The Guillotine Has Come Down

Saturday night, when I was checking e-mails, we received one from our home exchange partner.guillotineShe was a bit alarmed explaining she received a notice from her Internet provider warning there was 75% of her monthly allotment of bandwidth used. Her account would not replenish for another 23 days.

This was unfortunate since we did specifically ask her if there were any limitations on her Internet usage. Ours in Budapest was limited to 80 GB a month, but about five years ago changed over to unlimited. It was surprising to me that providers in Canada were still restrictive.

I wrote her a note apologizing saying we would curb our ways. Since then, we have not used the Internet in the apartment at all. It seemed that this would be fairly easy since we both have smartphones and there are Wi-Fi places just about everywhere. Turns out it is not as easy as I thought. First, the most obvious choice would be Starbucks where virtually every store has free Internet. Well, our phones would not connect there since it is an open connection, not password protected. The antivirus protection on our phones gives critical warnings of identity theft. Having had my credit card numbers stolen multiple times in the past, this is a serious precaution.

After finding other cafés that have Wi-Fi with password protection, we are then able to download our mail. Unfortunately, some mail required extensive responses, which are cumbersome to do on the phone. We both have Swype on our phones eliminating having to type like on a keyboard, but it is still frustrating when your thoughts are working faster than your fingers.

Some Wi-Fi connections, though free, require you to log into a browser first to read the rules and regulations, and then they will connect you to their system. I have concerns about how secure these are; concerns arise concerning performing banking tasks on these networks.

To complicate matters more, our time in Mexico City was to be divided unequally with three different home exchanges. One of the exchanges has not responded to our e-mails for months, so we are giving up on him. Another changed the dates they are able to accommodate us with a non-simultaneous exchange. We finally decided that rather than find a place for the missing exchange and have to keep moving around, we would just suck it up and rent a place for the missing time and the final exchange. With our first week confirmed as a home exchange, from then on, we will rent a place.

This brings in the need for Internet to hunt down a place. We do not want to spend our first week in Mexico City looking for another place to stay for the next two weeks. When traveling short-term, going without or having limited Internet is survivable, but when traveling long for an extended period, it really makes it difficult. It makes me wonder how people did it in the past before technology.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.