I honestly cannot imagine being an expat when all you had were snail mail and very expensive phone calls. So much has changed over the past 20, 10 and even 5 years. Do you remember what life was like before things like email, digital photos, VoIP phones, Skype, My Space (does anyone use My Space anymore?) and Facebook? Now imagine that life being thousands of miles away from everything you know, in a place where you cannot speak the same language, remember which side of the road to drive on, or even figure out what milk to buy.
Then there are things like SlingBox, iTunes, and online video streaming. I know there are expats living in rural parts of the world or places where some of these items are forbidden, but for many of us, these technologies make life so much easier. Just imagine how grumpy I would be if I couldn't watch all the same junk TV that I watched back in the United States. (However if you knew the television programming I watched, that may not be such a bad thing.)
One of the hardest things about being overseas is missing family and friends. One can adapt to the food, language, landscape, and culture but there is no substitute for our loved ones. But with all the technology today, the distance doesn't always seem so far apart.