For the last week, those who have been following me know that I have been on holiday in Hawaii. We came over here to attend a friend’s wedding but also use it as an opportunity to rest and relax. With only seven more working days of left in my contract before I embark a freelancing consultant lifestyle (namely, surviving on the bare minimum), it was a fitting end to mark my foray into the next phase of my “career”.
Needless to say it will be the last time for a few years before we get to travel again…
One of the things I like about travelling to the US is that you’re connected. With free wifi everywhere, it doesn’t matter where you happen to be, I still feel as if I’m not missing out on the news back home.
Isn’t that the beauty of the future of work? I could have been back in Melbourne sniffling over a cup of hot tea and looking outside my window to a dreary cold, miserable winter’s day. Instead, I’m here looking out at the Waikiki skyline with glimpses of blue ocean and palm trees pondering what cocktail to try next.
However, the only “work” I’m doing is sitting by the side of the pool reflecting on my last seven days of work and creating a mental list of workshops that need to be created, relationships that need to be formed, events for Third Place that need to be organised when I get back home.
So with that instead of Work Out Loud, I’m going to do a “Holiday Out Loud” (HOL) or for Americans, “Vacation Out Loud” (VOL) which will give you some idea of what tools and technology I use when travelling.
(1) The Tablet
I have a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tablet and I love it.
This time around I carried the individual keyboard but I hardly took out the tablet nor its keyboard out of the room safe because the room came with a Toshiba laptop with the latest software and ultra lightening speed internet! I found that when travelling, my iPhone is my companion. It’s the one gadget I use all the time – for photos, emails, connecting, sharing,blogging, everything.
I should have kept the tablet at home.
The Kindle has been valuable. I downloaded some books I wanted to read while on holiday but I’m the type of person who cannot start a new book until the current book has been finished. I’m nearly finished Frederic Laloux Reinventing Organisations but what was an easy read in Melbourne, it’s getting to be a struggle here in Waikiki. I think my mind has relaxed to the point where I need to read fiction on holidays – not non-fiction.
(3) Electrical Power Board and an Adapter
Strangely, these two have become CRITICAL in my recent years of travelling as the number of gadgets I travel with have increased.
(4) Digital Camera
I have a small Canon Ixus camera that takes photos and videos but seriously, I’m thinking why I even bother with a small camera anymore when the iPhone is easier. The Canon allows you to share photos via wifi to social media and the cloud but it’s fiddly so I don’t even bother. On longer trips we take our Canon SLR which is a heavy piece of kit for the serious photographer but really, I’m not much of a photographer. I like taking photos – I hate editing them. The mere idea of having to trawl through thousands of images after the trip puts me into convulsions…
(5) My Knitting
Yes. I carried my knitting – I must have been the only person here knitting socks in my down time.
So what Apps did I use for our holiday?
We use AirBnB a lot for our national and international travels. This time was no different. In fact, it’s the first website we check for accommodation as it’s usually cheaper than hotels. We usually stay at the Luana Waikiki but the usual hotel rates can be quite high so a quick check on the AirBnB site reveals people who have motel rooms in the same hotel for a fraction of the cost. Within minutes, we found a room with adequate space, kitchen, laptop and beach and snorkelling gear included and booked it for two weeks.
(2) Myriad of Waikiki Apps
A quick look on iTunes revealed a myriad of apps that you can download to find places to stay, eat, sleep and play. However, I’m still a fan of the good old Lonely Planet Guide Books. I know it’s heavy and you can download the guides but there’s something about carrying a guidebook and marking it with coloured post it notes, flicking through it and rest stops and marking the places on the maps that you want to go to. The Lonely Planet Hawaii Book has been extremely useful. Every country I visit, I have the corresponding Lonely Planet Guide. I go a step further by emailing the Lonely Planet Guide any updated information so that they can update the books. This time around the shops at the Aloha Tower were all being refurbished and the site looks like a building site so they would need to know this for next time. That wasn’t in the book…
This is a great app for panoramic views and I have used it for over 3 years now with all our travels. I particularly like this app as it’s easy to use, quick to access and most importantly you tag and share the photos to Facebook, Twitter, email or save them to your camera roll. It’s my ‘go to’ app for panoramic views. Many times, I like to use the original photo as opposed to adding any filters, stickers, frames and other annoying addons so Dermander just keeps it simple. Just the way I like it.
