Air travel has been an integral part of my worklife for some time. Until becoming dean it was rather infrequent, but now there is considerably more.
Of course working while traveling has been part of worklife travel. One had to think ahead about what manuscript to review, grant to work on, and so on so that one had their work with them.
Not so much, any more. Now, in what I still consider a minor miracle, I have wireless internet way up here and so I simply remote desktop into my office and it is as though I am sitting there at my computer (without the view out the window). Better even...no phone and no drop in conversations. Just music on the MP3 player coming through the earbuds to help create the relative solitude of ignoring those seated around me as I use the internet, Excel, PowerPoint, email, Word, Acrobat, and all those other things that were not even in the dictionary when I started working on planes.
Intellectually, I see that the technology to do this is pretty straightforward (at least for those who understand its implementation), but for some reason the ability to sit here as though I were at my desk in Pullman creates a sense of wonder. It's odd, really. I think I shouldn't be so enthralled by this, but there it is...I am. So much so that the first time I used this technology, I think I sent emails to far too many people just because I could -- just because it was from 37,000 feet somewhere over the Midwest. (Thanks to technology, right now I know exactly where I am (Latitude 36.48 N, Longitude 91.67 W, over the Arkansas-Missouri border), headed SE toward Atlanta at 495 knots and 37,000 feet elevation.)
Perhaps someday this will be as old hat as everything else that seemed so very cool when it was new and fresh. But for now I still like feeling the wonder...