Jon and Gail experience the Irony of Simplicity

April 15, 2011

Our eight week journey in a small camper van requires simplicity and thrift. It does not, however, require us to be miserly or uncomfortable. We are also loath to give us some of the elements of our lives in an electronic age. So our baggage includes cell phones, GPS, computer, I-pods and other electrically powered devices. Instead of lugging CDs that fit into the 10-CD changed built into the van by an earlier owner we have all our favourite music on an I-pod that we plug into the stereo system through an FM transmitter and the lighter socket.

One of the issues that we had to face before we left was how to power all these devices. A sale at Canadian Tire prompted me to purchase an AC/DC inverter. This hooks to the vehicle battery and converts a DC power stream into an alternating current that can be used to charge all the various batteries in other devices. Fortunately, in a VW van the vehicle battery is accessible from the passenger compartment and the inverter is near at hand. We purchased a couple of adapters that allow us to plug USB cables into the AC outlet to charge the computers. Other devices plug in as required and we end up with a tangle of wires running from the battery to all points in the van.

After a couple of days it does not seem so strange that while we are cooking on a one burner gas stove and sitting in a foldable canvas chair, we are also surfing the internet on a local wifi, making reservations on a cel phone and listening to digital music through a seven speaker car system. Ah, the merger of simplicity and complexity.

That’s what’s on my mind today.

Jon Hall

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