I’ve spent a better part of my life outside or working out at the gym to stay in shape. I’ve explored places that I only imagined existed, creating life long memories in the process. I have been fortunate to share those experiences with family and friends. As I’ve grown up, I’ve seen (what I think could be) a correlation between technology and inactivity. I’m no professional, by any means. I am only speaking from my experience which some of you (I think) can relate.
20 years ago, if I wanted to explore a wilderness that I had never been to, I’d go down to a map store; purchase a topographic (topo) map for $12, study it and make a determination on which areas I wanted to discover. Fast forward to today, where I can simply pull up Google Earth (which is free) and spend as much time determining where I want to go. Ruling out places I might’ve considered if I had used a topo map. Using technology has paid off by allowing me to go places without driving or stepping a foot on the area where my mind says, “those places don’t look so great. I’ll stay away from them and try a different trek”. Why do I do that? Maybe Because it doesn’t look as appealing on a 3 dimension map? Maybe because it’s close to a road I never know existed? Whereas if I didn’t have technology, I would have no choice but to explore some of those areas I might rule out. Using a mouse instead of my two-feet: which saved gas and miles on my feet, to explore that area.
Am I really being more productive by using technology to find areas to explore or am I missing out on an amazing experience?
Another example that comes to mind, relates to Mixed Martial Arts. Two-decades ago, you’d need to go to a gym and learn specific martial arts moves from an instructor. However, today you can simply YouTube a martial art move and learn it from watching a virtual instructor on your phone. You’re saving time and money by not putting yourself in a class to learn it hands on. But is it worth missing out on the actual physical activity or adventure of a real world experience? Is a visual aid on your cell phone, laptop, TV, or tablet (that you store in your memory bank with minimal rewards, physical activity and muscle memory) better?
As a young man, in History class, I remember seeing Mount Rushmore this incredible granite rock with presidential faces (carved all by hand). I vividly remember going there with my family a few years after. Once we arrived, I was shocked at how much smaller it looked in person, compared to the years of history books depicted through awe-inspiring photographs. Nowadays, I would have researched it online and read comments like “Mount Rushmore is smaller in person than you’d think,” and may have chosen a different spot to explore. I can’t say for sure, but maybe we would have taken it into consideration and spent more time in Yellowstone, but why? Maybe because technology does hinder us from being active or experiencing things in real life: experiencing things with a click of a few buttons. In hindsight, I’m very happy we went and glad the Internet wasn’t a factor of influencing the decision to partake in a great family trip otherwise we could have missed out on an incredible piece of American history.
Weather technology has some of us outdoor folks planning trips around the climate, i.e. good weather = great and bad weather = bad! We now have the same tools meteorologist do. Doppler radar weather forecast models, which provide, hour-by-hour projected forecasts, humidity levels, and chance of precipitation (down the exact percentage). I can tell you first hand, I’ve let this 24/7 technological weather phenomena effect some of my outdoor adventures. Most of the time, choosing not to for a valid reason but other times: just because I didn’t want to deal with less-then-perfect conditions. As a kid, I can remember loving the idea of it raining or snowing while out hunting with my father. Believe it or not, some of my most memorable hunts and outdoor adventures happened in the worst weather possible.
I challenge anyone reading this blog, who can relate to these scenarios, to leave technology out of the equation once in a while and do something without the influence of technology. Do something that you want to do, be spontaneous and not something that was influenced by technology. You might be surprised how free and fun the outcome can be.