Once upon a time, e-mail was not your typical way of communication.
When me and my wife started traveling seriously, it was not always easy to make contact with people back home (I’m talking 199s here). We needed to call from phone booths and for e-mail we had only one choice: internet cafés.
When we finally found one of those gloomy internet cafés in Peru, India, Japan or Vietnam we shared screens full of adventurous stories with our loved ones back home. We banged the keyboards of dusty, second-hand personal computers, trying not to bother about the sticky keys that were like glue on our typing fingers. We just wanted to share our stories before the connection would be lost again!
Writing on the (wooden) wall
Fellow travelers who you would like to ask for advice where not to be found on Facebook or Twitter. You had to visit popular hostels offering the service of an old wooden board on the wall where travelers left hand-written notes: suggestions of places to visit, hotels to stay or even sometimes the request to join transportation.
Social travel, off-line.
Call it the Romantic Travel Age or just call it inconvenient and pre-historical.
When this bottle washed ashore on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand I started mesmerizing. Just look at the shells that grew on this bottle, it must have driven in the ocean for months or even maybe a year! You know I am a sentimental idiot, so when I found this bottle I searched for a message: a piece of paper with a handwritten note, a map of long-forgotten islands or any other desperate call for contact.
I love to find these kinds of unexpected surprises. The bottle reminded me of my own intentions for our summer trip: to travel slowly through Thailand and to be seriously disconnected most of the times. I have to admit that wasn’t always easy with free WIFI everywhere (!)
There is something appealing to slow communication. A message in a bottle that reaches others months after its sending. When I was lying on the beach of this tropical island in Thailand, far away from commitments back home, I felt a kind of longing for the Slow Age.
How about you? Do you try your utmost to be connected online to share your stories and to keep updated? Or are you someone who tends to be disconnected and just waiting for some kind of message to wash ashore?