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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Belize: Travelling by Internet

Mark writing on the balcony in Caye Caulker
Writing on the balcony in Caye Caulker

I'm going to sound like a bit of an old-timer here, but wow, the Internet has really changed travelling compared to 18 years ago. I didn't notice the effect so much when I visited West Africa in 2002, because that's a pretty poor part of the world and the Internet was still a bit of a novelty then, but here in the touristy parts of Central America there's wi-fi absolutely everywhere, and the effect on the travelling community is huge.

Information Overload

For me, this is all a bit of a culture shock. Back when I learned to travel, I'd spend ages poring over the guidebooks, and soaking up every bit of information I could lay my hands on, from hand-copied maps to route suggestions, and I played with my itinerary for hours, wondering where I should go. I trained myself to soak up information like a sponge, mull it over and make a decision, and this worked really well when information was relatively scant. But in the Internet era, the sheer volume of data literally makes me panic and I get information overload. I can't cope; my brain insists on reading everything, and when faced with having to make a decision, it simply freaks out and freezes. It's most inconvenient, and I find I can only look at TripAdvisor for a few minutes before the red mist descends and I have to go and lie down.