You may not have considered how important the laptop is to us. But think for a moment. It is our English language newspaper, our instantaneous mail service to keep our families informed of our whereabouts, our evening's entertainment if we decide to watch a movie, our glossary of French history and customs, our dictionary in English and French, our resource library for our day trips here and there, and soon, our connection to NFL football. What a device! (And I should mention, it also hinders us from learning French and meeting French people. A two-edged sword.)
By way of contrast, my first trip to Europe in 1972, I got home to the USA before most of my postcards did. I was gone seven or eight weeks, perhaps, and never called home. Who could afford it? On our long bicycle trip to Europe together in 1987, Nancy and I made one phone call home, read a newspaper maybe three times, rode in an automobile once, saw no movies and were cut off from everyone (and everything) we knew for three months. It was wonderful, actually, but we missed our dogs and friends and family.
Well, things have changed. Now, we bring our dog, some of our friends and family comes to visit, and we sleep in our own bed every night, and get up in the morning and check our e-mail.