Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Call Your Parents

My final year in college I went to Ireland for spring break. This was prior to the supposed cease fire, but I was planning to go to the Republic of Ireland rather than Northern Ireland, but no matter how many conversations I had with my mother about the difference, she was still convinced I was going to end up blown up.  She suggested she could purchase for me a lot of American flag themed clothing so that I would hopefully be less blow-up-able.  (I countered that would mark me tourist.)  So, the compromise that we finally arrived at was that I would call every other day to report my non-exploded state.  (Conversely, I think I called before and after my trips to places like France, Germany, England, etc.)
I also once drove up to Connecticut for a visit after my mother had decided to embrace cell phones (but before they decided it was terrible to talk on them while driving, although I did have a hands free device) where my mother called me four times for a report on my progress, before I finally suggested I call once I hit the state line (since the trip after that point, while it had another forty exits to go, tends to be more predictable).
A young adult I worked with, did a trip to South Africa and set up a blog, to update family and friends about the trip.  And certainly various forms of social media have meant sending those still alive, still having a good time messages much easier.
Of course, all those things work great, until, say, you end up in some place where there's no service.  Sometimes it's just you who can't get a signal, sometimes it's everyone.  So, I think anyone who has experienced the nervous person (be they parent or otherwise) awaiting an update can sympathize with the challenges of getting to enjoy and experience the trip and keeping everyone apprised of your alive-ness. So, when a student went on a multi-day hike through a park in Malaysia, he apparently forgot to mention that that meant he wouldn't have access until he got through.  So his parents kicked off a huge search on Facebook and Twitter and a day later, park rangers found him.  So, the good news is he is fine.  And he will probably remember to warn people (ie his parents) the next time he goes off grid while traveling.