Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The View of Travel Continues to Change

A few weeks ago I talked about the Hudson River Valley in New York State and about how nothing is new over there.  I talked about all the old mansions, the old restaurants, the drive in theaters, the aerodrome and so on.  I like the old ways.  Am I against technology?  No.  I take my cell phone with me all the time and have my app on there so I can get from place to place with my reservations in tact.  But one fact remains and that is that everywhere I go, I see people looking at their cell phones more than at the world around them.  That does worry me.

When I was a kid we had telephone booths.  Over the years they went from the thing that you put a dime in to the thing that you put a quarter in to the thing that you used a calling card for to a thing you used a credit card for to a monument to a bygone era.  We were taught that humans only used about 10% of their brains.  I think that may have been right, because now that we have all the cell phones and smart phones with constant access to friends, family, internet, news and what have you; people can't get enough input.  Well, I say calm down Johnny Five.  Enough is enough.

Tourism would suggest that a lot of people agree.  The latest thing in tourism is getting off the grid.  Getting away from it all.  Tourism goes through some amazing trends of it's own.  We've seen the all inclusive resort.  We've seen the cruise.  We've seen the green resorts.  We've see Air Bnb.  Now, places are advertising that they can get you away from your own technology and make you feel better about the world around you.  They can get you back to basics and pry you from Facebook to look at the amazing world that has been provided for us by mother nature.

Now, you're accommodations don't have to look like an Earthship to be off the grid.  They could be in a resort hotel.  There are a lot of places offering to take you off the grid and let you truly relax.  Take that brain that you are suddenly overloading and turn it off for a while.  Forget about how many likes you have on Facebook.  Forget about the office or your Wall Street investments for a while and just relax.  St. Vincents and Grenadines is an entire country that offers  to help you get off the smart phones and just be.  Try it.  The ocean is an amazing thing and it doesn't require a smart phone to experience it.  You can post your pictures to Pinterest later.  Take a swim, remember what your kids look like and get them off the video games for a while.  Turn off the TV, Netflix, Chromecast, The Firestick, the Roku, HBO, and Showtime.  TiVo that stuff and catch up with it when you get back.  It's not like you have to miss anything.  Just save it for later.

Medieval towns and castles have been standing for centuries.  No technology required.  Take time to visit one.  Many of them are boasting these days that they are a tech free or digital free zone.  They are everywhere from Europe to Africa to Asia and beyond.  Don't look up history--walk through it.  I worry that with the ability to spend your time online watching the world that people won't go rushing out to see it.  My son would rather play video games and text with his girlfriend than take a walk on a beautiful day on the banks of a fabulous river gorge.  What's up with that?

But people are finding that the very social media that they love and can't live without is turning on them.  How many stories are we hearing these days about employers spending their time on Facebook checking out the employees and finding out things that they didn't want to know.  People are losing out on jobs because of stupid things that they may have posted on social media years ago and forgot all about.  We all need to realize that social media has a very limited benefit base.  I use it to keep up with old friends from where I used to live and to share photos and this blog.  My life is not Facebook.  My son said one thing on Facebook three years ago that meant nothing and was suspended from school for two weeks.  We all need to put this in it's place.  It's social.  It's media.  Put it down and go out and live.  It will be there when you get back.  You can catch up then.

The United States is so tech happy that we've had to work very hard to make places where you can get away from it.  You can look around and find lodges that specialize in technology free vacations.  They are great.  You know, you get to do some cool stuff with the family that you will get to know again, and see what mother nature has to offer.  When I was a kid I spent some time with the Amish and I thought it was amazing.  Well, now it's a trend.  Look up to see the sunrise or the sunset.  See a moose or a bear or a dear or an eagle.  

There are places that will teach you to herd cattle.  There are places that are designed to look at the northern lights.  Whatever you never thought you wanted to learn about or see and do is becoming more and more readily available as people long to get away from the amazing technology that they created.  Family time is wonderful.  Our kids grow up so fast that if we blink we'll miss it.  Why stare at a smart phone and miss out on all of that.  I see people on dates where I work and they are on their cell phones and don't even look at each other.  That's nuts.

So, take advantage of the new revolution in travel.  Get off the grid.  Power down, disconnect, sign off, and spend some time the way nature intended.  Just remember, The Grand Canyon is the most popular tourist destination in the world, and it's mostly off the grid.  Just sayin'.

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