I pick and choose the photos to upload to my Flickr account but I usually leave the tagging and the uploading into relevant photos when I get back home in front of my computer. I find using tablets or the iPhone quite fiddly to do the listing, tagging and the archiving. However, the ones I want stored on Flickr are usually the photos I’m happy to share with the few followers. Really, I use Flickr to be able to share and store photos. If I need to add filters, I’ll do it via Flickr – but it’s rare. If you see my photos with filters and frames, it basically means I’m bored and I’m playing around with an app to kill time. Like I said, I prefer to manipulate my photos but still keep the original look about them.
Instagram? Well, I know many people love Instagram and have created communities around their photos. I haven’t. If I post to Instagram again it usually means that I’m just mucking about with it.
I have been thinking of how to use these graphic apps for my work and create a community around them but learning and development is not about people sharing the love around graphical and creative elements – so I leave the photography apps alone (which may explain why Pinterest is more focussed around my personal pursuits of knitting, crochet, ships, sketches, art, recipes and places that have fabulous bookshelves and swimming pools).
(5) Front Back
This great iTunes app splits the screen in two and takes a photo of what’s in front of you on the top half of the screen and what’s behind you in the bottom half of the screen. It’s a nifty one that I have used at conferences to take photos of the speakers on stage and the audience. It gives a dimension of the room and what’s happening especially if you have photos of the people in it too. I have used this app to take photos of my husband and I on top of the Aloha Tower overlooking the bay and our happy smiling faces which is a great memory because we are in that same photo. It’s a representation of the emotional element of the subjects at that place. If you look at the gallery of what people have created with this app, you can see that they can get quite creative. I’d like to explore more with this tool especially in learning contexts capturing peoples looks, emotions or expressions of activities.
(6) Frame Ur Life
Sometimes there are photos that need to be grouped together. With Frame Ur Life, you can choose the layout of the photos, frame them and add all sorts of colours, filters and text. I like to group similar photos together to tell a story with the subject’s expression and this app from iTunes has a huge array of different options to choose from.
I’m a fan of Vine but admittedly I haven’t explored it to its full use. I love the six second videos it creates – just enough to get the scene and then have it play over as a gif. I have used Vine countless times on holidays but my next foray is to use it more creatively in learning as a performance support tool. I have noticed that it’s glitchy on Android on my Samsung Galaxy tablet and you need to have access to wifi for it to load quickly and saved to your camera roll. I have lost some Vine footage because of this.
I have been blogging since 2005 and I started my blog Ramblings on Blogger. I use this blog site now mainly for personal entries related to things other than my work (which I use this WordPress site). Blogger is now mainly used to recount travel or knitting stories and it’s one way to keep in contact with my friends and families while I’m overseas if they don’t have a Facebook account.
I use Facebook to upload a video (usually through my YouTube account) or photos (which are of more personal nature) for my family and friends. Despite having a love-hate relationship with Facebook, it’s still the best way to communicate with family as everyone I know has a Facebook account.
(10) Twitter and #ahawaii14 and Storify
I use Twitter while on holidays for our own personal observations. Every holiday that my husband and I go to, we decide on a hashtag and tweet out our photos, stories, observations and tips. This time, we decided on “#ahawaii14” . (Last year, our trip to Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England – it was “ahuk13”) In a way it’s a nonsensical hashtag but that’s because we want it to be ours and not mingled with every Tom, Dick and Harry’s tweet on Hawaii. This way, I can Storify the tweets at some later stage and write the story around them.
So there you go. Not exactly Work Out Loud – but it gave you an idea of what tools and apps I use when I travel. I’d be interested in any suggestions for travel apps that you may have. Feel free to comment!