For someone that works exclusively online I’m embarrassingly technologically illiterate. Yes, maybe compared to my dad (who still wonders why none of his faxes seem to be going through to me) and my mom (who just learned how to use iMessage, much to my chagrin), but compared to the rest of the world I sure am a bit tech challenged.
Over the past few years, though, I’ve become a bit of an Apple fan boy, and that’s probably because of how technologically illiterate I am. There’s simply less that can go wrong on an i[insert any word] than another electronic device.
But one thing I do pride myself in when traveling is to minimize what I take with me as much as possible. As my mom learned the hard way on our trip to Bali (or more accurately as I learned the hard way, since I was the one lugging the bags around), every item you pack actually has to be lugged around for the entirety of your trip, even if you only use 10% of it.
Anyway, up until now I’ve had a MacBook Air and an iPhone. I’ve resisted getting an iPad, almost with a passion. My reasoning was simple — I don’t think an iPad fills much of a gap between a MacBook Air (which is a really small laptop) and an iPhone (which is good enough for checking email, Tweeting, etc.), and is only one extra thing to lug around.
But a couple of months ago I broke down and bought an iPad Mini. I figured it was smaller than an iPad so wouldn’t be much of a burden on my laptop bag. I got the one without cellular data (I didn’t want to pay for a monthly data plan), and to be honest I’ve actually found it to be totally worthwhile.
It’s not making me more productive by any means, but it sure has kept me more entertained. Before I got it I couldn’t picture many circumstances where I’d use it, though I’ve found it useful way more than I ever expected:
- My mom is addicted to solitaire and can’t sit still, and on our trip to Bali I think my iPad Mini (on which I installed solitaire) kept her entertained for half of her “relaxation” time. She played it for half of the Cathay Pacific flight, while sitting at the pool in Bali, etc.
- An iPad Mini is great for the gym. If you’re in foreign countries and the only TV station on the treadmill in English is the Disney Channel, it sure is nice to have your own entertainment… well, assuming Hannah Montana isn’t on.
- When I’m taking
GreyhoundAlaska down the west coast, they seem to start boarding about two days before departure. I know this might sound silly, but I think I’ve caught up on just about every TV show I’ve ever wanted to see just during the boarding process of my flights. Yes, that probably means I fly too much.
- An iPad Mini actually makes intra-Europe travel tolerable. When you have aircraft that are equipped with virtually no entertainment, it’s nice to have something to keep you entertained.
- I’ve played countless hours of solitaire in cabs, on trains, etc.
So I realize I’m probably stating the obvious here to the tech savvy, but I’ve actually found it to be totally worthwhile and am happy I picked one up. I know a lot of you are probably thinking “Lucky, don’t you ever read?” Well, sad as it might be I mostly just read the internet due to how short my attention span is… wait, what was I just talking about?
In all honesty, I do have aspirations of one day loading a few books onto my iPad and actually reading, though I first have to find a book interesting enough to commit several hours to.
Would be very curious to hear how many of you use iPads during your travels, and what you use ’em for!