One of the big differences to packing these days must be the amount of wire that you stick into the hand luggage. I have so far put in a wire for the iPod, a wire for the two Kindles, a wire for the iPhone and a wire for the Nokia phone. Then, of course, there is the bulky recharger for the MacBook as well. It seems amazing that all this happily goes through airport security.

Steve Jobs at Apple seemed to come to wireless very late in his career, inventing more and more gadgets but all with wire connections to everything. It seemed that only just before his demise did he really start to focus on stuff without endless miles of wire to have to carry around. Still where would we be without smart phones .

That is certainly true here in Puglia where I would suggest two things have changed Pugliese youth namely Facebook and the smart phone. Facebook has allowed the young to interact and socialize without their parents being involved or in the main even understand what is going on and the smart phone has enabled them to do that and to communicate. Over the last year or so since the much cheaper Samsung smart phone was introduced how life has changed.  The TV which seems to sit in every Italian dining area has been replaced certainly by the under 35’s by the phone.

Now at lunch the parents sit watching the TV while the younger set fiddle endlessly with their phones connecting on to Facebook  texting friends or playing games.

At lunch last Sunday around the corner the 5 under 30’s spent almost the whole meal on the phone as it were.  The lad alongside me first texted photos of his haul from shooting that morning to a seemingly endless list of firends. Then he checked the phone for replies to the text and as they came in he replied to them and off we went again. Eventually that source of entertainment dried up but it was amazing to think that around our area at lunch tables other youth were receiving his stuff and replying.

Bored he decided to take a photo of himself. Now I have commented before about this ability of the Italian male to do things that we non Italian males would probably be embarrassed to do. In the barbers they spend ages at the mirror studying themseleves and their hair for instance. This lad preened ( there is no other word for it) and then took the photo . He studied it and rejected it. Again he looked at the phone and arched slightly one eyebrow and took another. This he was happy with and sent it to all his friends asking what they thought of it. Back came a few criticisms except from his wife who liked it. He then lent back on his chair to get a better shot of himself and off we went again.

I was fascinated and after years in the internet wilderness it was good to see young people using technology even if it was for some kind of self gratification. Italy, whenever stats are published languishes at the bottom of European tables in internet usage, purchases on line etc and the government swears to fix the problem. The reason seems to be the high cost of credit cards , the reluctance of Italians to share data and the low usage of bank accounts especially here in the south. Why are there so many banks here if no one uses them ? Answers on a postcard please.

Planning this journey has been an eye opener in the ways that social networking is changing the way we look at things and the way we buy travel. Sharing  is the new buzz word.

At the moment most are USA based but are heading certainly to the UK and other European countries. One that is big is AirBNB and I am already looking on it for stuff in Vietnam. Basically you either rent a room, or the whole place from another person based on if they like your profile. Renting a room in say London is cheaper then an hotel and you get all the advantages of having a local giving you places to eat and drink. Onefinestay does almost the same thing but is quite high end so not for me !

Swap your house with someone else like we are looking to do next year then Love Home Swap is the site you need

Another one I want to come to Italy is Park at My House where people offer to have your car in their driveway while you are away for a fee and drop you at the airport. Brilliant !

Better still if you want to rent your car out while your away why not use Flight Car and have your car earn money . And how about all those boats and yachts you see in all the marinas around the world. They never go out we always say when walking around one. Well Boat Bound now lets you rent one.

Now away from travel let me say there are a couple of new sites I want here Neighbor Goods lets you rent other peoples stuff like a rotovator or lawn mower etc and just share it lets you rent their spare car or 4×4 etc.

So I wonder if my almost silent lunch companion realises his doodling on his smart phone should be his first tentative steps into a brave new world of ‘peer to peer’ transactions. Hopefully it will beat taking pictures of yourself but hey this is Italy so who knows. I also won’t hold my breath for many of these sites getting here but you never know. Oh was that a pig that just went past the window ?


Up and Running

For 7 months I have been writing a daily blog about life in Puglia at Here In Puglia whilst living in the heel of Italy. However I am now, with Geraldine, setting off on Wednesday to travel in South East Asia.

We plan to head from Hong Kong where we land to Thailand first and then over a five month period  work our way through Cambodia Laos and Vietnam to finish up in Hanoi before returning to Hong Kong to see the daughter again poor thing.

Planning is well in hand with a flight now booked to Hong Kong and some vague ideas about where we go after that beginning to take some kind of shape  which let me say before Geraldine says it is for me is the height of organisation. I have even ventured on to a few hotel booking sites and am already amazed at how full things are. Others clearly spend much longer getting their own trip off the ground than I do. Still I’m sure it is better to hang loose and see how things pan out. What is that saying about doing something in haste and repenting at leisure ?

I guess I’m having a very delayed gap year having missed out on one some 47 years ago. Mind you I went to sea straight from school and found myself sailing around the world on a P&O Orient line passenger ship which was probably as good if not better than many of todays actual gap year experiences.

I’ll be trying to post everyday and give you a flavour of the places we visit during this trip far away from the delights of Puglia. I shall miss my friends in Puglia my Italian food and more especially my Italian wine but probably won’t miss the cold and the rain and snow of a Puglian winter. Surprisingly it gets very chilly down here and neither the houses nor the bars and restaurants are made to cope with it.  Indeed a fair chunk of our spending money is made up from monies we are saving in gas, electricity and wood for the two log burning fires.

I hope many of you readers are gonna go my way too by just following me here on this blog