A hotel booking site is spying on me...

2016-07-25 13:39 - Anje Rautenbach
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It’s in our human wandering DNA to dream.

I dream a lot. 

Every day I get a daily e-mail from a booking site telling me that the prices have dropped in a specific town. It’s like my daily bread, but just in e-mail form.

Today’s e-mail said, “Prices are the cheapest it has been in ages in Botswana”, yesterday’s e-mail  advertised  that there are great deals in Kenton-on-Sea, the day before that they called be my name, “Anje, You deserve a break in Morocco”.

A break? Now who can argue with that?

These e-mails are not a coincidence; the random countries and cities don’t march off to my inbox by accident. I Google it; today Botswana, yesterday Kenton-on-Sea and the day before that Morocco. 

They are spying on me (and I like it).

But the robot sending these e-mails is probably more confused by my wandering DNA than what I am.

Nothing is consistent about my searches. I plan up to a dozen getaways a day and it usually ranges from extremely local, to domestic, to our neighbours in Africa to way up north and further east across the Indian Ocean.

And even though I have long term travel goals of saving and planning for a big trip next year, I’m always looking for a quick escape as soon as possible – ASAP – now.  The last minute specials usually screw with my need to flee big time. When I see flight specials the search party continues and it ventures off to European beauties and Asian splendours. My mind wanders in the direction of the “book flight” button on my screen, doing things on the cheap and returning with empty pockets and an ATM message calling off the relationship, rejecting and resenting me for all the poor choices I’ve made.

Every now and then I seek help from my friend, Siri.

“Siri?” I ask.

“What can I do for you today?”, she replies.

 “How much can I get for one kidney?”

“Okay, let me check that”, she answers and with no judgment in her voice she says, “Here’s what I’ve found for how much can I get for one kidney?”

“Geez, Siri, I was kidding”, I reply in shock.

Robotic as ever she tries, “ha”, long pause, “ha”.

“I was just kidney-ing with you”, I say.

She ends the conversation with, “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Can you repeat it?”

Ja, of course you didn’t get it, Siri.

With my kidneys neatly tucked away I open up a map and zoom in and out. Tiny towns, not too far away, are dotted along forgotten roads in the Karoo and up the east coast from Port Elizabeth. My wandering DNA sends another search party out and my head is cooking up one neat, inexpensive getaway.

I send a message to a friend and ask, “Are you busy over the weekend and do you have a sleeping bag with extra blankets?”

She replies (almost as robotic as Siri), “No and yes. Why?”

“I know it is winter, but let’s go camping for one night? Petrol, food and camping costs won’t be more than R700 each” I type.

Without asking where we are going, she sends a simple thumbs-up emoji and two words, “I’m in”.

And just like that I had a getaway planned - quick, painless, local and inexpensive with no empty pockets or tear-jerking break-ups with the bank.

It’s in our human DNA to dream; it is in our wandering DNA to travel.

Hours later I get an e-mail from the same booking site telling me that the prices have dropped in Norway.

When did I search Norway?

It’s in our human wandering DNA to dream.

* Anje Rautenbach is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook,Twitter  or on Instagram!

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