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Travelling can be very lonely

It seems every time I turn around, technology has once again gotten the better of me. I recently flew to the Middle East, and as soon as I arrived at the airport, things had changed yet again. I walked to the kiosk to obtain my electronic boarding pass, and was pleased that finally the process has been perfected. I’m not sure why, but every time I tried to do this in the past, an error message came up ordering me to immediately see an official. I watched as the machine not only printed my boarding pass, but also spewed out my luggage tags with instructions on how to attach them to my suitcases. I was pretty pleased with myself, and started to walk to the baggage drop off area. There wasn’t any lineup so I stood and waited. I realized there was no attendant, and wondered if I was perhaps in the wrong area. Alas, a sign directed me to place my suitcases on the belt, which magically whisked them away into the bowels of the airport. I slowly waved goodbye to my bags, assuming I would never see them again. A moment later, my name appeared on a screen, along with my final destination, number of bags and a ‘thank you’. I was impressed, to say the least. I continued through customs, and with the use of my Nexus card, was able to walk toward my gate without speaking to anyone. I decided it was time for lunch and I sat in the boarding area, debating what to have. There were IPads everywhere, so I scanned one to see if they listed restaurants. Sure enough, I found what sounded perfect for my needs and even saw a menu. I clicked a few items, used my Apple watch to pay, and waited patiently. It took about 10 minutes, and a person walked over with my order, placed it in front of me and left, without so much as a word. After eleven hours in the air, I was glad to stretch my legs in Tel Aviv. As I made my way to immigration, I was directed to a series of kiosks, which asked me to enter my passport in a slot. I did so and a piece of paper, which included my photo, came out along with my passport. I presented my documents to an official, who said nothing and simply waived me on. Upon returning back to Canada, I made my way to the immigration hall and walked to the Nexus machines. Again I inserted my passport, looked into the little box, which scanned my retinas and received yet another piece of paper. I made my way to the baggage area where I called Park & Fly, entered a code on my ticket, and walked to a post where a shuttle was waiting. I arrived at the terminal and paid at a machine, saw my car, stepped in and drove home. I have a feeling we will no longer need people to whisk us through all facets of travel, but I do wish they would teach the technology to say a few words every now and then, because I get really lonely talking to myself.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, published author, award winning photographer and keynote speaker. Follow his adventures at

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