Friday, 20 March 2015

The alternative expat guide to staying in touch

The internet has revolutionised the way expats stay in touch. There is no substitute for giving your loved ones a hug, but with social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, most expats are only a click away from home. You can read our guide on how to keep in touch with technology here, but how will you communicate when the wi-fi drops out?
Here’s our tongue in cheek alternative guide to lo-fi communication, with one important message – if you’re making the move abroad, there is always a way to reach those at home!

The very first round the world telegram left New York at 7pm on August 20th 1911. It travelled through the Philippines, Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore, Bombay, Malta and Lisbon on its 28,000 mile whistle-stop tour of the world before returning home a positively spritely 16.5 minutes later with the unimaginative message: “This message sent around the world”.
Remember to keep Telegram, messages short STOP
Messages charged per word STOP

Not easy to conduct emotional correspondence with family STOP

Image source: Creative Commons / Cqeme

Carrier pigeon
Carrier pigeons are some of the most unlikely of war heroes and 32 have been awarded the Dickin Medal for animal gallantry in the two world wars. Carrying their short messages over 700 miles per day, carrier pigeons could be the micro-blogging platform of choice for technophobic expats who are fed up with Twitter. Even flying at speeds of up to 140kph, however, you’ll feel the distance from home.

What’s the cost for an expat who wants to add a touch of romance to their correspondence with home? Bolt, the most expensive homing pigeon of all time was sold from a UK breeder for £300,000.

Image source: Creative Commons / ZeroOne

Smoke signals
Smoke signals are one of the very oldest forms of long distance communication. Native Americans are perhaps the most well-known users of the technique but unsurprisingly urban myths that the signals could carry complex, nuanced messages are wide of the mark.
One puff to say hello, two puffs to indicate no problems and three puffs to call for help is about as far as budding expat fire starters will get. In terms of range, you might communicate back home from the shops, but not much further…

On a more practical note, the internet can make staying in touch with home appear trivial, but that’s not the case for all expats. A vital first step in any expat journey is establishing just how reliable the local internet and telephone networks in your new base will be – so it’s worth planning ahead and getting as much set up beforehand as you can to make the transition smoother. 

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