First World Problems

First World Problems

America….spread your golden wings!

Being connected is a big part of my daily life. Not only do I work in social media and spend most of my time on a computer, I just love having the power of a smartphone in my pocket. Almost everything I will ever need is right there. When I’m here in Canada, I’m happy with my smartphone by my side at all times, connected¬†with my unlimited texting and decent data plan. Like many others, I literally sleep with my phone at my side. It is my alarm clock ūüôā

I¬†realized¬†that I am addicted to social media when my first priority on a recent vacation was to update my Facebook status, send out a Tweet and check-in on Foursquare the moment I crossed the border. It’s not necessarily about bragging for me, more so that it’s a fail safe in the case my phone, camera or iPad gets stolen on my trip. I’ll always have a copy on the web, plus years from now there will be some server in Palo Alto with all my memories in case I need them implanted back into my brain.

Each time I visit the U.S., the biggest stress & challenge I encounter (other than the border questioning what a Q-1 Visa is. FYI: It’s the Visa you get when you work for Disney!) is how to stay connected without paying a billion dollars for data. In case you weren’t aware, if you roam in another country with your phone, you will get KILLED with extra charges. With this roadblock, I’ve found two great ways to stay connected when abroad:

  • First, beg and plead with your friends who have decent phones with data to let you use them. They most likely have¬†unlimited¬†data, and by now they should understand your need to stay connected (they do see your¬†constant¬†stream of updates after all). Use this first technique as sparingly as possible and always be gracious.
  • Second, make it your personal mission to seek out free Wi-Fi as soon as you arrive. I am that guy you see wandering around attempting to find a free Wi-Fi signal, and when I do it’s pure magic.¬†Starbucks and McDonald’s are always great for this on road trips or if you’re in a pinch, and most likely your hotel will have it too (if you’re in a hotel that doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi, leave).

Staying connected without spending a mint is pretty¬†challenging, even in the great country of the United States.We shall call this a first world problem. If you’re not familiar, according to Wikipedia a first world problem “refers to issues perceived as difficult to those residing in the more developed nations (i.e., the¬†First World), but which are banal when compared to the difficulties encountered by those in the less developed¬†Third World.” Finding free Wi-Fi and staying connected definitely falls under this category. At the end of the day, we all have our own first world problems, this just happens to me mine.

What’s your first world problem?

Copyright 2021 Brad Ridler.
Brad Ridler