For someone who blogs, answers e-mails, pays bills on-line, and Facebooks (is that a verb?) having a dependable and fast Internet connection is important to my satisfying retirement. Not life or death important, but still something I count on. At home I pay for extra speed so we can stream HD Netflix at the same time someone is on the laptop or a computer. Rarely is there a problem.
But, there was one continuing glitch in our just-completed RV trip that threatened to put me in a permanent bad mood: lousy Internet service. Except for one park, the Wi-Fi service ranged from poor to unusable. All the campgrounds advertise its availability, but do not provide a robust enough service if many folks start using the Internet in the evening.
Forget streaming videos. These RV networks can't even handle loading a blog or e-mails with any consistency. True, I can make my cell phone a mobile hotspot, but that chews up my phone's data package very quickly so it is not an everyday solution.
I became increasingly angry at my inability to get on-line. I began to seriously question my willingness to put myself in that situation day after day for weeks at a time. I asked myself if blogging was important enough to sidetrack RV travel, or was it time to bring my blogging time to a close. Seriously, my frustration had gotten to the point where it threatened this trip and those in the future as well as this blog.
But, then, one afternoon, sitting somewhere cursing the crappy Wi-Fi I had an flash of insight. The importance I was putting in my ability to connect like I can at home was silly. There is simply no way any RV park, a Starbucks, or even most public libraries can provide high speed service for everyone that wants it, whenever they want it. Wi-Fi is a bonus, a nice addition to an RV park's amenities. But, it is not what should make or break a stay or a trip.
A quiet campground, with plenty of shade and privacy, plus good water and electricity service are the essentials. Flawless Wi-Fi is no more a requirement than a fully equipped fitness center or a spa that is heated to 104 degrees and open until 10pm each evening. Many RV parks have them, but we don't skip places that don't.
I realized I was giving access to the Internet power over my happiness. I was on the way to building my life around something that wasn't that important. I stopped, turned to Betty and let her know I had reached an important conclusion: When I can get on-line I will. If I have to connect because bills must be paid I will use my cell phone's hot spot service. Otherwise, I will shut the laptop off and walk away. She sighed in relief. Watching me go nuts over the computer doesn't make her day, either.
Nothing is more important then the quality time Betty and I get to spend together in our motorhome, making memories and plans, sharing laughs, and enjoying each other's company with very few distractions. Unanswered blog comments, a post that stays on the home page a day or two longer than I originally planned for, or making a comment on Facebook or Google+ simply doesn't measure up.
I had almost let something unimportant force a major change in my life. Luckily, I woke up in time. I put my priorities back where they mattered. My satisfying retirement is back on track even if a reliable Internet connection is not.