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Big Apple Unpeeled 8th October - 8th November 2010

Monday 16 August 2010

Travelling Solo, but I won't be alone

I will be travelling solo in New York City, however, I don't plan on being alone.

Thanks to all the social media tools we have available I will still have my friends and followers with me on the journey - virtually at least.

Given the speed of communication we now have access to through the internet, there is no reason not to be able to keep in touch. As well as sharing my Big Apple adventure, my friends and followers can comment and quickly interact making it more of a participatory experience.

Contrast this to about 8 years ago when I first got online. I bought my first computer with the aim of using it to plan a 2 month solo trip around the USA. Researching my trip I found that not every venue or hotel had a website. I made many long distant calls to the U.S. I didn't book my multiple flights (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Orland, New York) online, but went into a travel agents. Scanning my old guidebooks now, there is a distinct lack of website addresses attached to the 'must see' and 'don't miss' recommendations.

I think a few people may have been blogging 8 years ago, but the word hadn't registered on my radar. Facebook hadn't been invented. Or Youtube. And certainly not twitter. My main avenues of keeping in touch with a few friends and family then was by postcard/letters, the occasional email when I could find an internet cafe and the odd long distance phone call. As for photographs, I had my old film camera and waited patiently until I got home to develop my pictures.

That two month trip was amazing and I loved every minute of it. But there was something missing. I'd see these incredible sights, have experiences I wanted to share, have the odd moment of doubt, take part in an amazing event, but there was no one there I could immediately turn to and say, "Hey! Did you see that?!" There was a delay between the experience and being able to share it.

NOW? Wow!

We have every means available to keep connected and share sights and sounds. Broadband, Wifi, laptops, net books, mobile phones that can have us online in seconds. We are embracing, sharing, consuming media like never before and with free live video streaming we can broadcast our news within seconds.

My two month trip was a good practice run, but this time around things are going to be so much different, and I'll have my friends, family and followers viturally by my side.

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  1. I completely agree about the changes. My first trip to NYC was in 2001. I did actually book flights online (including some internal ones in the US) and I found our accommodation in NYC online. I read lots on the Lonely Planet forums- Thorntree- still a good source of information, and when we got there someone I had got to know online gave me great directions for a walk through Manhattan from Wall St. up to Central Park. We didn't make it the whole way in one day. Travelling was already starting to be influenced by the internet.

    But on my last trip a few weeks ago it was even more online. On a train from Ottawa to Montreal, I used the free wifi to get music listings for that night. I was able to give direction to a girl in Montreal who couldn't find the location of her meeting by using GPS! In NYC I was able to use the Time Out NY ap to discover that I was only a few streets away from a Frank Black gig! I was able to upload the video I had taken with my iPhone to YouTube when I got back to the hotel:) And link to it on YouTube and Twitter!

    Yes, everything is changing!

  2. Hi Anne Marie! :)

    Yes, it's going to be completely difference experience this time around, that's for sure. I can't wait to share as much of NYC as I can with people. But with all this wonderful techonology at hand, I might have to watch that I don't spend all my time online and not out in NYC! ;)


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