Gear & Coomunications Update
On previous trips we've written a daily log in a notebook and communicated with our kids by phone and/or by finding internet cafes and sending emails. Last year in particular the spread of wifi became really evident by the scarcity of internet cafes in countries as different as Ireland and Iran. It became obvious that we had to update.
Another issue was the number of bulky books that we had to carry with us. We are both avid readers, so we had 2 or 3 novels in our baggage along with a couple of Lonely Planet guides. Those books weigh a few kilos and take up a lot of space.
This year, instead of the books we'll take a Kindle each (the model with wifi and free 3G) so we can download new books as necessary during our journey. On my recently acquired Kindle I have already downloaded the Lonely Planet Guide to Mediterranean Europe at a fraction of the price of the paper version and a copy of a guide to Tokyo as we'll be having a 3 night stoppover there on our way to Europe.
Our main means of communication will be via an Asus Netbook that I bought a couple of days ago. In a protective case it's no bulkier than just one large Lonely Planet guide and the intention is that I'll use the free wifi at hotels and cafes to update this blog (instead of keeping a paper diary) and receive and send emails.
I intially felt a bit guilty about taking my business away from bookshops and abandoning the book exchange facilities at hotels and hostels, but none of the bookshops I've visited had a copy of the Guide to Med Europe and to be honest the books in overseas book exchanges are inevitably crap and/or have pages missing. By using wifi I might be adding another nail to the coffins of internet cafes but what I am doing is a reaction to a situation that already exists - if I can't find them anymore I have no real alternative.