Technology is Not the Enemy – You Are

The question “What is wrong with the world today?” begs to be answered.

The answer may simply be “You.”

As technology reaches even the most remote places in the world, clearer and more reliably than ever before, another question comes to mind. I don’t believe that technology is the enemy. And no, I don’t believe you are either. But this is important and you are listening, right?

Is this too much of a good thing?

When all the great and fabulous extras of our day to day lives (our smarter than smart phones, iPods, iPads and more) begin to take the joy out of the here and now ~ even on vacations, it is too much.

Technology is Not the Enemy

Our Fall Season has come to a close and while I have many adventures, thoughts and lessons to share with you over the next while, there is one very important thing we should chat about.

Your technology is destroying the wilderness!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love my gadgets. A lot. A whole lot, actually. And the Good Lord knows I absolutely live to share the photographs I take in the Alaskan wilderness with you online.

The problem comes in, as it became painfully and obnoxiously obvious this fall, at the point where people seem to be unable and unwilling to put it away. Turn it off.

At Pioneer Outfitters live and work year-round in the very remote Interior Alaska Mountains and it is incredibly beautiful and unspoiled.

Technology is not the Enemy

Technology is Not the Enemy

Never before, in all my years of leading guests and clients as we ride out across the Alaska tundra and through the forests and rivers have I turned to look back and seen these people texting on which ever smart phone or gadget they favored and brought into the wilderness and on their horse with them.

Never before have I encountered guests sitting on a log or a rock talking on their fancy GPS phones as I struggled to get horses unloaded, tents set up, a campfire started and dinner going.

And never have I seen such unparalleled disinterest in this magnificent land, the amazing creatures that roam freely and quite honestly, us.

Every year, every season, every adventure brings countless lessons to each of us in undeniable ways. My own resounding lesson for this season was not to ever bring up the fact that I have my very own satellite phone now. (I was pretty thrilled! Mine, all mine!)

That was all it took.

Daily, I was asked to borrow it, just to call home and check in with or check on a deal that was going on. It got to the point of transparent lies! “Oh, I would really like to call my Grandson, it is his birthday.” Only to remind this particular human later in camp that it was his Grandson’s birthday and he could call if he wished and be told by the human’s Father that that particular birthday was two months away.

Enough said.

Another point in this issue is that it isn’t only the guests and clients that are addicted to the technology.

It is everybody.

Technology is not the Enemy

We have always welcomed our Trainees with as much information ahead of time as possible to allow them to feel as much at home as they can in such a remote place and different than anything experienced lifestyle. Including reminding them to bring their laptops, iPads or whatnot’s.

The return on this thoughtfulness is a lack of connection here, to us, to what we are doing and to each other. It is the elimination of games and chats in the evenings, going over the day’s work and lessons, talking over the plans for the future and any sort of contentment to be found so far from home for many of them.

So lets so back to our first question. “What is wrong with the world today?

It is a lack of being present, here and now, in each others lives.

It is not looking at the gifts that surround us all, everyday, no matter where any of us may be. Those gifts, be it another human, a beautiful sunset, a flower growing out of a crack in the concrete, a ray of sunlight hitting a building just so or a magnificent wild critter encountered by chance are all there, for all of us to treasure.

It is up to you.

Technology is not the enemy.

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12 Responses to Technology is Not the Enemy – You Are

  1. I love love love your writing. This topic has been a discussion around our house for years – but especially lately. I have to learn how to stay connected to friends I only know online without ignoring friends and family I know in the flesh. It’s precarious territory and if I don’t figure it out, my life will resemble the remnants of what is left after a moose of epic proportions stomps all over it.

    Thanks for sharing. Now to just get with the plan.

