A bit of a techie post from me for a change.
You see, I’ve got a bit of a split personality. I am not only a person with a love of travel but also a languages student back home in the UK – and, more crucially for this post, I run my own business there too, an online shop selling Japanese food (www.mountsushi.co.uk if you’re interested!)
I employ a couple of part-time staff back in the UK, and all of this means that travel for any longer than about a week usually involves taking at least some work with me, and keeping in regular contact with the office. It also means ridiculously long to-do lists in the weeks before I leave home – even longer ones than I usually have on the go.
Having landed in Bangkok yesterday, I am in the first couple of days of my latest trip to beautiful Thailand; this time I am here for two and a half months, until mid September. And so on Monday, the day before my flight, I found myself in the usual position of having umpteen tasks left on my list, with the hours ticking by – many of these tasks being ones that needed something put in writing and posted, hence not the sort of things that are easily accomplished from the distance of south-east Asia.
But then I had a mini-epiphany. Not long ago I signed up for a service which at the time seemed a nice idea but not really worth the cash. ViaPost, aimed at businesses, enables you to upload letters and other documents online, which are then posted for you to anywhere in the UK. There are other services like it around, some of which also post elsewhere internationally, but ViaPost seems the cheapest and most user-friendly of the bunch; just 35p (plus VAT) to send a letter, compared with as much as a pound on some other sites! For Windows users it’s simply a case of installing a printer driver and then sending the document to print as though your printer were sat on your desk – instead, of course, it is sent to their server and processed afar. And while my heart sank when I saw that the driver isn’t Mac compatible, the easy alternative of uploading the document to their web site means it isn’t an issue.
Much like having a virtual secretary to send you mail to for printing and posting, though the concept seems targeted at those in the UK as a way of cutting their up-front costs, it frankly seemed like a waste of money while I was still in the country and with a printer, envelopes and stamps within easy reach. From abroad, though, it comes as an internet-age miracle. Suddenly all those tasks I thought had to be done and dusted before I left home, can wait just a little longer and be dealt with from here in Thailand, preferably with a gorgeous view, a bottle of Singha in hand and to be switfly followed by a well-deserved hour’s massage. Oh, how I love the internet – how did we ever live without it!?