Mrs Woog, Edenland and Kerri Sackville all came to Qatar

Laying on the couch at the Problogger conference (sans make-up, apologies if I gave you a fright)

I arrived in my hotel room at the beginning of our travels with a very clunky dell laptop, and a dial up internet connection that was both unreliable and hugely expensive.

It was January 2000.

These were the days when you thought of everything you needed to do online before you dialed up, as you were charged by the minute.

Someone forgot to tell me that bit.

I left the hotel two months later with an internet bill that G and I have just pretended never happened. It’s better that way.

In January 2000, there was no Facebook, no Skype, no cheap apps for getting free calls. We didn’t text through pictures, we didn’t Instagram, an update was something that happened in the news.

Being an expat, used to be a much more isolated gig.

This weekend a girlfriend of mine flew to Dubai to meet with a group of fellow students that she’ll be studying along side this year. The University she will be “attending” is in the UK, her classmates are from all over the world but at this point in time they find themselves in the Middle East. What did we do before online study? I can still remember the panic of friends when study materials didn’t arrive in the post, the assignment that was lost in transit.

This weekend I attended a blogging conference. The conference was in Melbourne, but I was wandering around my house with a goofy grin and a set of headphones in Qatar. For the grand total of $200 I listened in on every presentation, copied notes from slides that were presented, followed a tweet stream, and joined a Facebook group. I couldn’t have been more there without actually being there than I was.

This is how the world is changing – and it rocks for women like me.

Sure, it would have been great to have made eye contact with some of of my peers over the weekend, and yes I was insanely jealous when I saw pictures of women that I now class as friends standing side by side, but hey, I got to see the pictures! And although I wasn’t a part of the conversation, I was there, listening and learning.

For years expats have struggled to pick up on certain points of pop culture. We’ve missed references or haven’t understood the punchline, but things are changing. Technology is on our side. For women who are traveling, the world is not just smaller it’s easier, our careers are more portable and our opportunities have expanded.

This weekend I didn’t miss out.

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  • Stacy

    I hear you! When I first moved overseas (as a married person, not counting my expat childhood) in 1987, we didn’t even have internet, of course. My first email address was courtesy of my husband’s company – Brazil, circa 1996, with dial up service, and I was more grateful than I can ever express here.

    How wonderful that you could take part in the Problogger conference!

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      Stacy you have just taken me back in time. For the longest time my email address was attached to G’s company. I created a massive drama in Libya when a particularly nasty worm virus was traced back to an email I’d received from a mate in Sydney. Oopsy Daisy!

    • Stacy

      Oh, my! What an ordeal that must have been! Did you even know about computer viruses? I doubt I would have. I certainly don’t remember having a virus protection program installed back then.

  • Kelly Exeter

    I so wish you were there Kirsty – that would have made it perfect!

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      Maybe next year. I thought the information was fantastic. It was my first ever experience of a blog conference and there was so much information that was worthwhile. I’m hooked.

  • Alli @ ducks on the dam

    Love it. I’m much closer than you (a mere 2 hours away) but wasn’t able to go. I didn’t do the virtual thing but watched the hash tag, tweeted, looked at pics and still learnt so much. Love this internet thing!

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      Me to. LOVE.

  • Brigid Cappello

    I really enjoyed reading this Kirsty!
    I hate to think how much your hotel internet bill was. Gosh, we take for granted the fast and inexpensive internet connections and all that we can do with it these days!
    Awesome that you were able to enjoy the Problogger conference there in Qatar. I’m still working my way through the audio recordings, but all I’ve heard so far have been amazing.

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      That internet bill was nearly the last straw, we were as green as grass and had gone through two months of not getting paid, not being able to find a house to live in, and me getting progressively more pregnant and homeless. Just a tad stressful when they handed over the bill. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kerri Sackville

    Oh baby I am SO glad you were there!!!!! I cannot wait for us to meet again in person. Miss you big time. And my mum misses your husband. xxxxxxxx

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      Loved your proof-reading advice (my major downfall) I didn’t realize you could do a course. And yes, I feel my next blog will be “the day that G left me for Mrs K Sack” He. Loves. Her.

  • vegemitevix

    Bugger. I wish I’d thought of that. Glad you enjoyed though. Vix x

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      I’m sure it’s not too late, HIGHLY recommend it. It was my first experience with a blog con so there was so much that learnt. Kx

  • edenland

    BRILLIANT!!! So you actually heard our voices? Unbelievable!

    I had a dream about you last week.

    I can’t wait till we meet in the flesh one day, Kirsty. Until then, we have the technology. Amazing.

    Love to you and your beautiful family xxx

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      I loved your voice Eden, the “don’t worry it’s only about a 3” when it came to the panic attack cracked me up. It was the pics of you and Woog that had me announcing to my family “oh there’s my friends” because I truly feel that way. We will meet, and it will be weird, and then it will be wonderful. Kxx

    • boomerang jane

      Haha, I’m guilty of doing that too. ๐Ÿ˜€ I often sprout the comment “oh my friend (insert Mrs Woog, Edenland, Kerry & you as well!) did such and such the other day”. My teenage daughter raises her eyebrows and tilts her head in that “really Mum? Really” as in “you poor deluded fool”. One day, when I get the courage to come to a blog con, and photobomb myself into a few shots, then who’ll have the last laugh ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Corinne โ€“ Daze of My Life

    I would LOVE to know how you did it?? I was picking up the tweets and instagrams but to hear the speakers would have been fab!

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      Hey Corinne, if you head to the Problogger event page you’ll see a link to “virtual tickets”. I’m pretty sure it’s going to stay there for ever so you can still listen to all of the segments and download the slides. I haven’t done anything like this before so I found it all really helpful. Kx

  • aussiemama

    I can not imagine being a expat without the support of FB, Skype, email and more. It must have been so hard, and even more isolating than this life can sometimes be ๐Ÿ™
    The blogging conference sounds fabulous. Thank you for sharing the links

  • Michelle

    I didn’t realise you could attend PB in that way! V cool and something I might consider next year. When I first moved overseas there was email. That was it. And I didn’t even have my own email account. You are right, these changes are a revolution for people living far far away from home.

  • What Sarah Did Next

    That is awesome, Kirsty! Technology at its coolest. I was in Melbourne for ProBlogger and found it PACKED full of great advice too. Made me realise how much I have to learn but also hungry to get started! I hope you make it in the flesh one day too; I’d love to meet you xx

    • 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle

      I wondered if you were there! This just confirms that I NEED to go next year.