think about this for a second- we are the last generation to know what life was like before the internet.
let that sink in.
my dad sailed (literally) into the port of new york almost 40 years ago with $200 in his pocket. a liverpool kid who dropped out of school to hitchhike around europe and somehow ended up on a 30 foot sailboat headed for america. there doesn’t seem to have been much fear there.. just a lot of cojones. i think now about if i could do that.. and to be honest, id probably have to google the route, read reviews of the type of boat we were sailing on, and watch some youtube videos about knot tying before i even decided to go. and then, after realizing there was no way i was going to be able to tie a fisherman’s knot i probably would have given up the idea altogether.
I’m going to go out on a really unstable, flimsy,slightly ridiculous limb here and say that if the internet had existed when my dad was thinking about coming to america, i may not have ever been born.
we have access to more information now than ever, and in many ways we are more connected to the world around us. thanks to technology like WhatsApp and Facebook, i can keep in touch with friends and family across the globe- but i am also way less likely to pick up the phone and actually call them. the downside to this information overload and hyper connectivity is that we are less likely to seek human interaction.. we get all the stimulation we need from an assortment of screens.
at any given time we can find the nearest bar, check sports stats, and find out if we should wear a sweater without even opening a window, but if we find ourselves without service, we might as well abandon any hope of ever eating again, figuring out where our friends are (why is everyone always late these days!?!?!?), or finding out that your high school bff is engaged, pregnant, and OMG SHE GOT A PUPPY.
traveling and exploring new places are ways to make conscious effort to connect with surroundings, though it is also a time in which we find myself actively seeking out connectivity through technology. (true or false, backpackers seem to be on a perpetual wifi hunt). the key is balance- and knowing when to turn off the computer.
(but gillian… that cathedral would look totally awesome with an instagram filter and a little color enhancement! #cathedral #whatabigchurch #history #travel #jesuswasmyhomeboy#heyabbot)
i won’t pretend I’m going to be one of those anti-interneters- i will totally be one of the ‘do you have free wi-fi’ offenders. expect lots of instagramming, facebooking, and blogging over the next month or so. but i will also be making a huge effort to be PRESENT when i am not spending time doing those things, and the time i do use internetting (yeah its a verb now) will be limited. i will not be texting while sipping a colombian coffee in the jungle. i will not be facebooking in the middle of the bolivian salt flats, and i will not be posting real time reviews of the nazca lines on yelp. i will be connected, but i will be present to the moment as well.
lets start today. put your phone down next time you have a conversation. make some eye contact. smile at a stranger on the street. say good morning, good afternoon, and good night. no joke, these things are scientifically proven to make you more awesome.