Thursday, July 3, 2014

Meaghan Rodeck on How to Stay Connected when Off the Beaten Path

Find Happiness Off the Beaten Path? How to Maintain Balance With the Real World

We know happiness isn't about self-gratifying behavior, but sometimes, when we find our happiness off the beaten path, it can feel selfish because the people we love are often asked to come along or live with us being frequently (even persistently) out of touch.  

Whether your bliss is serving overseas in disaster relief, volunteering in the back countries of our National Parks or something else altogether, it's hard on the people left behind when they don't hear from you.
Though you may not have tons of time for conversational catch ups, it's important to let the people who love you know that you're still alive and well.
If you're outside the realm of reliable cell networks or the reach of the Internet, the most reliable option is a satellite phone. Companies like Iridium offer satellite phones as short term rentals or for sale if you spend enough time off the grid to need the hardware full time.
If your environment is at all dangerous, the importance of regularly checking in cannot be overstated. Help your loved ones have peace of mind, and prevent wasting resources sent on an unnecessary rescue mission because you failed to check in.
It's easy to check in via social media, email or text when you're using a fully charged smartphone on a reliable cell network. However, setting up a foolproof and satisfying communication plan without normal technology capabilities is a little more challenging.
Identify the people you'll be responsible for checking in with and how often they should expect to hear from you. Then, make sure they all know how to get in touch with each other if they don't hear from you when expected.
For your extended network—people you love and want to maintain contact with, but won't check in with regularly—you may want to consider a phone tree. That way, if there's ever news that needs to be shared with them (or with you) messages can flow through your network even when you don't have the time or battery power to connect directly.
Once you've sketched out your network and tree—and shared relevant contact information—it's time to think about the mechanics of keeping in touch. How will you keep your battery charged? If you're hiking in the backwoods, you won't be able to carry a lot of weight, but a BioLite camp stove or solar charger could help. If you're traveling internationally, you'll need reliable access to electricity and an appropriate power converter.
Don't forget to take the time difference into account! Find a way to schedule calls so you don't forget to make them. Many satellite phones don't have the creative features you've gotten used to with smartphones. Depending on your circumstance, you may be best served with an old fashioned pocket calendar and telephone book!
Though it may seem like a lot of hassle, the benefits of setting up a well-formed network and staying in touch while you're away from home will be worth it.

An article by Meaghan Rodeck is a professional freelance writer who loves music, coffee and fantastic shoes. With a degree in Theatre, Meaghan knows she has a tendency to be a tad dramatic from time to tim

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