So, we just got back from a week of travel to Toronto and Ottowa. In both places, we were severely hampered by lack of easy access to wireless data. Sure, we came prepared for searching the cities for wifi hotspots and the usual solace was found at most Tim Hortons and McDonalds (Don’t eat… Just coffee and wifi…). But, in general, beyond coffee shops, public wifi remains hard to find.
Even worse, the experience of the city was made significantly less fun by the lack of easy data access. Several times we found ourselves wanting to know the history of something, needing help with directions or wanting to share an experience with our friends and family. Next time, we will definitely take more steps to find ways to have data access on at least our phones. We just did not make too much of an effort to find a local process and we did NOT want to pay the HUGE rates that ATT desires for international roaming.
It was kind of fun to re-discover old school navigational skills. We armed ourselves with compasses and maps and explored the city in age old style. While it left us without easy access to the instant gratification of iPhone maps, wikipedia and Google, we survived.
I tell you this story, because even as a life hacker and technology person, don’t forget to go back and refresh on the basics. Learn to read a map and use a compass. Learn to tell time with the sun. Practice moving around your environment once in a while, without all of the modern capabilities you posses. It was fun, refreshing and enlightening to do so. And, in the end, isn’t that just exactly what life is all about?
PS – Check out the 1000 Islands area of Canada when you get some time. If you have never been there, it immediately struck me as one of the most beautiful places in North America. Read more about it here.