Working from the Road: Then and Now

Last night as we sat planning the upcoming Fall Road Trip, Greg and I marveled over how different working from the road was going to be this road trip than from when we first started traveling together, or even just six years ago, or even four years ago.

When we took our first road trip together in 1994, working from the road meant land lines and modems. Back in 2004 when we did our big marathon road trip from California to Minnesota, covering 13 states in 14 days, working from the road was much easier, but still so very different than it is today.

As we strike out on our Fall Road Trip, we compared how much easier it is to work from the road.

Computers

Back in 1994 and 2004, we had our laptops, but they were much bigger and less powerful than the ones we have now. Heck my ipod has more power and space than my laptop in 1994 did.  Now, from the road we are able to connect to our work computers back home, edit photos and videos, blog, and do anything that we need to get done right from our laptops.

Cameras

Gone are the days of our film-based SLR camera and each child having a disposable camera. Now we have instant pictures and video through our digital cameras. We bought our 6 MP digital SLR camera on the 2004 trip, and had no video capability. This trip we not only have our digital SLR, but also my HD video camera which also takes stills (and fits in my pocket) and my son’s little digital video camera, plus another dual purpose digital point and shoot camera.

Phones

In 1994, we had no phone access unless we could find a land line. In 2004, we had our cell phone, but not texting, email, and internet from our phones. Now we’re traveling with Greg’s work Blackberry so he’ll be accessible and connected to his work email and phone along the way, and of course I’ll have my cell phone, which is fondly nicknamed as the “Bat phone” simply because the number is only available to a few specific people and used for emergencies. But we are also travelling with our voice-over-IP phone as well. So our home phone number is coming with us.

Internet Access

In 1994, wifi was non-existent. In 2004, we were lucky to find a truck stop or a coffee shop with wifi access. And even hotels didn’t always offer wifi, or just offered it in the lobby. We had to really check and make sure that wifi was available whereever we stayed.

Now,  you can find internet access just about anywhere. In fact right now I’m writing this from  a fast food restaurant down the street from my son’s speech therapy. :)

And to top it off, if we wanted to spend the money, we could even pick up a wifi air card, and pretty much have internet access as we drive down the road.

So now, it’s so much easier to take off on a road trip and still be connected. That of course has positives and negatives. On the plus side, we can blog and stay connected with you, I can finish up some projects I’m not going to get done before we hit the road, and Greg can take 16 days off work, but not be swamped when he comes back. But on the downside, we don’t ever just get away from the technology and leave the work behind. That actually takes effort now.

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