When I travel, I like to leave the comforts of home at home. Traveling is supposed to be about trying something new. About experiencing a different culture and going a bit outside of your comfort zone. In my mind, re-creating a carbon copy of your everyday life somewhere else is a wasted opportunity.
That said, there is one thing that I have always missed when going abroad. Those who know me, know that I have a bit of an addiction to certain HGTV shows. And whenever I go anywhere outside the US, I always lament that I must put those habits on hold.
Now, before you call me a hypocrite, let me explain myself. In my opinion, there is a significant difference between recreating your entire home and routine in another country or taking an opportunity to relax after a long day with a guilty pleasure that is familiar to you and that you know you will enjoy.
In my mind, watching a TV show before retiring for the evening is akin to reading a good book. And who here has never brought a book from home when traveling? It used to be one of my favorite past times and learning resources.
As I discovered years ago, when vacationing in another country, the odds of watching your favorite channel and show on local TV are slim to none. Every place has its own programming in its own language, and that is, of course, fair enough. And this is where I thought the internet comes to the rescue. Theoretically, all I have to do is go to HGTV’s website, and I can rewatch any episode from earlier in the day with their on-demand streaming service.
Well not so fast as it turns out. For several reasons that have been made clear to me by those more in the know, watching an American TV online video abroad does not work. The first time I heard that my heart sank, figuratively speaking of course. After all, it is just a TV show. Still, I was not impressed.
Enter my friend Jake to the rescue. He and his technological wisdom introduced me to something called a virtual private network, or VPN in tech lingo. I’m not sure of the exact details and how it does it, but basically a VPN lets you digitally pretend you’re in the US when you’re actually somewhere else in the world. And that, in turn, allows you to watch anything you could when were back at home.
And you know what? It works like a charm. On my recent Mexico trip, after a long day of exploring and experiencing, I was able to kick back and enjoy my guilty pleasures for thirty minutes or so every evening. Does life get any better?
If that sounds like heaven to you, Jake hooked my up with a service called Express VPN. Take a look. But, he also said that any other just like it would do. Because you’re streaming video, the important thing to check is that the VPN speed test shows good enough performance to watch without any interruptions. If you go with a VPN company that is too slow, you might as well just bring that book, since reading it is all you will be able to do.
I only talked about the US and shows from American websites, but I have been assured that this will work for any country in the world. So for all my friends in England and other parts of the world, the next time you find yourself in Asia or visiting me, you can just follow the same steps.
And there you go. Maybe this post wasn’t as interesting to you like some of my other ones, but if you’re a kindred spirit when it comes to travel habits, I wholly recommend this is something you investigate.