The Andicdote Trip - My Family Travels

We are headed southbound on our way to Bend, Oregon  for four days of mountain biking and rock climbing. Yesterday we finished our four day backpack on the Olympic Peninsula. We all had an amazing time!  We took full advantage of our one sunny afternoon by swimming in the chilly pacific ocean. We all got to see tons of seals, bald eagles, and sea stars, and a few lucky folks spotted some very shy sea otters.In Oregon, the  rock climbing and mountain biking were exhilarating.  We tried rappelling down a cliffside, and ended our day with local huckleberry ice cream and a swim at Steelhead Falls. Jumping off a rock into the cool waters below was a highlight !

My blackberry has a pull on me that is both seductive and addictive. I have to set firm limits. But I still find myself resisting sneaking a peek when conversing with others. While knowing where the cheapest gas is important especially this summer, I worry about the effect this technology is having on us as a teenage camping group. I am a digital native, which means I never knew a life without the internet. My camping friends tried to have a “get to know you” conversations and, I was not surprised that the first question some were asking each other was “what video games do you play?” I always hate to watch this happen, as I am naturally much more partial to a world where everyone is communicating face to face and this communication is enhanced through immersion in nature, which is the point of this camping trip with no technology.

A conversation with a nervous girl day in Portland sums up my fear of our reliance on digital communication. “Can I please bring my cell phone on the van with me?” she implored. “No we all agreed to be cell phone free form this point on,” I said trying not to sound too flip. We have so many wonderful people in the van, I would hate for you to be distracted. These people are going to become some of your best friends. “

“But there are bound to be some awkward silences, the girl responded, when I feel them, I can text a friend from home and then I won’t feel so awkward.”

I feel that this camping trip experience is a great antidote to the pull of the digital society I live in. Three weeks away from text messages and electronic games has had a soothing effect. Our evening meetings give every camper a chance to address issues face to face. There is time to listen, empathize with others and communicate in the same ways we have been for the past ten thousand years. Life immersed in the elements can give real life consequences and thus learning opportunities.

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