My parents are driving home to West Virginia today. They had been in Arkansas to visit family and attend the funeral of my Great Uncle, Dwane Treat. Our family has made that journey to Arkansas many times over the last 40 years. It would take anywhere from 16-21 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. It is now an overnight journey of about 16 hours driving time for Moms and Daddy to go visit the Arkansas family.
As I was talking to Moms on the phone last night, I realized how different the process of travel is today. No wondering where people are on the road. No guessing on arrival times. Just pick up the phone and call. Need to book a hotel room for the night? Don’t drive around looking for vacancies, pull out your Smartphone or your tablet and book a room from the passenger seat of your car. Want to check road conditions? Weather forecasts? Local events of towns you are driving by? You don’t need to stop at the gas station and ask the guy there, or fiddle with the stations on the AM dial, check your iPad. And there is almost no chance of getting lost when everyone from Garmin to Mapquest is available to you from the front seat.
A lot of younger people will not remember a time when they didn’t have all this convenience. There didn’t use to be instant access to information and communication. And while the anticipation and wonder of waiting to connect was sometimes wonderful, I am rather glad that I don’t have to worry when people are traveling. By the way Moms and Daddy had a good day of travel and were almost home.
As the one member of my immediate family who moved out of state (and more than halfway across the country) the fact that I can hear and/or see almost any member of my family, anytime I want, is such a blessing! From facebook to Kinect, Skype to FaceTime, friends and family are only seconds away. If you have not taken a second recently to be grateful for that kind of technology, do that now. We are lucky to have it.