Wellbeing expert, Sam Sample, explores how technology helps families stay connected.
As I type this article in a hotel room in Tokyo an email pops up in my inbox reminding me that it is Mother’s Day in two weeks time. How synchronous it is to be pondering the concept of embracing cultural traditions in modern times.
To say that I travel a lot is an understatement. My guesstimate is that 200 nights out of the 365, are spent away from the comfort of my own bed. Over the past few years, I have perfected the fine art of suitcase packing, airport hopping, and making a hotel room feel like ‘home’. Fortunately, my husband and I travel together, so it is a beautiful adventure that we embrace with one another. But in regards to the other loved ones in my life, I am forever grateful for the modern technologies that allow us to keep in touch.
My parents and one of my brothers and his family live in Australia. My other brother and his family live in Bali. My husband’s family lives in England. My friends are scattered in various parts of the world. What’s a girl to do?
When I think back to when my mum traveled it seems oh so different. Embarking on a ship bound for Europe, and sending hand written letters to her mum to keep in touch. What a difference 50 years can make to the way in which we connect?!
Whilst it is tempting to fantasise about days of long ago, wishing we weren’t all consumed with our iPhone, Blackberry, Laptop and Tablets, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for what they provide.
Without them, I never would have seen my little nephew taking his first jump in to the pool, my eyes watering at the excitement of his gorgeous little face when he realized what a giant leap he had made. (My brother had filmed the event on his iPhone and emailed me the 2 minute video clip).
Without them, I never would have been able to keep in weekly contact with my family on Skype, and share my travels and views from the various hotel rooms as I hop around the globe.
Without them, my birthdays would have been somewhat more lonely. To wake up to hundreds of birthday greetings via various channels: email, SMS text, voice mail, and pictures of friends celebrating with a glass of champagne sent to me makes it all the more special. Makes my heart jump with joy just thinking about it.
I can’t even begin to think of how many times I have sung ‘happy birthday’ to loved ones’ voicemails. Or sent pictures and mini video clips to family and friends, so as to gift a little smile to their day. After all, we are all connected in an energetic sense, so to embrace that connection with the possibilities of technology is so much fun.
No matter where my husband and I are in the world, we love to share our experiences with our loved ones. They love it. We love it. It undoubtedly brings more joy in to our lives.
And then it’s the difference you can make to other people’s lives. I will never forget an act of kindness that my father gifted to two British girls backpacking around Australia. It was Christmas and we were out for breakfast by the beach. We got talking to the two girls and they were expressing how much they loved being in Australia but also how they missed their family on occasions like this. As you can imagine, most backpackers budget their expenses quite carefully. My father passed them his phone so that they could each call their families. Beautiful don’t you think. Such a seemingly small act that touches the lives of others, and brings families closer together.
So, with Mother’s Day approaching I sit here in my hotel room 4,860 miles away, thinking up beautiful ways in which I can send a little piece of me to her via SMS, voicemail and a mini video clip via email.