In most of the places that Brad and I have been so far wi-fi is more easily accessible than a hot shower or a toilet that you don’t have to flush ‘manually’ by pouring buckets of water into it. For example, the toilet in our hostel at the moment will presumably cause the apocalypse if you put toilet paper in it, but we can still Skype our folks in Australia. Basically, over here they’ve got their priorities straight – I will take a room with a shared squat toilet over one without Internet because Internet is the greatest thing to happen to travel. Ever. Why, you ask, am I so adamant? Here’s a list (most of the list has to do with Brad and I being a bit shit).
1. The internet makes it possible for people like Brad and I to travel
We are both almost completely incapable of planning anything any more than about 7 minutes in advance. I have a pretty crippling fear of making decisions (you should see how long it takes me to order lunch) and Brad is just lazy, so if we think we can get away with it we generally we don’t make a decision about accommodation until we’re actually in a town. This means we spend about 3 seconds walking around before the weight of our 12kg backpacks replaces my aversion to decisions with my far greater fear of getting even shorter, and the laziest decision for Brad is to get in a room and get that backpack off quick sticks. Having just got off a bus, with largely no idea where we are and getting shorter by the second, our best friend in the world is google maps. On a related note, the iPhone is the second best thing to happen to travel.
2. Basically the same header as one
There are occasionally some places that even Brad and I feel obliged to book a room in advance (‘in advance’ meaning the morning that we get on a bus to go there). For example, we thought that perhaps arriving in the ridiculous metropolis that is Singapore without any idea of where to go might have been slightly overwhelming, which turned out to be a very good idea because we felt like country bumpkins enough without having to haul our bags all over the place in search of a room. The Internet, specifically sites like booking.com and hostelworld.com, is the best way to book a room.
3. The worst thing to happen to the best thing to happen to travel
The Internet, specifically sites like booking.com and hostelworld.com, is the worst way to book a room. I hate booking sites with user reviews, but also, I have to read every review. I have slept in rooms without windows and because I am a vampire I love it. When we were booking our room for Singapore all of the reviews were freaking out about how small the room was and the lack of windows, to the point where I started freaking out too. There was also a cockroach sighting there in 2009. We fart-assed around for ages trying to decide on a place then booked the same windowless cupboard we had been looking at 2 hours earlier. The second day we were there I woke up at about 4am to pee, stumbled the half centimeter to the toilet, looked at my phone and realized it was actually 9am, chose to pretend it was 4am anyway and went back to sleep. You could never do that in a room with windows, unless maybe it was winter and the room was in Greenland.
4. Your travel guide is a bit shit
I love books. I’m currently doing a mental inventory of my bag and there’s not much in there that I wouldn’t trade for a book. I am still carrying around a Salman Rushdie novel I finished three weeks ago because emotionally I can’t bring myself to leave it behind in a hostel and I haven’t yet had an opportunity to pass it on to a fellow traveller with the poignancy and reverence that such a moment deserves. I also love travel guides, but I love travel guides in the same way I love cats. I’d happily have a house full of them, but I wouldn’t expect them to do anything useful and I have a sneaking suspicion they might be shit. Really, we’d all be better off if they didn’t exist (guidebooks that is, don’t worry, the cat analogy is over). If you’re on a budget, you probably niftied your guidebook from a relative’s bookshelf, and said guidebook was relevant for that person’s gap year in 1897. Or 2011. Either way it’s out of date. Two seconds on google and you’ll find 18 bloggers that went there yesterday.
5. There’s many, many more things to list
But I have Internet access and I bet you that someone, somewhere, just uploaded a cat video I haven’t seen yet.