Do We Really Need All This Technology When We Travel?Posted on Jan 22, 2012 | 43 comments
A few months ago my Iphone slipped from my daughter's hand, found the end of a nail protruding from the floor boards of our dining room, and died.
Now this is something none of us ever want to experience, but I have to say - I'm glad it happened.
I never bothered getting my phone fixed and that has made all the difference. Sure, I missed it at first, but as time passed I quickly realized I was missing a lot more when I had the phone around. I found myself observing more. Showing patience. Listening. I started playing with my kids more at the playground.
I always thought technology was a necessity as we travel in the modern world, but looking at it now, I think we might actually be better travelers without it.
Not a day goes by without me finding a blog post, a tweet, or a status update about someone losing or breaking their precious little gadgets. If you know a traveler, then you know a seemingly tragic story involving technology.
Cameras get stolen. Phones get lost. Files get corrupted. And the worst part is that once you get slammed by technological tragedy, you absolutely have to pony up the money and get yourself a replacment that will make everything better.
It is an endless cycle.
I travel to experience the new. I travel to observe and take in what the world has to offer. No doubt technology can help add to my perspective and improve my travels, but are these benefits enough to outweigh the distraction and inconvenience that modern technology can cause?
Do I really want to become reliant on a laptop that might break in the middle of nowhere and cause me to spend my travel funds and search for a replacement?
10 years ago in China I spent endless hours searching hostels and Chinese bookstores for English translations of any half-decent book. These searches were experiences. I met people in these bookstores - I saw things. I became a semi-expert on English literature because it was the only thing I could get my hands on.
What travel experiences will a Kindle get me?
I don't hate technology. I use it each and every day. But I can't help but think that my travels might be whole lot more enlightening if I just leave the phones and pads at home.
I'm curious what you all think of technology and travel. My guess is that many of you agree with me, but you're not planning on parting ways with you Iphone any time soon. We will see.
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