NaNoWriMo Day 9 and Global Connection

The Beach House in Costa Rica - Complete With Lizard

So, day 9. It was a coding-heavy day, so while I wrote a lot, it wasn’t as much fiction. I still passed 1800 words for the day, but obviously, less than I wanted to. My average word count is just above 2200 right now, and I’m not happy about that.

Today I have code to write, but I’m going to do my word count first so that I’m where I want to be.

Now, the global connection thing.

Once upon a time, I lived on the other side of the world, in a place with white sand beaches, jungles, and palm trees. My father still in this place. It’s the third world, without question. There are a lot of people there who still live stone age lives. In fact, I have a book called Solomon Islands, A South Seas Journey that’s a photo exploration of the islands. It’s an amazing book by a brilliant photographer. It shows the lives of the locals in quite a lot of details, and most of them live in grass-roofed huts.

Yesterday my father finally got Facebook. He has an iPhone and sometimes uses it for live video chat. I get to see my father, every once in a while, via the miracle of technology.

Our world has become a much smaller place, a much more integrated place.

When I lived in the Solomon Islands, I was supposed to do correspondence courses, but it took so long for anything to get from Canada to the Solomons, it was quickly on my back burner. Now, that’s not excusing it… I should have made an effort, but it was one of those small barriers that I talk about from time to time. I was cut off from civilisation while I was there.

It’s different now. I could live there and still be doing the daily work I am doing now. I could virtually commute to the other side of the world. Now, the Solomons is a bit of an extreme example here, since even now their internet access is somewhat limited.

When I stayed in Costa Rica a few years ago, there was WiFi everywhere. It would have been no effort at all to manage my current work from a villa near the beach in Montezuma. I could live in a place for close to what I pay for rent here in Canada, but instead of an apartment, I could have a house, with a pool. And that’s at AirBnB prices.

The life of a writer is a strange one, especially if it becomes your full-time job. You aren’t constrained to one specific location; you can travel. Ian Fleming wrote most of the James Bond books from a house near the beach in Jamaica. Now though, you can live that life and not be cut off from family and friends, not the same way it was when Fleming was plying his trade in Jamaica.

It’s about to get even better. There’s a project coming, one with a lot of money behind it, called the One Web project. It’s a network of satellites that will provide global high-speed Internet. Truly global. The middle of the Atlantic will be a place you can be and still have access to the Internet. There are other groups looking to do different kinds of technology that will bring WiFi to remoter areas, although as far as I know, the One Web project is the only one that will be genuinely global, where a sailboat a thousand kilometres from land will have the same access as someone in downtown New York.

There are other side effects of this global connection. I can set a part of my story in say, Salt Lake City Utah, and I can virtually walk down the street. Sure, I can’t feel the air, but I can see the people, see the traffic, what the businesses look like, what the actual distance is from the ground perspective.

There are so many tools, so many amazing things coming out of this global connectivity, especially for those of us who choose to make our living typing words on screens.

And yes, I might someday end up living part of my life from that beachfront house in Costa Rica, although probably not at AirBnB rates (of course I might not – and if I did it wouldn’t be soon).

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