A parrot in your pocket who twitters in your ear

pirates-of-the-caribbean-grouopSome of the original vagabonders were captains at sea who dared to sail between the shipping lanes, tacking between storms and Men-o-War. Rebelling against dependency and striking out on your own was a pirate’s reason for living. Perhaps their methods were suspect, but we can admire their decision to forsake the familiar shackles of society in favor of the freedom of the sea and exploring the world. Today’s adventure-seeker is much the same.

To cross oceans then meant spending months at sea. An around-the-world trip would take three years because it had to. Today I can be in Australia in under 20 hours.  Even though the era of commercial jets opened up access to the world, if an intrepid traveler wanted to stay in touch with anyone, a conversation might still take days or weeks due to different postal systems and limited telephone service.  Today they can not only be in real-time contact with their loved ones, but with millions of people.  Cellular and broadband networks have made it possible to remain connected in the unlikeliest of places.  The Sahara for example.

Beyond the emails home or the blogs updated, what contributes more to the growing counterculture of vagabonding is that this intersection of technology allows for travelers to find each other.


Swapping stories, providing tips, and offering encouragement, Twitter is where the new generation of explorers are going to share their wanderlust.  “ONE WEEK LEFT OF WORK. Nope. Not excited.” noted one soon-to-be traveler earlier today.  Yesterday, another person announced;”quit job. booked for Venezuela, lookin at Ecuador/Peru/Chile then meet friend in Thailand.”  One of the biggest features of twitter is to be able to follow global conversations known as hash tags.  They can be anything from #Haiti to #SOTU (State of the Union) to #LOST (the show) to #iPad (the hype), providing just enough context for holding a topic together in 140 characters or less.

One conversation that I’ve been following lately has been #RTWsoon, “started” several weeks ago.  A few dozen modern nomads-to-be have been actively talking about itineraries, vaccines, low-fee ATM cards, and backpacking music mixes, all the while supporting each other as they resign from their jobs in anticipation of traveling various parts of the world.

Cecil says that pirates with parrots on their shoulder is likely a myth, but today’s vagabonder can have a bird in their pocket.

Posted by | Comments (10)  | January 28, 2010
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

10 Responses to “A parrot in your pocket who twitters in your ear”

  1. Travel-Writers-Exchange.com Says:

    This is an interesting post. It’s true, you can be in Australia or India in a short amount of time. You can post “tweets” or update your Facebook page. Traveling back-in-the-day meant no distractions, except for the choppy waters and restless natives aboard the ship. They could really appreciate the experience and keep it to themselves. Today, everyone knows what you’re doing in a second. Maybe we can learn something from those who traveled before us. Enjoy the ride because it will be over soon.

  2. Nomadic Chick Says:

    Ted, thanks so much for highlighting #RTWsoon hashtag. I meant to do a post about this, but you’ve written it better! We are at an unusual juncture as technology, traveling and community blur into instantaneous bytes. In many ways, I’m glad I waited this long, experiencing this is exciting!

  3. Sean Says:

    Brilliant article, about to go RTW but struggling to find *real* tweeters and not just corporate travel companies. Thanks for the hashtag #RTWsoon (@thom_sean).


  4. Helen Says:

    Are you on Twitter?? What’s your handle if so?

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