Every time I travel, it’s like I’m catching up on what the outside world already knows. On our trip to San Francisco earlier this year, the number of people Lyft-ing and Uber-ing on the curbside outside hotels and restaurants was remarkable – to me.

Maybe this is just how the world works for the modern Western traveler. Even our roadtrip across Middle America to Illinois was improved by a new-to-me technology.

A colleague of mine uses Waze to get to and from work. She knows her way to work, of course…but this little miracle of an app gives you real-time updates on traffic flow, accidents, etc. I downloaded it to my phone for the trip. And it’s my new favorite thing. Watch out for cars stuck on the side of the road! it says. Police up ahead! There’s something ON THE ROAD! And there they all are. It’s like a miracle. It’s a real-time app that’s updated by drivers – or, hopefully, passengers. So, along with keeping the music and audiobooks flowing like a very specialist DJ, I was also working for the greater good by logging obstructions, roadworks, and the like.

Thanks, modern world. Sure, things aren’t perfect, but how bad can it be if we have nice things like Waze?

I do have a complaint, though, that tech should be able to solve. If I remember correctly, crossing the equator on a boat or ship comes with a whole ceremony…it’s a big thing. Crossing a state line for the first time? Nothing. Not a bell ringing, not a ceremonial key fob. It was something of an anti-climax. For the record, though, the first time I crossed a state line (except in a plane) was Texas to Arkansas. Crossing from Arkansas to Missouri, neither my wife nor I had realized it had happened. App makers of America, you can do better.

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