with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

The Technology of Staying in Touch Tomorrow

graphic of computer monitor going into warp speedStaying 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.

Graphic of the Star Trek communication devicesThe 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.

Techno Photographers

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.



  • Daniel Hong
    Posted June 4, 2005 at 17:38 | Permalink

    After reading all the information on your web site, I have a feeling that this was updated sometime ago. However, it’s very practical information and I am thankful for your research and time spent.

    Among many useful informations you’ve provided, I am particularly interested in the high speed Internet technology while on the road anytime anywhere. Currently I am doing an intensive research of my own and hopefully get the necessary information I need before I start my year-long RV journey.

    I too, like you, want to work on the road so I can make a living and enjoy the traveling and nature. Perhaps you could kindly give me more updated information on the latest RV Internet technology and some tips on the kinds of work available while traveling in RV.

    That particular style of living has always been my dream and I am very close to making it a reality. Within a year (by summer of 2006) I will have completed my master’s degree and along with a teaching credential. By then I should able to teach online and make a half-way decent income, hopefully enough to do what I want.

    But one thing I want to make sure is a problem-free high speed Internet access anytime, anywhere. I may be slightly ahead what today’s technology is able to provide but then again, I may be wrong. It just maybe a matter of cost rather than available technology. At any rate, we shall soon find out, won’t we? Let’s keep in touch. This could be a start of a good friendship for our families.

  • Posted June 4, 2005 at 19:43 | Permalink

    Thank you for your comment, and this series of articles was updated very recently. I’m sorry, but your fantasy of life on the road and high speed Internet access will continue to be a fantasy for quite a while.

    After five years overseas, I was eager to be back in the states and embrace the new high speed wireless technology that I encountered on my travels overseas. I was terribly disappointed, and frustrated, by the lack of progress in the United States. Technology here is so far behind the rest of the world, it amazes me.

    Cell phones must be bought and contracts signed. In much of the world, if you buy a phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM card and be free of all contracts, buying and adding time as you need. In the states, monopolies on cell coverage controls cell phone usage, and only TracFone exists for such services and they are horribly expensive, inconvenient, and limiting.

    WIFI is still primative and totally scattered. Living in this campground in Mobile, Alabama, where I have recently installed WIFI for the entire campground, and the campground owner offers it for free, campers come through here and are thrilled and amazed, often extending their stays in Mobile just for the WIFI Internet access.

    I’ve talked to many of these people who say that most campgrounds charge for the service, some a lot, some a little, and they are few and far in-between. I just got an email from one full-time couple who stayed here three weeks longer than they planned just to have the access. It was six weeks before they got another access point.

    I’ve been in big cities and had no access to WIFI, and small towns in the middle of nowhere and got a connection. There is no rhyme or reason.

    As many people are starting to go WIFI, new technologies are coming in to increase range and speed, but not in the US.

    I’ll be expanding this information more in the next week or so, but for the most part, the ease of staying in touch on the road has improved, but is still way behind what our imagination says it should be.

    Good luck with your plans and dreams. There is a high learning curve ahead of you, so start practicing now with as many trips as possible

    And thanks.

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