Things what I writ

I sometimes write nonsense about things to try and sound clever

Have phone, will travel

This is a blog on a plane. It is the story of a number of systems I’m using to make the overall travel experience simpler, more efficient, and less painful. It will include this plane. It will include a few trains. It might also include a taxi or two. And hotels. And maybe some government systems that will allow me to enter the country without all those questions they felt necessary to ask me back in 1984 because I had a bit of a beard and looked like I maybe hadn’t slept much.

It will definitely include online booking systems.

All of today’s journey was researched online. Of course it was. How else do you do it these days? Nearly all of it was booked online, apart from the taxi. The taxi company we use for work does have some kind of online booking system I think, but it works rather better to phone the night before and tell them in person, because I’m not entirely convinced the online system is anything more than a copy of wordstar sending faxes to a pigeon.

And everything has been tracked online. Confirmation of booking, booking reference, whether the train is on time, what platform it will be on, checking into my fight, getting my boarding pass, checking the plane will be on time, what departure gate it will be at, right up to me sitting here in 27k somewhere over a cloud the size of Greenland, having taken a photo of my feet and a highlife magazine and bored 1044 to death with it on twitter.

When I say online, of course, I mean, on my phone. Everything I’ve mentioned here has been done using my phone. That’s to say the train company, the airline, the hotel chain (not the taxi company) make it possible for me to arrange and book and track an entire travel itinerary just using my phone. I mean, I could have used a desktop computer or a laptop, but, you know, that’s not the first thing we do these days. I fill the gaps between whatever I do either side of gaps by fiddling with my phone. It might as well be productive fiddling. Those companies might as well make it easy to use their service over someone else’s, because, increasingly, if I can’t do it on my phone, I won’t do it at all.

There are of course, some drawbacks to a wholly phone-based travel experience. When I want to print out the hotel details to leave at home, I’m a bit stuck. It’s almost an affront to have to turn on the poor neglected desktop just to connect to a printer. But really, that’s about it. For me, this is an entirely paperless trip. So paperless, in fact, that I forgot to take the most important piece of paper of all. My passport.

Ok, so I didn’t really forget it, BUT I NEARLY DID. That’s a good enough anecdote for me to describe the modern travel experience and how it’s changed our expectations of what is possible. The ubiquity of mobile and its effect on some of our largest ecosystems continues to change the way we manage our lives, mostly, I think, for the better.

I should probably point out the some of the apps and mobile sites I had to use to make this happen were fucking awful, but that might take the edge off my nicely upbeat story, so I won’t.

hola you

somebody rang the cheese alarm so here i am waiting with bait on my breath. just got back from the Costa del Sol and i’m overjoyed that i’ve stumbled back into a pressure silo full of spring flowers and songs. sharks and hitler, that’s what Andy says. mind you, it’s sharks, hitler, ghosts and balls these days. know what I mean?

£545 for a family of five on our favorite creaky budget older-than-average cabin crew airline, EasyJet to get us to the south of Spain where we’re met off the plane by 17 handlebar-sporting, Ducados sucking Mercedes drivers holding up white cardboard with other people’s name on. “snr. Armstrong? snr. Armstrong?”, “excuse me”, “snr. Garibaldi? snr Garibaldi?”, “excuse me. mind the cases, kids”, “snr. Dermatitis? snr. Dermatitis?”, “excuse me. mind the cases, kids. I think that’s it, no hang on. excuse me. WHERE’S THE BLOODY INFO DESK IN THIS BLOODY AIRPORT?”

and relax. pick up key for Seat Cordoba SDi (S for sloooow). drive like tourist down wrong side of autovaía. throw cases into house. up to roof terrace and find it’s 75° and sunny at 6pm and laugh like imbecile to self. 2 and a half weeks without phone, email or office.

lucky me. free town house in Nerja, 40 minutes from Malaga. day trips to Frigiliana, Competa, Malaga, days on the beach at Burriana, quick stroll into town to the Balcón de Europa to watch hugely unentertaining street theatre. Apparently, standing still for a very long time dressed as a pirate is very lucrative these days. you only move when some hapless fool drops 1 Euro in your tin and then you move v e e e r r y s l o o o w w w l y like you’re really made out of wood or something. I tried it myself. I sat on the beach with una cerveca and didn’t move for a week. only very slowly, when I had to slap a wooden bat around like an idiot trying a swat a plastic ball my son had launched about 15 metres to my left directly towards the enormous paella fire in Ayo’s bar.

still, it’s good to be back. ha. hahahaha. hahahahahahahahaha. “you could work out here couldn’t you? it doesn’t matter where you work does it? you’re remote working. could be England, could be Spain. what do you think?” er, I guess. actually…