Independence Day!

Today is the day I untether.

I’m disconnecting all of my landlines, my ISDN and upgrading to an ultralight, two-pound laptop. What better time to share a few thoughts about the future of technology and travel — and what it might mean for you.

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A lot of you have already unplugged your phones. Few of you probably know what an ISDN is or what it does. And computer upgrades happen every day. But when everything happens on the same day … well, that’s noteworthy.

Let’s start with the phone. I had two lines, and every month, CenturyLink sent me a bill for more than $200. I almost never make land-based phone calls anymore. Instead, I use my AT&T cellphone or Google Voice. I wanted to disconnect a long time ago, but couldn’t until I let all of my clients know that I had a new phone number.

The ISDN — shorthand for Integrated Services Digital Network — is an antiquated technology that’s still used for broadcast audio. I used it for voiceovers on my TV show, and until May, to co-host a live, two-hour radio program about travel.

I quietly left the show in May. No one noticed, because no one listened to it.

I didn’t need to see the laughably low Arbitron ratings to know we didn’t have an audience. We just had to invite listeners to call in to the program to realize we were talking to ourselves every Saturday morning.

Oh well.

And then NPRs Vivian Schiller basically said terrestrial radio is dead a few weeks after I bailed out of the broadcast, which made me relieved to have jumped off a sinking ship.

The ISND definitely had do go. That was another $50 a month in savings.

The hardest part, maybe, was the computer. I’m used to holding something in my hands, even when it comes to a laptop. My current PC weighs about six pounds. I’m switching to a MacBook Air which will allow me to work anywhere and not have to worry about battery life (my current laptop holds a pathetic 15 minutes worth of juice).

As of today, I’ll have nothing more than a wireless network on a DSL, a cellphone and laptop that feels more like a Gameboy. What a strange future we’re living — and traveling — in.

What kind of changes are you making, in terms of connectivity and technology? How is it affecting the way you travel?

Do you feel untethered? I think eventually, I will.

Today, I feel a litte naked.

(Photo: Sanctuary/Flickr Creative Commons)

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