Mar 132013
 

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How technology and social media affect people spending months away from home

Are you addicted to Facebook or twitter? Could you live without Internet access? What kinds of global access and connections do you expect when you travel?
 
When planning for our first snowbird winter, Internet access was on the list of requirements for a rental home. Our winter in Arizona, away from Manitoba ice and snow, would be a very different experience without that access and other technology advances.

 

Banking
 
Online banking allows me to keep on top of any bills that need to be paid and ensure money is transferred to appropriate accounts before automatic withdrawals are scheduled. ATM machines give us access to U.S. cash.

 

Communications with Family and Friends
 
Free long distance to Canada is included in our rental agreement. This means I can readily call family and friends. Facebook and email allow for connections to continue almost as if we were still in Canada.
 
We use Skype to communicate with our daughter on the Canadian west coast. With the video feature, we see as well as hear each other. We’ve had a few long late night conversations.
 
In February, we used Skype to “attend” a party with our dinner club friends. We spent an hour and a half listening to and joining in the conversation. In spite of a few technical glitches that required redials, it felt as if we’d been part of the party.
 
 
Canadian News
 
The Arizona Republic newspaper is delivered every day. But in the almost three months we’ve been here, I’ve seen only three items about Canada. One item mentioned the retirement of the penny. Another covered a snow storm in Toronto. The third focused on the combat roles of Canadian woman in the armed forces. In January, the U.S. military officially lifted the ban that prevented women from serving in combat roles.
 
It is possible I missed a couple articles, but that still wouldn’t constitute a lot of Canadian news. I use the Internet to periodically read Canadian news feeds or watch Canadian news.
 
 
Sightseeing and Getting Around
 
I find information in the newspaper about things to do and see in the area, including special events and festivals. A website where one can obtain more information is often sited. If it is something we may be interested in, I go to the site for more information about the event, the hours, and the location.
 
Unlike many of our friends, we do not have GPS. We keep a paper map in the car. But we rely heavily on the Internet to determine locations and routes before we leave home.
 
 
And So Much More
 
I use the Internet for research and validation of my blog posts. And of course, to post the items.
 
With my iPad perched on the kitchen island I cook meals following a recipe I’ve found on-line.
 
My husband is one of several volunteers who handle email for a club we belong to in Winnipeg. Thanks to Internet access, he continues to do his share of the volunteer work.  
 
 
 
The snowbird experience must have been quite different twenty years ago. Although the ever increasing pressure to be constantly connected can seem overwhelming and distracting at times, it is hard to imagine life without the technology.
 
What technology would you find hard to live without?  

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