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Adventures for All

The Internet Isn’t the Problem

Some article with the clickbait headline of Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads (And Why You Shouldn’t Either) is making the rounds on Facebook. As you can guess, people are sharing it and crowing about their Internet-free childhood and all the fun they used to have sans computer. Or with slow Internet.

The gist is … kids were better off without the Internet. Because they got out and did stuff for real. You know, our parents said the same damn thing about TV. The computer – whether laptop, tablet or smartphone – is just this era’s TV. The handwringing is all the same, just with higher resolution and better sound. Call me a skeptic that all this rosy-viewed nostalgia is just so much bullshit. Let’s use the naming convention of the day and just call it NetShaming.

I first used the Internet when I was 23 and researching a paper for my Writing About Shakespeare class in college. Now, I’m going to regale you with a few choice bits of my Internet use that will prove that this article is wrong. And so are you if you’re jumping on its bandwagon. Let’s go in a relatively reverse chronological order as we examine how my Internet use directly translated into my real life:

THIS WEEKEND – Used the Internet to reset the idle on my Subaru Forester. I also used the Internet to play an online curling game, which helps me understand the strategy better for my “In Real Life” curling league. Oh, and I played against a Brazilian who helped me keep in practice with my growing Portuguese vocabulary.

EARLIER THIS YEAR – My wife used the Internet to sign me up for a class at the Aboriginal Living Skills School. There, I learned how to – in real life! – make traps, weapons and fire with sticks. I disinfected water and learned to identify edible woodland plants … and quite possibly a variety of ways to wipe my butt with nature’s gifts.

LAST YEAR – Booked a flight to Vietnam, where I did stuff In Real Life that are too numerous to list here, including running a 10K in Hanoi. I keep in touch with people I met during that trip on the Internet.

ANY PREVIOUS NUMBER OF YEARS – Booked flights to, accommodations in and activities in: Australia, Belize, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and Sweden. Thanks, Internet!

FIVE YEARS AGO – Raced in my first 24-hour mountain bike race with people I met on Facebook in a community for Phoenix-area mountain bikers. Facebook, in case you don’t know, is (say it with me, brothers and sisters!) on the Internet.

UNTIL ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO – Used the Internet to book gigs. I played nearly 200 shows at regional venues. In real life. Because of the Internet.

10 YEARS AGO – Formed a band using some old friends and a drummer we found … wait for it … on the Internet.

That’s a decent summary. Look at the content of this blog to see other stuff I did with help from the Internet.

And I didn’t grow up surrounded by technology. Still, I think you need to quit blaming the tools. It’s not the computer, the tablet, the Internet, the smartphone or whatever that’s the problem.

It’s you. If your kids are wasting their lives on the Internet, look at how you use it. See any parallels?

Now what if – what if? – you use your Internet access to plan adventures? To research activities? To get shit done? Will your kids emulate that at all? Will they use it to meet future bandmates? To plan vacations? To learn how to do cool things in real life?

You betcha. Now quit blaming the devices.

A Look Back at Defunct Sports Teams

zv7qrnb The upcoming hockey season has me thinking about all the defunct sports teams from Arizona’s history. Yeah, I don’t get very excited about the Arizona Coyotes, a team that’s done just about everything possible to antagonize and alienate its potential fan base. I’d trade them in a second to have our minor league PhoenixContinue Reading

Great Backpacking Destination: Iceland

Iceland is made for backpacking. It has a wealth of trails that are supported by smart amenities and relatively easy to access. The country has embraced the backpacker, with plenty of touring groups, sports shops and hostels. Here are some other reasons why it’s a great backpacking destination. Incredible Scenery Icelanders realize what makes the countryContinue Reading

World’s Best Museums: My Top 5

You know I’m not really going to tell you that my Top 5 list is the sole authority on the world’s best museums. This is just a snapshot of what I like … and I want to hear your responses. To compile my list, I considered a few factors: Weirdness, content and different perspectives just toContinue Reading

Visiting Filming Locations Around the World

Years ago, I got hooked on A Game of Thrones. I was surprised to see HBO take the ambitious step of turning A Game of Thrones into a series – and doing a pretty good job of it too. Sure, some of my favorite background characters didn’t make the cut; a few situations changed too.Continue Reading

Things I Learned at Primitive Living Skills Class

This weekend, I took a primitive living skills course at the Aboriginal Living Skills School. The class, called “The Provident Primitive,” started at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. We returned to the school in Prescott at about 6 p.m. the next day. Cody Lundin, who you may have heard of from the television show “Dual Survival,”Continue Reading

Overlooked Oregon – Places Beyond the Hype

Tell someone you’re going to Portland, and you’ll get two reactions: “Ugh, why are you going there?” This is usually people from cities like Chicago or New York who can’t fathom that there’s actually cool stuff in other places. “Powell’s! VooDoo Donuts! Rogue Brewery!” All great, but … all plummeting toward cliché status. I madeContinue Reading

The Truth About Volcanoes in Iceland

  Just so you know, there are no volcanoes in Iceland. It’s all a giant hoax perpetrated by Icelanders because they love hearing the rest of the world try pronouncing their words. In fact, Iceland had 278 percent more landmass before the news coverage of Eyjafjallajokull caused them to cry so much from laughter that theirContinue Reading

Oregon Blimp Hangar Ranks Among Coolest Aviation Museums

It never fails to amaze me how many aviation museums I can stumble across. My latest one is the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon. To be honest, I didn’t even plan to stop. I’ve seen more aviation museums than I can remember. And the Tillamook Air Museum doesn’t exactly have a huge collection. My plansContinue Reading

Quick Guide to Easy Icelandic Words

My ears love the Icelandic language. My tongue, though, hates it. Just about every attempt at saying a few bits (aside from “takk fyrir,” the phrase for “thank you”) earned me a few chuckles. I still had fun trying, and I think it’s good for any traveler to try learning a few words – noContinue Reading