She carried the link with her on the airplane, exchanging witty comments and gossip with her friends through small boxes on its high-resolution screen. “I’m going to miss you so much!” Cindy typed. “You’d better keep in touch!” She promised postcards and souvenirs, though she rejected Mike’s request for a pound of Thai opium. “Don’t worry,” she told Cindy. “You can always text me.”

She spent layover hours in hard plastic chairs, legs folded and link open on her lap. Boredom was a thing of past generations: even when time zones changed and her friends fell asleep, there were emails and message board posts to respond to.

Fourteen hours on a bus in Cambodia were spent sleeping and chatting. Through the lens of her linkcam the endless rice paddies were converted to 72 web-safe colors and uploaded to her album, where they immediately generated a flurry of posts. “I’ve never seen so much open space!” Kim said. “Promise to post more!”

The neon-lit shore of Koh Phangnan under a full moon was converted to a scattered collection of notes for her travel blog, and as she boarded the boat back to the mainland, she chatted as she organized the notes into an update. “Sounds like fun,” Leah said, and they gossiped about Leah’s coworkers as the crystal-blue ocean spread out in every direction.

Months later, back on home soil, she sat in a diner with several friends recounting stories they’d already read on her blog. “It’s nice to be home,” she said with a smile. “It’s only been a couple days, but I feel like I never left.”