As many of our readers know, my family and I have spent the past 7 years traveling the world while my husband played basketball. We had our first daughter in December of 2004 and left for Japan in August of 2005. You can only imagine the disappointment of our family members when their daughter, son, granddaughter/niece/cousin left the country for a 10-month-season in Japan. I was a newlywed, and a 22 year-old new mom, who was living in a foreign country with very few english speakers in the small little town that we were living in. Our first few weeks were extremely difficult, as I was lonely, and even bordering depression in such an isolated setting. It was too expensive to call home every day, and I needed to find a way to get connected. It was actually my husband’s agent who told me about Skype, primarily as a way for us to stay connected with him throughout the season, without having to pay international calling fees. I can honestly say that Skype has helped get me through the past 7 years.
Launched back in August 2003, Skype allows you to stay connected with friends, family, acquaintances and business partners across the globe, as though they are right there in the room with you. When I started using Skype back in 2005, it was still relatively new and most of my family members were unfamiliar with the process. I can’t tell you how many times I had friends and family go buy web cams and spent hours walking them through the download and set-up process (we are talking grandmas and grandpas who were using computers for the first time). With video chat capabilities, you can see your loved ones and allow them to take part in special moments. As a mom, Skype has played an integral role in my ability to keep family members connected, and allow them to watch my girls grow up as we traveled the world. Grandma got to see Kira’s first steps, Papa got to see his newest granddaughter roll over, and Daddy got to see his day-old daughter when he was unable to make it home for her birth. When we lived in Estonia, I started applying for jobs a few weeks before we headed home. I got a call back after submitting my resume, did a phone interview (using my Skype credits), followed up with a Skype interview via video chat, and got the job–without ever leaving my living room!
In fact, Skype has played a key role in the development, launch and growth of HappyHourMom.com. Launched in May of 2009, Happy Hour Mom was launched by myself and fellow traveling basketball wife and mom, Toni Danielson. In the past 3 years we have only physically been in the same room twice, but see each other almost every day via Skype or Facebook Chat. I currently live in California, and Toni lives in Minnesota. To show you just how much Skype has become a part of my life, I thought I’d share the average “day in the life” of this happy hour mom…
While living in Japan, Skype was my connection to my life back in the United States–both business and pleasure. First thing in the morning I would turn on my computer or phone and connect to Skype to see if anyone back home was online. Our average morning would be one of the following:
- I would connect with my mom and put the computer on the kitchen table so she could “have breakfast with us.” My girls squeeze together on one end of the table so that they are both in the video, and they talk away. It would usually be a battle to see who could talk the loudest or get Nana’s attention first, but was a great way for everyone to feel connected–almost as though we were just around the corner. Sometimes my mom would get one of the girls’ books out and read them a story via video chat. It is incredible how Skype allowed us to keep such a personal connection with those back at home.
- I would connect with Toni to discuss HHM. When it comes to designing new banners or updating the site, it is sometimes difficult to do so by trying to explain verbally. So we were thrilled when we figured out how to share our screens with one another via Skype. I am able to click a button and Toni can see everything on my screen, it is incredible! We are able to collaborate and create without ever stepping foot in the same room.
- I would connect with my boss to discuss what needed to be done for the day. We would often send one another files that needed to be reviewed/edited. If it weren’t for Skype and my ability to connect in such a real way from across the globe, I don’t think I would have been blessed with the opportunity to work from home while we traveled.
“It’s time to say more and stay human. It’s time for Skype.”
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Skype via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Skype.