    • Jane,
      Indeed, I went most of the season without even checking in online this fall for the first time. No posts to keep you apprised of what was happening, nothing. Now, I was torn terribly. I was so full-up feeling that the words simply were not coming… I simply had nothing to share with you (and the world) as it was a jumble of feelings that hadn’t even begun evolving into words.
      It wasn’t easy. But leaving it off was certainly easier than a brief check in. There was no distraction from the outside world, only what was happening here, with me, right now. (LOL! it might have been better for everyone here if I HAD been distracted!)
      Thank you for being here ~ And hey! You told me that you wanted to see pictures of anything still walking around! I was thinking of you when I saw this VERY unique and awesome critter (among other thoughts I was also having)!
      ~ Amber-Lee

      • I wanted to add this one comment but didn’t want to relate your experiences to the military, because there is no comparison. However, it seems to me that you are very generous in encouraging your guests to bring their gadgets. I wonder if there is a way that you could have tech time at scheduled times. My grandson told us that after basic training when they have zero contact with home and friends, they are awarded certain times when they are allowed to have their phones and devices. They lock them up otherwise and bring them out only at designated times.

        Like I said there is no comparison to the Alaska wilderness adventure and the military – but people who live and breathe technology need to be weaned off their devices while learning to appreciate nature and get totally immersed in the moment where NOW is all they have and where they rest, refresh, and renew.

        Just my thoughts – random though they be.

        • Oh no! Jane, I agree completely! LOL, but who would have ever thought this would have to be an issue with GUESTS and CLIENTS??
          People who have chosen to spend large amounts of time and money for an adventure- that they purposefully MISS!
          It is (yours) a great idea and plan- for the trainees and guides, certainly. A set tech-time. I voted for a sign-in on the wifi.
          I simply want people to love what they experience. And to do that, they must be present.
          Random or not, they are always welcome!!

    • It really was quite obnoxious, Ann.
      But more (and I detest having to admit it!), Terry was right long ago when he told me that allowing the trainees and the rest to have internet access would breed discontent and keep people from being “all there”- here- for what was happening here, right now. OUR dreams, OUR plans, OUR worries, OUR work.
      But I could see it so clearly this fall.
      LOL, don’t worry- Lots of photos!!
      ~ Amber-Lee

    • Kaarina,
      Do you know what kept going through my mind?
      “Grow up!” “How rude!”
      “What a waste of money.”
      Yep. But another thought was why shouldn’t they be rude? I mean, here on line it seems that is all we do- remind people to be nice, not rude, to be honest, not low-down liars, to ask permission and not steal our work or photos… Why should they listen? That the real problem is them. Us. People. Him, her, them.
      And then they are not happy. But if we warn them, “this will ruin your adventure, this will make you very unhappy…” they either wont listen at all or THAT will anger them. No matter what it is.
      See why I was having a hard time finding the words?
      There is no greater joy on earth than to do what I do. None.
      Please don’t steal MY joy too, I would like to say. I want to share it all ..with YOU.
      Thank you for coming over! Some of the pictures I took this year, I captured because I knew that you would see what I saw.
      ~ Amber-Lee

  2. This is wonderful and sad. Your observation of the changes in the behaviour of your guests is disheartening. But I agree with you – technology is not the enemy. It sure is addictive, though, and fun. But we have to come to terms with its use or how can we expect the children of today to do it.
    You Go Girl – tell ‘em!

    • Lori!
      How wonderful to see you! It really is disheartening. It is sincerely and sneakily addictive. We need, we as all humans, NEED to use it smart. There is nothing wrong with turning it off. Our parents, grandparents and ancient ancestors all survived and thrived without it- we have it, but it cannot be allowed to ruin what we work so hard to build, grow and protect. Our friendships and relationships, our careers and businesses, our children and families.
      Thank you, Lori.
      ~ Amber-Lee

  3. We are all wired for love and connection to each other. Only when there’s no ability to connect do we remember that love and connection to God is profoundly felt in nature, and relationships are built through teamwork while enjoying it together, too. It takes a disciplined person to put the stuff away and be present, as you said. I admire people who do that. I’ve had a phone for 9 months. I’m leaving it alone more and more. I love your thoughts. If I were to visit I would be thrilled to have no satellite / internet access.

    • Betsy,
      The lack of interest (internally) and loyalty only began as the availability of sat. and internet here in Chisana…as it has grown and tech along with it, so has the discontent.
      I always have to stop and think about that sentence. That fact.
      Thank you for being here, Betsy.

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