Travel Broadens The Mind…It’s A Virtual Life

It’s been a little while since Gidday from the UK has dipped into the pages of BA’s business:life magazine. But a quick trip to Pilsen this week meant that I had some time to waste invest in finding a few fascinating facts to share with you.

Interestingly, this post follows the same examination of a particular topic by some of my blogging brethren. The Day Social Media Took Over My Life, Bilingual Baby M and The Facebook by expat bloggers Russell in Sydney, Linda in The Hague and Kirsty in Dubai respectively have all explored the pros and cons, the whys and wherefores, of social media. 

Like it or not, our world is becoming more and more digital and we continue to embrace it in all its doubtful glory as evidenced by the hype around Facebook’s floatation this month. According to business:life, we watch sport online (36% of 18-35 year-old Europeans watch more sport online than on TV) and book holidays online (that’d be 2/3 of Britons). And 4.9 million people used WiFi hotspots in hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and airports in the UK last year. So even outside the dual digital domains of work and home we continue to ‘plug in’.  

In fact 10% of people would rather give up their car than be disconnected from the internet…she says, tap-tap-tapping away here having given up her vehicle some two and a half years ago.

But I digress.

Did you know that 54% of British children say they’d rather go to Google with a query than ask their parents or teachers? What a sad indictment. Although this is probably just as well. Apparently 50% of British adults think that Mount Everest is in the UK. This does not bode well for today’s British babies, 1/3 of whom will live until the age of 100.

business:life statistics reveal that 20% of us check our bank accounts at least once a day – could you imagine popping into the bank and standing in line every day? No thank you. All hail the internet I say!

And let’s face it – the job market will never be the same again with 150 million people and more than 2 million companies worldwide using LinkedIn. But be warned. 1 in 5 bosses turned down a candidate because of their profile on social networking sites.

So it would appear that it still pays to be circumspect. To keep some things private

Especially as 28% of British workers deem nose picking to be the most anti-social workplace activity.

Do you think that’s why 90% of people would still hang onto their car?

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Travel Broadens The Mind – Back Catalogue
…The Euro Zone
…All About The Readies
…Flights Of Fancy
…Or So They Say

The Good Book…

Lately, the e-book has come in for a bit of schtick.

At the end of February, Stylist columnist Lucy Mangan said said ‘E-readers are representative of our mindless embrace of all that purports to be ‘progress”. Then a month later fellow blogger Russell Ward described the Kindle as ‘cold and calculating in its determination to deliver the electronic word seamlessly to you’.

Ouch!

Admittedly I was a slow convert, clinging on to both the physical and the ritual around my serious book habit. And I still love a good book shop browse. In fact last week I had an hour to kill before meeting A-used-to-be-down-the-hill and I spent it wandering through Foyles at St Pancras Station, perusing the latest dust jackets, dipping into travel guides (I’m off to Rome for a little city break soon) and flicking through the pages of Titanic-themed tomes in the special event section. Lovely stuff.

But the thought of finding more space in my already full bookshelf, packed with old theatre programs, illustrated coffee table books – for which I have no coffee table – and those volumes dubbed with ‘re-read me status’ or acquired in youthful nostalgia (my hard back Jane Austen set and the 7-book Chronicles of Narnia being a couple of these) before my Kindle conversion, holds little allure.

On the other hand my Kindle – christened Audrey for her stylish simplicity – goes everywhere with me. There is nothing cool or calculating about immersing myself in a few quick chapters while on the bus, waiting for a friend, in the boarding lounge and even before lights out at night. Audrey is always at the ready and the Kindle shop only a few clicks away. Apart from my favourites, both old and new, I’ve discovered authors I would never have come across and been able to support the burgeoning efforts of a couple of budding writers in my blogging circle – just check out 2011’s Book Nook numbers 51, 55a and 57.

Granted a Kindle is not the be all and end all. After all, there is nothing like a travel book for sitting on the plane, standing on a street corner in a new city or sipping espresso in a funky cafe, marking the places to be seen with folded corners and scribbled annotations and plotting my next adventure(s).

And I haven’t quite managed the conversion of my magazine or Saturday Times newspaper habit yet but let’s face it, the only way to conquer the Samurai Sudoku or the cryptic version of the Jumbo Crossword is curled up on my couch, pen in hand, steaming coffee at my elbow.

But villifying the Kindle and all its counterparts seems a little extreme. Like laptops, smartphones and iPods, the e-reader is just another symbol of our increasingly mobile lives and to my mind, something that encourages the consumption of the written word in every place or space. And that can only be a good thing.

Books still have their place in my life. But for me the power lies in the storytelling.

And I get to take that everywhere.