I bloody love Skype. Another highly cherished ‘enabler’ in my world of travel. Without Skype I don’t know if I could go for long periods away from my family & ‘home, home’ (aka my original home where I keep homing back to).
However, with Skype comes a world of hurt, abuse, trauma & neglect as I am thrown 100% back into the normalcy of my family life. I have tried to come up with methods to avoid these negative situations but I fail at every step. I shall continue to perfect the manner in which I use Skype. These are some of my user issues:
Timing is EVERYTHING. If I Skype during Sunday dinner I am overwhelmed with morbid jealousy & I am a one woman pity party for myself. My mouth is watering & I can almost smell the delicious, familiar feast…. When I’m hungover this crippling sense of being hard done by & neglected is MAGNIFIED. Sunday Skypes are risky business. You are taking your hunger in your hands!
If I Skype when my nephew is trying to watch ‘Toot Toots’ (Thomas the tank engine to us mere grown ups) on the iPad, I am greeted by a screaming child. I usually hear the wails before I see his red, outraged face. “NOOOOOOOOO! Toot TOOTS!!!!” Will be shouted at me repeatedly while I am being pushed away in horror. This can really affect my self esteem when I’m looking forward to seeing a cute, loving face after a tough day travelling or a long week at work. This scenario isn’t helped by the parents’ protests to “Say hello to auntie” being met with a stamping foot & a distressed child screaming “NOOOOO!!! Toot toots!!!”. Enjoy your flaming toot toots then Mr Terrible Two *sobs into keyboard*
2> Motion Sickness
Pass me my motion sickness bands & tablets – I’m going to Skype the parents! Strap on your seat belts, this is going to be like no roller coaster ride you have ever experienced! Prepare to be shaken, dropped, moved non stop & aimed excruciatingly poorly at the wrong thing. This can all be done from a stationary seated position. That’s impressive! My parents’ arms must be aching after a Skype session with me from their non stop juggling. Maybe its a fitness initiative that I’ve missed?? Just when you think your eyes have adjusted to the swaying & spinning it somehow goes twice as fast. If you are hungover this is not even worth the risk. Even the thought of it may take you to a dark place of wretching. I swear my parents are worse than my niece & nephews who normally carry me (the iPad) somewhere & stand on me/switch me off/prop me against something/cuddle & kiss me.
3> Terrible picture
Feet. Corners of the ceiling. Blank wall. The iPad cover. I’m looking at you again parents. Its a simple aim & hold device. I do not need to gag at your dirty, disgusting crocs. I didn’t call you to look at the Dulux whisked egg-white-ivory-linen-cotton-cloud paint on the walls. I am giving you a perfectly delightful view of my face. Ok, so it may not always be a delightful face but at least there is emotion, communication & interaction. Why am I looking at the carpet??? Is it so difficult to look at the little box on the screen to check what I’m seeing once in a while? Is it so difficult to remember whether you’re on front or back camera? Can I see your whole face for expression or must it solely be a conversation with your scalp?? *Sigh*
Sometimes I get forgotten. The iPad (me) gets set down, people get on with their tasks/chatter/life & I listen in. I quite like it though. I feel like I’m right back at home – Is this a pity party thing where being left out makes me feel like I’m at home?? I like to sit back & be a fly on the wall, taking in the conversation & taking part when it suits. Not being the focus of entertainment or being interrogated.
Ok, I get it. When someone isn’t home their life seems so exciting & you want to hear more about it because you’re sure it’s incredible. Ask me questions, I’ll tell you anything you need to know. But please, fill me in on what’s happening back at ‘home, home’. I want to hear the funny, silly stories. I want to know that my niece cried when granda collected her from nursery, I want to hear about my nephew giving his toys to his wee brother when he’s upset, I want to know that the flowers I sent were hand delivered & my mum was asked for by her funny nickname.
Nothing breaks my heart quite like how much I miss my dog when I’m away. I think about him an absurd amount of time. My daydreams usually involve reminiscing about how soft his fur is & how good he is to hug or looking forward to the next time I cuddle him. When I Skype him he doesn’t show interest in me anymore. The years of abandonment have hardened his fragile heart. To see him on Skype is always a complete joy & a reminder that I’m a bad mamma. I guess if this is one of my great sources of sadness then I can consider myself very fortunate. & I do. However, this doesn’t stop me missing him every single day.
I am happy go lucky, I make the most of what I’ve got & I don’t dwell on jealousy. If anything I make a joke at how unfortunate I can be on occasion. Honestly, most situations I wouldn’t change because I really love a funny story. No matter if I’m the joke, I like to see how things unfold. Plus I have a fantastic group of friends who see great humour in when things go wrong in my life. Not in a cruel way, more of an it-could-only-happen-to-you, eyes rolling, kind of way. When I say I don’t do jealousy, I have to admit there are flashes when it consumes me. One great example is when I Skype during Sunday dinner. I am jealous. I want to eat that too! On Skype my family don’t hesitate to tell me when they are going to the (DELICIOUS) local Chinese, my favourite restaurants or for walks or day trips to my favourite places. It is mainly food induced jealousy. What can I say, I’m a foodie! (This is the cute term I use so people think I’m not a greedy, forever hungry, unfillable pit of a human).
Not content with being a visual roller coaster, Skype has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I can document so many milestones & experiences via Skype. My heart filling when I got to see my 1 hour old niece from Switzerland, my heart twisting when my Grandad passed away when I was working in Italy, my nephews first steps, ringing in new years, singing happy birthday & wishing each other merry Christmas. You are the one who has been there for my family & I through it all.
So, Skype, I still have to finesse the terms on which I use you to avoid all my personal issues…. But honestly, I don’t know what I would do without you. You help me see my niece & nephew grow up, you give me immense comfort when I see my dog, you warm me when I hear my family chatting casually & waving down the camera. You allow me to have a (somewhat) normal life with my family via regular conversation, interaction & sharing our lives. You make it easy for me to pack my bags, leave home & jet off to a new country. You make it easier to pack for months away. You make it easy to visit countries on the other side of the world, to explore & escape.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you for being an important enabler in my life.
Please share your travel enablers with me in the comments below. What apps & websites help you to travel & make your life easier? I’m sure there are so many out there just waiting to be discovered. Thanks!