How I Stay Connected With My Family From Afar

Let me start by saying that I’ve wanted to live in Los Angeles all my life. As much as I love my midwestern hometown, I knew I was destined for palm trees and year-round hiking, for a little more glamour in my everyday life, and to be surrounded by like-minded people (AKA people who take their coffee with almond milk and superfoods and eat raw cashew cheese more often than dairy).

However, I moved almost a year ago and know that no matter how long I’m here and no matter how much LA feels like home, I’ll always be homesick for my family. The hardest decision of my life was making a move to the place I wanted to be, knowing I was sacrificing weekly meals with my parents, and getting to see my 90-year-old grandma (who also happens to be my best friend) whenever I wanted. Especially with Mother’s Day coming up, I’ve had an extra hard time being so far apart.



My cure for missing loved ones: Portal from Facebook.

Portal from Facebook allows you to stay close to friends and family, and even your grandma, by making you feel like you’re in the same room — so even if you can’t be there in person, you can feel there. I’ve tried keeping up with friends and family on the other side of the country in just about every way possible but no former method has come close to feeling like we’re actually together until I tried Portal. I believe that the people who designed Portal truly know what it feels like to be homesick for the people you love. The idea behind this technology is to help people connect more regularly with the most important people in their lives. Portal’s Smart Camera pans to keep you centered in the frame, making you feel like you’re in the same room with them.



Smart video calling that feels at home anywhere. Plus, Alexa is built-in. Control your smart home, listen to your favorite music, watch the news and more, hands-free.

Say goodbye to moving your laptop around trying to get the right light for your call! Portal is a whole new kind of video calling device because it is essentially hands-free! The Smart Camera automatically pans and zooms to keep up with the person you’re talking to and widens the frame when more people enter the room, so you never miss a moment (can your phone do that?).

Plus, you can start and end calls just by using your voice. If I want to panic-call my dad and I’m working against a work deadline, I just say “Hey Portal, call Dad … ASAP”. It almost feels like I’m calling for him from another room like I used to call him to kill spiders. If I want to talk to my sister during a busy morning, I can talk to her while I’m making breakfast and she’s making lunch (we have a three-hour time difference), and it feels like we’re cooking together. The Smart Camera even adjusts when someone new enters the room and widens to include them in our call.

It has also made me feel better about missing family gatherings (my family likes to celebrate everything, from first-football-game tailgates to Memorial Day). Rather than just calling in and trying to talk to everyone on speakerphone, Portal from Facebook will make it feel just like I’m there. I’ll make my own Bloody Mary and tailgate the football game from the comfort of my own home.


Plus, the features you’re going to love:

AR Masks includes fun interactive masks, Story Time animates children’s stories for my nieces & nephews and Mic Drop, which is only available on Portal TV, makes for a silly performance from their favorite aunt. There’s also Alexa built-in, so you can control your smart home, get weather updates, and play your favorite music via apps like Spotify.

On Portal TV, you can watch movies and shows from Prime Video, CBS All-Access, Sling TV, and more. You can also watch Facebook Watch with friends, so it’s like you’re in the same room together (just don’t hold me responsible if you decide to watch shows with your friend that talks too much during movies). I love Portal TV because it’s all the tech devices I need rolled into one (so my tiny studio apartment doesn’t start to look like a spaceship).



No more “Wait... I can’t see you.” Portal’s Smart Camera automatically adjusts to stay with the action, whether you’re moving around the kitchen or chasing the kids through the living room.

Not to be dramatic, but I was having a borderline existential crisis. I was desperately homesick for my family but knew that if I moved back, I would miss the city that feels the most like home (it’s the ultimate FOMO). Portal from Facebook made me feel so much better about being apart from my family. If you’re apart from the people you love most, the ability to feel like you’re with them (even when you’re miles away) is priceless.

With Mother’s Day coming up, give the best gift of all: more of you!

This post was in partnership with Portal from Facebook, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.