasses or watch size units. Everything will be voice activated. We won’t deal with cash any more, reliant upon digital credit cards, secured with voice prints or retinal scans. You will be able to connect anywhere with anyone in a wide range of methods, most of them visual.
From your small communications device, you will be able to check flight times, book restaurants, locate a destination on a map, drive a vehicle that gives verbal driving directions, and arrange your trip from beginning to end with few surprises. The traveler will benefit greatly from the ease of access to traveling information and the simplicity of staying in touch while on the road.
The fantasies of Star Trek and Babylon 5 are happening right now. People are talking to their computers. The blind are using computers, including those who are both blind and deaf. Bedridden or physically challenged? The world is now open to you, and your best friend may live thousands of miles away and speak a foreign language but software will cross even that border so you each will communicate in your own language.
For the traveler this means traveling much lighter and being accessible or having access 24 hours a day, eliminating begging, borrowing, and celling. It also means it will be harder to escape the reach of the technology, for better or worse.
We’ve been at the top of some spectacular mountain ranges or wandering through the deserts of the world when the annoying sound of a cell phone breaks the peaceful quiet of nature. Deer lift their heads and dash away, startled by this intrusion. Squirrels shy away. Even cats freak when they hear those sounds until they become accustomed to them. When I’m out in nature, loving all that is natural, the last sound I want to hear is a cell phone ringing. Some facilities, such as restaurants and churches, are putting a stop to the ringing cell phones, and it maybe just a matter of time before national parks and other nature protected areas do the same. Technology brings the good and bad with it.
For the traveling photographer, with the advance in communications comes major advances in photo-technology. As the digital camera improves, the editorial industry will demand digital images. Instead of enduring the waiting for processing, and suffering the joke of not knowing if you had a good time on your vacation until you get your pictures back, photographers will be able to instantly transmit any image they take back home to their computer or to a photo buyer. A journalist will be able to transmit articles from anywhere in the world to their publishers.While there are techniques available today to do some of these things, the quality is still lacking, but it is coming. The technology of tomorrow will not just effect the traveler, but the photographer and writer as well.
In the future, when you take your camera on the road, home may only be seconds away. It will be interesting to see how our perspective of the “open road” changes as the lines between Point A and Point B shrink with the advances in telecommunications.