There seems to be a misconception that everywhere in the world must be exactly like what you experience living on land in the USA among some posters. It is not. As a Cruiser - which means traveling full time by vessel (sail/power) - we do not have access to telephones 24/7 and even if we have a Quad band world GSM phone
you have to purchase a local SIM card and that gets you a new telephone number. So our telephones are used for local calls within the country we are currently cruising in - if we are going to be there for a few weeks or months.
- - Same with internet connections - WiFi
is the "in thing" but it takes a few days to set it up plus an external powered antenna
. Internet Cafe's are rapidly disappearing as WiFi
takes over the market. You can lug your computer around the island in your backpack or Pelican Case to "hotspots" in local shopping
malls or use the local computers
in a PTT with keyboards in foreign languages.
- - Not too many years ago the only contacts we had were by HF radio
, international snail mail, or expensive PTT telephone/internet outlets. And keeping in contact was a once a week or even once a month thing. Now, with the internet and WiFi we can get what we now call "constant contact" which is really daily if at anchor
in a WiFi anchorage, or weekly if enroute/moving from island to island. It is comparative, not literal.
- - So keeping in touch with your bank and financial affairs is not the same as folks who live and travel on land and air. We are light-years ahead of where we were a few short years ago, but still light-years behind folks living on land.
- - Getting your mail and any replacement credit cards, etc. takes a month or more. Which is why it is a very good idea to have at least 2 different credit card accounts and an ATM (not a debit) card. If one card gets compromised or "shut down" by the bank you have the other card to work with until the replacement can get to you.
- - International "snail mail" takes weeks or months and in some cases years. Courier service (DHL/FedEx/UPS) takes days but costs you a fortune. From Florida
for a letter package of mail from FedEx starts at US$80 - for junk mail and catalogs????
- - Having someone to sort and read your mail is essential as a cruiser for two reasons - first to pick out critical letters/notices and then email
them to you; and secondly to throw away all that junk mail/flyers/fake invoices/political spiels/etc. so that you don't spend a hundred dollars postage for a box full of trash mail.
- - Same thing with banks - they seem to always want to telephone your "home" address inside the USA rather than email or call you international - and how are they going to know what your current
phone number is as you change SIM cards?
- - Life as a cruiser is very different - which is why we are out here - lack of hassling communications
(phone/mail/etc.) is really nice and adds to the peaceful atmosphere we cherish. But the down-side is making arrangements for critical communications
to reach you. And for cruisers that can take a month for an emergency message to get to you not a couple of hours as for land based sailors.