Sunday, March 27, 2011

WWE Smackdown: Technology vs. Culture

Elliott’s concern in his article “Savor the Trip, Don’t Tweet It” is that new technological advancements are ruining the way people travel. Traveling “…meant leaving the world you knew for a world you didn’t,” but with new technology, spontaneous travel is “…at risk of extinction” (Elliott 1). In today’s world people do not have to worry about many things. They have become extremely reliant upon their computers, smart phones, and I-pods to complete daily tasks for them. When depending on things that are so familiar and convenient, the spontaneity and happenstance is taken out of travel. Many people are beginning to question why they should take the risk traveling when they can see everything in the world through their computer. Elliott makes the argument that if you are looking at life through a camera, you are not truly experiencing your surroundings. By relying on technology while traveling, you’re only seeing the sights, not living them. You’re not really traveling until you can feel the culture moving around you. This cannot be done without turning off the phone in your pocket. Elliott wants the reader to think about how important updating your status is when you’re looking at a wonder. There are many negative effects of relying on technology during travel. It can ruin the trip and the memories it should bring you.

I am going on this trip to experience new wonders and to expand my knowledge of the world. This trip is for my benefit; it’s there for me to develop my understanding of cultures around the globe. I want to experience new things and to live in the moment. I don’t want to miss any of the experience by doing something I could do at home. This includes things such as facebook. The right kind of technology can be helpful while traveling and can create a safety net for travelers. Things such as maps and translators found on the internet can be very useful for travelers, and can help make their trip run more smoothly. In my experience however, it is the crazy and spontaneous experiences that make the trip more memorable. It is sometimes more beneficial to your trip to not rely on technology. Travelers need to know where to draw the line. Before they go to a new country, they need to be aware of where they are going and how their technology can help them get there, but they also need to plan to explore the area. The role of technology in my travels is to help with particular situations, not to get in the way.

I think people have become too dependent on having the latest and greatest technology in today’s society. Personally I think it is amazing how advanced technology has become, but I don’t see it right for people to always be glued to it. It is especially bad when this situation is applied to travel. Instead of looking at the wonder, people are worried about how other people will see their pictures. They are trying to come up with a cool status, something that will impress their friends. They are looking for a reaction out of everyone else, when they should be looking for a reaction within themselves. This year, some of my friends recently had the opportunity to go to Europe. While on facebook a few days ago, I saw one of my classmates had posted she was about to go see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. I think it’s neat for her friends and family to be able to check up on her trip and see how she’s doing, but this should only be an occasional thing. If at all while traveling, updating statuses should be done during one’s free time at the end of the day in one’s hotel room instead of on the bus or while eating lunch. Even while sitting on a train you could have the opportunity to meet a local or experience a new aspect of the culture you never knew existed. Don’t ruin the moment by tuning out the world with your favorite artist. After reading this article I can see the dangers technology can pose on people’s experiences in a new land.

Last year on the China trip, we completely detached ourselves from the internet and from the news. We were shocked at how much had happened in the amount of time we were gone and the things that occurred when we came back, such as the BP oil spill. We soon got back in the swing of facebooking, e-mailing, and texting, but in the end I liked the detachment. When you are away from news and gossip, the most important things become clearer to you. I think as a class we should set a boundary on technology during the trip to Australia and New Zealand because this detachment is an important aspect of travel. It allows for memories to be made. I don’t think our group should be on their phones or on the internet during the day. If one person is on their I-pod other people may feel obligated to get theirs out, and soon no one is focused on the culture in front of them.

Traveling is when you’re Alive enough to realize the trivial things in Life no longer matter