“Hold on a minute – I just need to send a text.”
“Just a sec, I’m gonna Google it.”
Technology can be our greatest friend and our worst enemy. How many times have you seen people enthusiastically greet one another at a restaurant, but then sit down and whip out their phones? What connections have we missed with the people beside us? More poignantly, and disturbingly, how are we as parents teaching our kids to navigate this world of technology?
Most adults remember being a teenager, with all the angst and thrill that accompanies adolescence and the awkward drive to connect with others. In some ways, technology has benefitted our kids, while in other ways, it’s become a stumbling block to a fuller and more satisfying life. Studies show that Canadians are spending an average of three hours per day on their smartphones. Doctors in Scotland are literally prescribing a healthy dose of “nature” to their patients and “forest bathing” is catching on around the world.
Calgary explorer, Jamie Clarke, knows something about the great outdoors. He has summited Mount Everest twice, scaled the world’s Seven Summits, and crossed Arabia’s Empty Quarter by camel. But now, he might be facing the most challenging expedition yet: unplugging and crossing Mongolia on motorcycles with Khobe, his 18-year-old son, in a magnificent demonstration of reconnecting by disconnecting.
You’d think a motorcycle trip across Mongolia would prompt a desire for reliable technology, a blog, and perhaps a dedicated Instagram account (#tripofalifetime!). But not this trip. Like many parents, Clarke has become increasingly concerned with the addictive relationship his teenagers have developed with their smartphones. Instead of embracing outdoor adventures, they were opting out so they would never have to be disconnected from their Wifi.
“My kids were starting to avoid going out for real-life adventures for fear of missing out on what was happening on their phones. The realization that I fed this by giving them access to smartphones from day one weighs on me heavily,” Clarke says. His 18-year-old son, Khobe, understands. He is aware of the drive to always feel connected and agrees that this kind of technological addiction can be a problem.
So, Jamie and Khobe Clarke are doing something about it and disconnecting in a big way. On July 28, 2019, they will set out on a trip they will never forget, motorbiking across Mongolia, and climbing Mount Kuitan, the country’s tallest peak. Along the way, they plan on reconnecting with each other and this incredible planet on which we live.
Imagine the stories, the experiences, and the stunning vistas! But we’ll have to go old school on this story and wait until they get back home to find out how it went and check out their pictures.