We receive many questions about how we are able to do what we are doing, most of which are financial in nature, but many are regarding our gear. As techies, travelers and writers, we have thought lots about our necessary daily and travel accoutrements and want to share them with you. Even if you are not traveling, some of the gear that we use in our daily or travel life might change how you think about what you use, how you use it and what you might purchase in the future.
For starters, I must share the game-changing piece of equipment that catapulted me back into my writing and creative world, and eventually into this life of travel. It is my Toshiba Chromebook 2. It is a computer. It is a skinny laptop. It is full HD 1080p and includes 100GB of Google Drive storage. It is super light, and it is sticker-bombed only slightly. However, the two most important bits about my Chromebook — the game-changing information that may take you from Mac/PC worlds to the next level — are these: it works exclusively in the Cloud and costs less than $400.
Chromebooks will work for you if you work on your computer via the web exclusively. There are no delays in start-up, because there are no virus scans, processing or software being loaded. It is not a storage hog; when I open my Chromebook and my login appears, I sign-in to Google and within seconds am working again. Furthermore, because everything that I do is in the Cloud, all of the contents of my creative, writing and work life are synced, including photos and music. Finally, the limited “local” storage keeps me light and portable, while the remote storage of Google Drive and other key security backups keeps my information secure, especially if my machine is lost or stolen. In such a situation, I simply would need to replace the Chromebook, open it and sign in anew; everything would be as it was. Super-duper fast, super-duper fluid.
For a long time I was hung up about what to do regarding my virtual life. I have a 2005 iMac G5 that is now at the end of its life and we are in the process of decommissioning it. I wasn’t interested in another regular computer, because I really haven’t needed specific software. I wasn’t interested in a specific brand, because I had outgrown my love of Macs, and never really grew into an affair with PCs. What was happening was the streamlining of formats and platforms that I was using to manage my information and to write, as well as communicate with others. In other words, I was going Google.
One other key factor that led me to the Chromebook was, quite honestly, motherhood. We lived in a large house. My primary role has been raising Luna, so I have been a mom and at-home. We are natural learners, so we are together all of the time. Early on in Luna’s childhood, my personal time was limited, as most parents understand. As she become older and her interests and independence have grown, my creative life has opened up more. But keeping a computer meant keeping and maintaining a desk space and being slave to software. The large home and attachment parenting weren’t conducive for writing whenever I wanted to do so. A better solution was something portable, but I did not want to spend the money for typical, traditional computers or laptops, and a tablet (we have a few) wasn’t fulfilling my requirements. Fortunately, timing and chemistry were aligned and in my favor: Chromebooks were born and were just my style.
Scot bought it for me in winter of 2015 and I have never looked back. I think it’s the bee’s knees.
And you have heard my pros. There are a couple of cons. Occasionally, the track pad needs a heavier tap, or else the cursor will not land where I want it and, suddenly, I am typing in the middle of a sentence in the previous paragraph, so I need to keep a sharp eye on that. Also, it could be my imagination, but I also feel that the keyboard needs an extra push. So, essentially, what I am saying is that there could be some keyboard issues. I also would like to see a black-and-white modification to the photo editor. Other than that I have nothing but great things to say about it, except that I think that you should check it out. Oh, and stickers not included.
Here are some helpful links should you be interested in moving on from pricey PC or Mac and the respective software to something light, versatile, affordable, manageable, transforming.