Monday, February 22, 2010

A Week in Paradise... WITHOUT the Internet

Over February Break my family took a trip that we have been planning for an entire year. We rented a beautiful three bedroom, three bathroom home in the mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado. There was even a hot tub on the deck for us to enjoy while the snowflakes danced around us in the steam coming off the bubbling water. We could take a short shuttle ride to the chairlift each day, and ski right to our door each afternoon when our legs were finally too tired to carry us down the mountain any more. We had everything we needed... full kitchen, washer and dryer, even a crib for my little daughter.

And yet... there was no wireless Internet connection. I can't tell you how many times my father said they words, "We could look it up if we had wireless!" He actually called the property management company and complained contending that wireless Internet access should be considered a basic amenity in resort accomodations. Finally, on the last night my brother worked a little magic and we "borrowed" some bandwidth from a nearby unsecured wireless network so we could check into our airline.

I have to admit I had a few anxieties about my lack of Internet access. Here are a few:

  1. I was unable to blog for the past two weeks. (The week before February break was a flurry of correcting, professional observations by my supervisors, visiting administrators from abroad, and more. I had planned to write my blog after arriving at our destination, until I found out that I had no Internet access and would be unable to do so.)
  2. I was unable to register my daughter for the mountain's daycare online. I actually had to flip open a telephone book, dial hte number, and speak to a real person on the phone to make the arrangements!
  3. We decided to spend one day skiing in Vail, Colorado. It was a 45 minute drive. Normally, we would look up the address online so that we could plug it into our GPS. Instead, we had to (again) open the phone book and find the address in print.
  4. I knew I would arrive home to copious emails for work. And I have to admit that it was a little overwhelming when I returned.

Despite the lack of a wireless connection, we managed to use technology to our advantage. We have a tradition of taking lots of pictures and video clips of each other while skiing, and then compiling them online to share with the rest of our family. This meant choosing some of the best shots and posting them in an album on Facebook for our distant relatives to view. We posted some of our video clips on YouTube so friends and family who subscribe to our accounts can see them. I also like to put together photobooks (using online tools like Kodak Gallery or Snapfish) and give them as gifts.

Here is a sample of one of our videos. This is my sister and I skiing the last part of a bowl at Vail called Lovers' Leap. My brother is the videographer. It is so named because you literally have to leap off a VERY steep edge to enter the bowl. I'm the one in the black.