Mmm...Technology...

I accidentally got the iPhone 4 last week. I wasn't expecting to. I thought I'd wait until the iPhone 5 was released, but the rumors said it wouldn't happen for a while longer. As I wandered around Target last weekend looking for the iPad 2, the Mobile Phone Guy found me. And he spun a yarn about money for the 3GS and discounts and such. I walked away with a shiny new phone for half price and a "free" cover that the guy paid for himself (long story involving the Target Credit Card and a faulty 5% discount). The combo of Target and Apple products is not a good one for me. It'll only empty my bank account.

I've always been a bit of a Technology Girl. We had computers in out house when I was little (not the norm). I've owned four or five computers. I've had multiple iPods. I've had my Kindle for two years. I get jealous when other people have better/newer electronics than I have (probably shouldn't admit that, but there we go).

One of the things that I love about technology is that it has changed everything about travel. From the research in the beginning ("When is the best time to go??") to figuring out flights to hoteling (God Bless TripAdvisor), the internet is a lifesaver.

But for all of the internetting before we leave on vacation, the place where technology shines is when you're actually ON the trip.

I think the first time I really noticed the technology factor on a trip was when we took the road trip to the Southeast. We had Nigel the GPS. We had two Smart Phones. We had two laptops. We were constantly plugged in. If we wanted to eat, we went on Yelp to see what was good and how to get there. All we had to do was ask the question. At the Holiday Inn in Atlanta, we wanted Pho before we went on the CNN Tour. So we asked the phone. Six blocks away, the phone found us a pho place with a line out the door (ALWAYS a good sign!!). Score one for the internet!!

The biggest technological event I'm (not so) patiently waiting for is coming on Monday. The iPad. Oh, the iPad. I knew when the first version came out that I wanted one. But I couldn't justify the cost. I would gaze longingly at the people on the train who had the iPad, knowing it should be mine. But also knowing I couldn't have one. I figured it would happen one day.

As we began the planning for the trip to South America, I started thinking more and more about the iPad. The best part about the last few trips I've taken was not just having the phone, but having the computer as well. I lugged around my work laptop on the Southeast Road Trip because there was a chance I was going to have some work to do on one of the days. While I didn't have any work to do, I liked having the computer for the research for the next day's adventure. And for checking e-mails (including work ones...I'm not totally ashamed to admit it). And for feeling like I wasn't completely isolated from my normal life. On the Tennessee Road Trip, I brought my personal laptop so I could do the same thing...planning and keeping up with everything. But this time, I wanted to write about what we ended up doing. It was a test run for South America and the blogging I wanted to do.

The problem is that the laptop is still fantastically bulky and heavy. I'm already pushing the limits of my personal weight limit (well, not my weight limit, but how much I can lug around the country/world). A computer is not really an option. So I started thinking more and more about the iPad.

It wasn't just because of traveling. I wanted to play with the apps. I wanted to stream Netflix on a bigger screen. I wanted to read Martha Stewart Living on the iPad. I wanted to use the iPad on the train. But I wanted to use the iPad on vacation. Except for Disney hotels (Grrr...), just about every hotel now has free WiFi as a part of their daily rate. How great would it be to be able to bring a tiny computer with you everywhere??

A few months ago, I started planting the seed. "An iPad would make a great birthday present." I'm sure I annoyed the folks. Then the iPad 2 was announced and I continued my assault. "Money for an iPad would make a great birthday present" (as I didn't in any way expect a full payment of an iPad). About four weeks ago, I got the go-ahead to place an order. I was getting an iPad.

I've been obsessively checking the Apple site for news on when the iPad was going to be shipped. Once it shipped, I've been even more obsessively checking the UPS site to see where it is in the world. It was in China, then Hong Kong, then Anchorage and Louisville. Now it's in Chicago. Tomorrow, Aurora. I'll have it in my hands on tomorrow night. As much as I need a weekend to relax, I can't wait until tomorrow.

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