Keeping in touch

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm lucky and I know it.  Travelling in 2012 is way easier than it was 50 years ago - heck easier than 10 years ago!  Fifteen years ago, I would have called home every Sunday (when long distance rates were cheaper) for a few minutes and maybe some cards and letter exchanged in between.  Ten years ago we *might* have emailed but it would be days between responses.  

Staying in touch from Manila isn't much harder for me than when I'm home; I work 8am-5pm central time (9pm-6am here) and have access to free video and phone calls, not to mention constant access to email.

Phone calls haven't gotten much cheaper, but using a VOIP phone service, I can make free calls to any US number.  I use Google Chat, a free feature within gmail to place calls and video chat.  In fact, I just got done video chatting with my parents 8,000 miles away.  Besides some minor video lag, I could hear and see them - for free.  To improve the sound quality, I purchased a headset and microphone for about $4 on my last trip here - a great investment.

Our office also has free long distance, so I try to call my mom each day during my lunch break to check in.  I've found a few short check-ins each week makes us both happier than extended periods between phone calls.

Text messaging isn't cheap here, but I can use Google Chat as well - however carrying around my laptop isn't exactly practical.  My sister and I email quite a bit; between her desk job and cell phone, it is about as quick as text messaging, but at a fraction of the cost.  Add in other emails and Facebook messages, its like I'm just around the corner.

I recently met someone who had over $2,000 USD in cell phone charges on an international trip - my methods of communication is MUCH cheaper, without having to sacrifice.  In addition to the means of communication, I'm lucky to have so many loved ones to keep in touch with!  

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