Prior to the release of the iPhone, traveling meant it was a time to ‘unplug’ from the digital world, and being only able to check email if you had access to a computer at a friend’s house (“can I quickly check my Hotmail?”) or an ‘Internet Cafe’ (remember those?). The iPhone’s launch was more than just a phone–it was a portable computer in your pocket, and with a WiFi connection you could pretty much do anything online.
Fast forward to present day with the proliferation of WiFi around the globe, unlocked iPhones and easily accessible cheap data plans overseas, and our addictions to Twitter and Facebook, if you add those all up you come up with ‘net-lag’ (via the Globe and Mail):
Net-lag is the modern travellers’ phenomenon: The sense that your body has travelled, but your mind is still stuck at home. You can cross an ocean, to a place where the people are different and the language is different and the way you shake hands is different, yet you can check your phone and it’s as if you never left your house – all the mental furniture is right where you left it.
I couldn’t agree more. Anytime we travel, it’s just too darn easy to stay connected and even sometimes forget where you are because all of our online habits stay with us just like as if we were back home. Sights and sounds become the basis of sharing with friends on Facebook and Twitter.
We’ve talked about ‘disconnect anxiety’ before and the way we get the jitters when we’re offline. Usually, that can be caused when we go camping to ‘rough it’, but with campfire iPhone chargers like this one, what’s the point? We might as well be at home. And with another juicy iPhone release around the corner (and ‘iPad Air’ as well), it’s going to be even harder to stay disconnected.
Have you ever felt the effects of ‘net-lag’? Do you know where you are right now?