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Planning Retirement Online

Only connect: holding hands across the ocean in a digital world

Admittedly Jack Kerouac had his fellow roamer Neal Cassady as companion on his voyage of psychedelic enlightenment and adventure back in the 1950s but when you’re on the road yourself, life can be, well, a little lonely sometimes. So when you’re travelling for any length of time, what are the new smart choices for staying in touch with your dearest but not currently so nearest?

Blog them

It may seem counter-intuitive to lay your travel exploits bare for the digital world to pour over in all their dusty and sometimes stressful and messy detail. On the other hand, you may well, as we did, come to see your travel blog as an aide memoire and a digital breadcrumb trail back to your folks back home and around the world. It can become both your digital scrapbook and many postcards home. Your edited highlights and lowlights can form a stronger bond with those who are waiting and reading than those few lines of scribbled text that are often hastily sent back. As you pick up friends along your route, your blog can be the perfect way of keeping those new acquaintances. Indeed fellow bloggers can form part of that new community of friends. But if that all seems too radically out in the open, don’t forget that you can always set your privacy settings to only those you allow to read your blog.

Facebook them

in its eleven years of existence, Facebook has become the natural home to millions of snaps of sunset cocktails on the beach, summit shots and lazy people in lazy hammocks. Although research shows that wonderful holiday pics are the most annoying online content, it doesn’t stop people sharing and liking, perhaps the latter through gritted teeth. Rather than posting endless llama and Colombian coffee plantation pictures on Facebook, we used it to let people know when we had a new blog entry. That way we felt we were telling them a more complete story about our journey.

Tweet them

While we were in the mountains of Peru or on a miserably rainy beach in Ecuador, it was kind of crazy to read on Twitter about what was happening in our local market back home or in the park opposite our house in south London. But it also made us feel just a bit more connected to our friends who we loved and missed. In return, we set up a dedicated Twitter account to give them quick snapshots of our progress.

Send them films

Most people have the ability to take snippets of film on their camera or phone and why wait until you get home to show them? Social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram allow you to easily upload and share mini-films which can often be the most engaging way of instantly pulling friends and family into your world on the other side of their world.

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