Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Going Mobile

One of my goals on this trip is to explore travel in the age of the technology. It's been 20 years since I traveled extensively and nearly 15 since I lived overseas.

By carrying a few portable gadgets (about 6 pounds total), I'm able to keep friends and family informed of my travels with this blog and through email. I also have an unlocked Palm Treo, which means I'm able to carry a cellular phone and buy connectivity as I go.

Here in Australia cell phones are called mobile phones, and as of yesterday I am officially going mobile. With a relatively small investiment (less than $50 U.S.) I bought a SIM card and minutes and now have an Australian phone number, complete with voicemail and text messaging. It's not cheap to call the U.S., but it's not terribly expensive either (I'm now paying 30 cents a minute).

Having the ability to call hostels, taxis, tour operators, train stations, restuarants, old friends, new friends and family at any time makes travel a lot easier. Having the ability to make a receive calls from anywhere anytime makes the world that much smaller. And best of all, for me at least, all incoming calls are free! If you feel like dropping a few dollars to hear my voice, go for it. Nothing to it but to do it.

My Australia phone number is 04 2080 3351

Australia's country code is 61, and the cellular prefix is 04, so calling from the U.S. you drop the 0 and dial 61 4 2080 3351. Confusing I know. It took me a while to understand the minutia of the Australian phone system. I understand calls will be few and far between, but can you believe this is even possible? All it took was a portable gadget, some cash and a passport.

I will be looking into this option in each country I visit. Stay tuned. Or should I say stay connected?

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