Earlier this month I took an extended break from Techweek for a 9-day trip with some college pals. My plan: to trade the highly caffeinated world of Techweek for a week in the even more highly caffeinated and volatile world of South America, with the ultimate goal of climbing Machu Picchu.
Cats on the Inca Trail taking Machu Picchu
The trip was a whirlwind, slapdash adventure that only a group of 22-year-olds would consider feasible, much less desirable.
- Extended layovers in four cities: NYC, Bogota, Lima, Cusco
- Total traveling time (including said layovers): 81 hours and 40 minutes
- Highlights: 4-day hike of Machu Picchu, ATV tour of Cusco, bike tour of Bogota, beach hopping in Lima
- Lowlights: Lost debit card, temporarily misplaced passport, my Spanish accent, poor facial hair cultivation
This Blogger recommends: ATV’ing around the snow-capped hills of Peru
Despite a seemingly endless supply of potential pitfalls, our trip went off without any major hitch.
1. The most complex flight itinerary Orbitz has ever spit out.
2. Our inexperience with Spanish, the Spanish-speaking world, and international traveling in general.
3. A shared group naïveté that had little patience for concepts like “planning ahead,” “arriving early,” or “keeping track of your debit card/passport”
That said, we arrived home safe, we spent a shockingly small amount of money, and we had the time of our lives.
As I reflect on how our group of unseasoned travelers managed to pull this one off, I realize the critical role technology played in helping us avoid (and climb out of) all the obstacles foreign travel can provide.
A recap of some of the more spectacular tech saves of the trip:
-Day 1: When Team Tech Tourists (TTT) needs to make a hotel reservation, they nimbly turn to the Hotel Tonight and Priceline apps, nabbing the finest 5-star hotel in Lima for $85.
-Day 2: TTT needs a cheap apartment to stay in for a few days in Cusco- they hit up their friends at Airbnb and nab a three bedroom apartment for $54 a night.
-Day 3: TTT needs a cab but has exhausted their supply of local currency. Being the tuned-in and tech-savvy group they are, they remember that Uber is on an inexorable march to global dominance and find it’s already invaded Bogota and Lima. The team takes cabs all day for pennies. Even in South America, Uber’s price war reigns.
-Day 6: A TTT member loses his credit card. Never one to panic, he quickly cancels it using his bank’s app, fires up Venmo and transfers another team member a few hundred dollars. The TTT Bank is now open for business.
-Day 8: Google services rule the day: Maps helps out our confused (possibly stoned) cab driver get to the airport, Translate helps the team negotiate a price, and Search tells us that, despite persistent stomach queasiness shared by multiple team members, our symptoms do not indicate tapeworms. #phew.
Before we left, one of my friends updated his Facebook status: “Headed to South America and will be off the grid and only reachable by Sherpa.” This quickly became a joke amongst the group. Our four-day hike aside, technology was as omnipresent on our trip as coffee beans and coca leaves.
Although there’s a certain archaic romance in unplugging from the world for a while, after seeing how many times technology helped us out of tough situations, I’m thankful to be a tech-ed out tourist.
Write 1 – 2 sentences on what “Innovation” means to you.
One winner with the best answer will win two (2) summit passes, a $990 value.
One Entry Per Applicant Only! Applicants with multiple entries will be disregarded from the contest.
Be original! We want to hear your personalized answers, not pre-concocted answers from someone else.
Be creative! Feel free to put your flairs and energy into the answers!
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For more information on eMerge Americas Techweek, click here.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
- eMerge Americas Techweek HQ
Future Sound is a 3-day music festival focused on the intersection of music and technology. As the Techweek Chicago Expo winds down, live electronic and tech-enhanced musical acts on the South Drive of the Merchandise Mart will heat up!
BAND HEADLINER – ANNOUNCED TODAY
ST. LUCIA! This year we bring you a legend in the making! Brooklyn-based St. Lucia makes shimmery, ’80s influenced, synth-driven pop. After two successful EPs, St. Lucia’s debut album “When the Night” has their 2014 tour selling out dates and being shifted to larger venues.
