This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of LastPass. All opinions are 100% mine.
I don’t know if you’re guilty of this too, but I seriously romanticize travel in past eras. Oh what I would give to have been able to travel in the 1960s, back when the backpacker trail went through places like Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir. Whenever I speak with people who traveled overland back then they just make it sound so cool.
I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, first I go on about my constant daydreams about the next place I’ll live, and now I’m wishing I could travel five decades ago? I need to learn to better appreciate living in the present.
I’m trying, I promise. In fact, I’m trying so hard that I came up with a whole list of reasons why, however dreamy the past might seem, it’s actually pretty awesome to get to travel in 2016.
Um, I can’t even imagine how different my travels would have been without Couchsurfing. I mean yeah, I’m sure in the pre-Couchsurfing days I could have found locals to stay with on my travels, but for an awkward girl it’s so much easier to have a platform to do that connecting through. Plus I love hosting Couchsurfers while not traveling!
Since I’m apparently already totally old, I can say things like “back when I was a backpacker we didn’t have smartphones.” Though I guess the truth is that I didn’t have a smartphone, while most everyone else did. But I did get one just in time for my last big five month overland trip, and boy was it a game changer.
A flashlight and GPS? It’s like some sort of sorcery in your pocket. Plus the whole having a computer without having to lug around a real computer thing. And it comes with a camera? And a video camera? And as many foreign dictionaries as you need??
Facebook is of course the easiest way to keep up to date with what’s going on in the lives of my friends and family while I’m away from them. But it’s also become the most effective way for me to keep up with American culture in general. Is that a weird thing to admit?
Coming from a conservative Kentucky family but having grown up and studied in liberal Massachusetts, I’d say my Facebook feed is equal parts red and blue. Sometimes (like when there’s a presidential election coming up) that can be distressing, but mostly it’s something I hugely appreciate.
Because while traveling the world can seem like the perfect way to gain a better understanding of its complexity and diversity, in practice it can often feel like living in a bit of a bubble. When staying at hotels and hostels I’m surrounded by other travelers (obviously) and the locals I meet tend to be the ones who are interested in hanging out with foreigners, hosting Couchsurfers, or picking up hitchhikers and BlaBlaCar passengers.
And so when I’m feeling a bit out of touch I can read statuses in my Facebook feed that show me oh, that’s how people defend Trump, or that’s why they support Clinton, and that’s why people are obsessed with the The Walking Dead.
Okay yes, sometimes the world according to Instagram can seem just a little bit staged, suspiciously brighter, and maybe a touch over saturated. But oh my goodness, does it also look gorgeous!
I’ve discovered so many beautiful places through Instagram, and browsing through hashtags like #pamirhighway quite literally makes my heart race. And while sometimes it does seem like Instagram can make life look a little too perfect, the flipside is that it shows us the beauty in everyday things and places we might not otherwise have noticed.
That’s right, world, you’re welcome.
No, no, huge personal bias aside, I really do love be able to use travel blogs as a resource for my travels. My parents have an entire bookcase dedicated to all their “Let’s Go!” travel guides, and while I’m sure they’re written by travel experts, they’re also, well, written by travel experts.
While I’ll browse through blogs written by serious adventurers, mostly I enjoy reading about people I can relate to (so like, not badasses) and I’ve made a few trips that I probably wouldn’t have dared to go on had I not read about people like me doing the same thing.
A Bulgarian girl’s blog gave me the confidence to book a ticket to travel to Iran alone and two of my favorite blogs had me planning an onward journey into Armenia, which ended up being one of my favorite places like, ever.
Gone are the days when you had to save a ton of money to travel or clean hostels and hand out flyers when you went broke on the road. Several of my friends are digital nomads, while others have found ways to work remotely without quitting their jobs. Meanwhile I’m making money with a job that didn’t even exist a couple of decades ago.
Doesn’t it feel just a little bit futuristic being able to video call friends and family back home? My best friend from home and I Skype almost every week, which is probably how often we would see each other if we were in the same place anyway. Thanks, technology.
I hadn’t actually intended for this list to be so technology based, but I guess that’s the new millennium for you! Though while this blog post has become a bit of a love letter to all things digital, sometimes having so many useful sites and apps at my fingertips can also feel totally overwhelming, especially when I’m traveling and a disorganized mess.
But of course the Internet people have even come up with a solution for that, in the form of LastPass.
I first learned about LastPass from a techy Couchsurfing host who watched me lock myself out of my Skype account after failing to remember which version of my password I used for it. As I explained to her, I cleverly kept my passwords varied but memorable by using the same exact word and only changing the number of periods at the end.
Uh, apparently that’s not actually such a good idea?
But with LastPass you only need to remember one password, and it will generate different secure passwords for all your accounts (so like, not your name + your birth date). It’s incredibly easy to set up and accessible wherever you are, which means that you can stop worrying about remembering and updating the insane number of passwords that you need these days. All you have to do is remember your master password and LastPass will do the rest for you, organizing your digital life like magic.
And yes, this post is sponsored by LastPass, but I would never endorse a brand I didn’t genuinely love.