Technological innovations in ICTs have unleashed new educational practices worldwide. Most higher education institutions nowadays use different kinds of e-learning. In this paper we will show that constraining local conditions have triggered fast adoption of mobile technology in the distance education – coined m-learning - by the University of Pretoria. Because many distant students in South Africa only have a mobile device instead of a computer at their disposal, the University of Pretoria was prepared to adopt m-learning quite early. While ten years ago most South African distance students only had simple mobile devices, without the possibility to access internet, the UP resorted to m-learning, even before the conditions for optimal use of m-learning were present. This was only possible by transforming the innovative idea of m-learning in a first experimental phase to the local South African context. Because the m-learning experiments at the University of Pretoria consisted of both elements of adoption and transformation, the introduction of m-learning should be framed a traveling idea. We will also show that the process of adaptation stopped once the local constraints vanished, that is, once more distance students obtained smartphones.