So, I’m back…thanks to all of you who migrated over to my other blog and kept up with our European adventures!
Having over a month off from my last post gave me a much-needed break from trying to market my services as a travel copywriter/marketing strategist. I think I only looked at one LinkedIn notice while I was in Switzerland and Italy, but I stayed fairly active on Jan’s Words and Pictures. I’m still trying to come up with a much snappier title than that snooze-inducing one.
As I’m settling back into my work routine, I think about how slightly annoying it was to communicate and travel. In between all the chocolate, cheese, pasta, wine and gelato I consumed, of course.
While I’m continuing to get my business head cleared, here are just some observations from my perspective:
1.) Reliable wi-fi isn’t widespread, so don’t expect it.
I knew this would be the case in Italy, and less so in Switzerland, and my assumption was pretty much confirmed. This was especially true for us at the smaller inns we stayed at in Florence and Rome.
In fact with the B&B in Florence, we were limited to only three devices for the weak-signaled wi-fi, entering three different and complicated alphanumeric passwords for each. And if you think that wi-fi is on the trains – at least the Italian ones – they are not.
There are internet/wi-fi cafes pretty much everywhere, even in tiny Volterra, Italy. I just didn’t want to have overplayed pop music blasting my eardrums while I was online, though.
2.) Facebook was a great mass postcard
When R and I go on vacation by ourselves, or if I’m traveling solo, I now only send postcards to my kids and very rarely to friends and family. But with Facebook on this trip, I was able to post pictures and comment easily on them, and people seemed to really like them (I still sent regular postcards to J and N). It was much faster than trying to write blog posts, for certain.
The only regret I have was not posting more pictures. But I’ve heard from various sources that once you post a picture on Facebook, it’s pretty much theirs. You no longer have a “right” to your photo, even to sell for commercial purposes, like I would do on a stock photo agency like iStock. This something I will have to look into more carefully.
Usually, I don’t many positives to say about FB, with this being one possible problem. But I did like how I could share our travel experiences this way.
3.) Why is overseas cell phone communication so complicated?
Initially we didn’t want to use the cell phone over there to talk to the kids, who were with their dad in Minnesota. We planned to use Skype or Google Hangout, but G never responded to our requests. So we used R’s cell three times, talking the the girls over a glitchy line for an average of four minutes each time.
All the while, R tried to find out how much these calls were costing us, thinking they’d be about $10-15 each (!) We didn’t call T-Mobile to inform them of our plans, nor did we get a European SIM card to qualify for lower rates, or an international calling card to use on a pay phone.
I can’t wait for the day when satellite technology advances so that cell phone calling around the world will cost as much as calling down the street.