I agree with what was said above..
about travel being easier than before. The world seems "smaller" because you can get anywhere you want rather quickly. In the 1700s people rarely traveled beyond 20 miles of their home. Now, there are plenty of people that work more than 50 miles from their home and travel there daily. On top of that you can get on a plane fairly cheap and visit Tampa for the weekend if you live in SC without thinking twice about it. People take daytrips that are more extensive than just packing up the wagon and heading into "town".
Communication is another thing..Facebook, Forums, Texting, phones, VIDEO phones, etc. etc. The internet in general has given rise to lots of things that make the world "smaller". I am in awe when my kids complain about how hard it is to write a school report..When I was in school we had to go to the library and use Encyclopedias.!! What 12 year old has even seen an Encyclopedia these days.??..another rant for another time..