- What: 18 hrs of live music at one of the most unique 3-day music festivals
- When: June 26-28
- Where: Nestled between the Chicago River and the Mart | South Drive Stage
- Who: 4,000 Techweekers… PLUS…
SATURDAY HEADLINER – ANNOUNCED MAY 20
Another headliner to be revealed! Stay tuned for this announcement on May 20! You will not be disappointed. The Saturday headliner is known to have the crowd asking for an encore.
EDM HEADLINER – ANNOUNCED JUNE 20
Last year we surprised Chicago when Calvin Harris
headlined our Techweek Chicago party. Now in 2014, we have another top electronic dance music DJ for you! Look for the EDM headliner announcement on June 20
As we introduce the Future Sound Music Festival to Techweek Chicago we have created special passes that make it easy for you to curate your own experience with the Festival Pass, Festival + Pass, or experience everything that is Techweek by purchasing the Summit Pass. These passes will sell out!
- Festival Pass ($80): Access to Expo Hall, LAUNCH Competition, Campfire Sessions, Gamers Lounge, Bar Techweek, The Knowledge Bar, Singlehop Stage, Food Truck Face Off, South Drive Stage, Future Sound Music Festival, Hiring Fair, Happy Hours, Hackfest, Future Home, TV & Film Festival, Food & Drink Festival
- Festival + Pass ($150): Access to all of Festival Pass options AND all summits, the Summit Stage and Technical stage
- Summit Pass ($199): Access to all of Festival + Pass options AND Partner Events, Parties, FashionTECH Runway Show, and TechweekGT
My name is Ted, I wear many hats at Techweek, and I love each and every one of them. Here are four highlights of how technology has impacted my life in the past decade.
Ten years ago I was 15 going on 16. Besides hormones, SAT prep, and the drive to get my license and hit the open road, there was one constant force in my teenage life. It was music.
Before I was introduced to Archive.org’s Live Music Archive, my only experience with music and the internet had been short lived affairs with Napster and Kazaa and constant frustration with Pandora.
At first I was introduced to the Live Music Archive, but I quickly realized what a goldmine the entire site was. The general audio archive is a collection of 1,924,961 items ranging from the Quran to netlabels available for download or stream. The Live Music Archive has 126,367 items from 6,124 bands, also known as musical Christmas.
This is my favorite Grateful Dead concert to date: Live at Hollywood Palladium on September 9, 1972.
It’s simply amazing what has been compiled by Archive.org’s team and community. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Twitter. Just kidding, I wish I could say I was an early adopter, but I was a senior in college, and at the time, there was no way to tweet a beer, so my interest in the new social network quickly subsided.
As some college students do, I studied abroad. I scraped and saved and bought myself a DSLR camera for my trip to Ireland. The reason I was able to do this because, while digital cameras had been out for a little bit, they were hideously expensive, and their quality was simply not worth it. Significant advances in memory compression and sensor technology made it possible for me to afford a DSLR camera body that was backwards compatible with my collection of lenses from the 80s. I was awestruck by how many high quality photos I could take, and how I could touch them up on my laptop. The b&w film purist certainly suffered a defeat with my conversion to digital color, but I still retain my aesthetic and keep shooting.
The current state of the internet.
I am sometimes stunned by how information is broadcast: Gifs, memes, Funny or Die, Reddit, Huffpost, Buzzfeed.
By most rights I’m considered a manly man, I don’t think wool is too itchy, and I have not one but two types of beard oil. However, I love internet corgies. They melt my heart, and if someone was reading my thoughts they would hear nothing but d’awws. That said, I rarely take selfies not in jest, but I could not ignore this intimate dissection of the “selfie” and how technology has impacted and arguably transformed how people look at self-beauty. As a male, I cannot fully grasp this video, and I know it’s made by Dove to sell creams but I still thought it very powerful and worthy of sharing – http://unlooker.com/selfie/.
This is my interpretation of a current “article” – it rambles and shifts topics, but is mildly interesting and ends with a call to action and a hyperlink. Call it cynical, but it’s really just how it is.
Last week while riding on the CTA Brown Line, I looked over to see a peer of mine reading, and it was strangely reassuring to see a young person embracing the tactile and visually stimulating wonders of a paperback.
While technology continues to improve and innovate, I firmly believe that there are some facets of life that are better left analog.
Written by Ted Cooke