Sarah checks her smartphone at a frozen yogurt joint in Ho Chi Minh City. Image by Kayti Burt.
I love the Internet age. I consider myself inexplicably lucky to have been born into a time when information is more easily accessible to a wider scope of people than ever before.
This perspective doesn’t falter when it comes to my traveler identity. I know it can be popular to conflate technology with living “outside of the moment” — as something that works contrary to the values of the traveler or devalues the traveler experience. But, for me, this has never been the case. I see the demonization of the technology-savvy life as a subtle demonization of the younger generations, a symptom of a lack of understanding of what technology can be and is used for.
I started thinking more specifically on the subject at this year’s Women in Travel Summit. During the course of the amazing weekend that brought together 300 female travelers and travel bloggers from around the world, Corning Gorilla Glass gave a demonstration of its product, showing how Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 performs two times better than competitive glass designs in devices dropped from three feet.
Gorilla Glass 4 is the glass that is used on a number of mobile devices. It dramatically improves protection against drops and the damage that comes with the everyday use (not to mention travel-related use) of your smartphones and tablets. Corning Incorporated scientists replicated common drop situations in their lab to create Gorilla Glass 4, a cover glass that survives up to 80 percent of the time when dropped from 3 feet. Basically, Gorilla Glass 4 rocks.
In watching the live demo and the above video playing on loop at the Corning booth, I came away from the weekend with two Gorilla Glass-related thoughts:
- Those promo gorillas are adorable.
- Device protection is important to me as both a traveler and blogger because technology is so important to me as both a traveler and blogger.
Why, you may ask? Well, on the first point, because they are fuzzy and inquisitive and like to tumble.
As for the second point, because technology often makes my travel experience so much better. Here are five ways technology can enhance the travel experience…
1. Technology helps keep you connected to loved ones back home.
I am extremely close to my family. One of the hardest things about traveling abroad is not being able to call them up as easily as I can when I’m home. Technology makes this much easier.
Breaking a device doesn’t just mean an inconvenience; it means not being able to share how my day went or ask what they’ve been up to. These conversations are worth everything to me.
2. Technology helps keep you connected to online communities.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time as part of an online community knows that the relationships and support nurtured in these spaces can be just as real and valuable as relationships and support garnered in “the real world.” The constant of an online community like Wanderful can be even more important when traveling, when your IRL social circle may be constantly changing. Whatever advice or affirmation you may need, Wanderful (or other online communities you may belong to) are there to give it — even when you are on the other side of the world.
3. Technology can help you reflect on your travel experience.
As an introvert, I need to spend a lot of time processing. For me, this means taking photos and writing long, rambly passages in my digital journal. Though I tend to use my Canon Rebel to snag photos abroad, I don’t always want to tote that thing around. My smartphone’s camera and video functions are my go-to for the more ephemeral travel moment.
I also have an app on my smartphone that allows me to record audio easily — something that comes in handy both as a way to document another aspect of the travel experience, as well as to record interviews I may need for articles or larger projects (I have Gorilla Glass on my current, beloved smartphone: the Moto X).
4. Technology can help you reconnect with your home culture when you need to.
I am a total media nerd and pop culture junkie. When I’m not traveling, I often use my passion for TV and film to explore other cultures. I watch K-dramas and foreign films and probably spend way too much time thinking about the development of broadcasting systems around the world.
When I am traveling, the reverse is often true: I use media as a way to give myself a jolt of home when I most need it. I re-watch my favorite web series (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, in case you were wondering) on YouTube or download the latest American bestseller.
As an introvert, I often recharge while traveling by falling into these comfy pockets of pop culture familiarity. When I come back out of them, I am re-energized and ready to engage with the glorious unfamiliarity of my latest destination.
5. Technology can help connect you to places and experiences that suit you best.
There’s something to be said for the randomness of travel. At home, it can be easy to fall into a rigid routine. You go to the same places and see the same people.
While abroad, familiarity is in short supply, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s something liberating about wandering around with no plan and letting the universe decide your destination.
Sometimes, though, the universe needs a little help, and that help can come in the form of a quick Google search. This isn’t always the way to go (Sometimes wandering aimlessly is the way to go.), but it also isn’t cheating.
You are a citizen of the Internet Age. Embrace it!
The underlying theme of this post is probably obvious to you: I need to be able to rely on my devices when I’m on the road. A cracked screen or a broken device isn’t the end of the world — as travelers, I think we all credit ourselves with a certain degree of adaptability — but it is a major inconvenience. It’s one that can cost time and money you might not have when on a tight travel schedule and/or blogging deadline, as well as the social connections that keep you grounded while on the other side of the world. Ensuring your devices use Gorilla Glass 4 is one proactive way to help prevent this from happening.
Gorilla Glass has been used on more than 3 billion devices for more than 40 major brands. If you want to see if your current (and/or prospective) devices have Gorilla Glass 4, check out this comprehensive list.
How do you use technology to enhance your travel experiences? Have you ever broken a device while traveling? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This post was sponsored by Corning Incorporated. However, the views and opinions are completely my own! Click here for Wanderful’s full disclosure statement.