Go via rail
Toronto, ON, March 2009
About this photo: Thematic Photographic is exploring "far from home" this week. Please click here to share your own far from home experience.One of the reasons why I chose this week's theme is that I've spent much of my adult life trying to figure out how to use technology to make far seem a little less so. For example, we live about a two-hour drive outside Toronto, and I periodically end up in Canada's largest city to visit clients and do the reconnecting things a writer/media/geek/wonk needs to do. You can only be virtual and remote for so long, after all.
Sometimes I take the car, but on this trip I decided to take the train. And since Via Rail was kind enough to get me there a couple of hours early, I dawdled a little after I got off the train. In a pattern that's now become pretty standard whenever I go to Toronto for the day for work, I took pictures and sent a few home to my wife and kids via my BlackBerry. Later, I used IM to chat with Debbie as I walked from one meeting to another. (Sorry to the really tall dude in a suit who almost wore my nose print on his shoulder. I'll watch where I'm going next time.)
None of this was particularly earth-shattering. The pictures could have waited till I got home that evening and my wife could have lived without a blow-by-blow account of the directionally challenged taxi driver who blocked a good chunk of the intersection with an ill-advised and badly executed three-point turn.
But the neat thing was that I had the ability to bridge the distance, to make the experience a little more real for her and our kids. I doubt they looked up from their homework or video games to notice the freaky pic I sent of the CN Tower. But that wasn't the point. I was far away, but somehow I wasn't.
After growing up in an era where long distance phone calls were an expensive and rare luxury, and travel typically meant little to no contact for extended periods of time, being able to easily reach across distance and connect in this way is something of a revelation to me. It'll never get old.
Your turn: How do you stay connected when you're away?