Paper Maps vs. The Power of Apps

A couple of days ago one of my Facebook friend’s posted on their wall about how the human brain changes in connection with the progress of technology. The idea is that as we improve technologies our brain capacity (or I would say our use of it) is decreasing. It was supposed to be sarcastic, but from some perspectives I can agree or at least see the point!

It would be a big lie if I would say that I hate technologies, most of them are created for just such lazy people as I am, they make the daily routine easier, save time, give more possibilities and opportunities, let me know what is going on on the other side of the world, but…

Yes there is always a ‘but’…

So, my ‘but’ is that some of these new technologies/devices/innovations are completely unnecessary. Things like the robot which folds your laundry, the Digital iPotty it is what it sounds like… a kids’ poop pot with attached tablet) and many others. But the main struggle for me is the way that many devices make us dependent on them, or many organizations/lifestyle activities force us to use technologies and modern devices in our daily life whether we want to or not.

Sometimes I get so angry and upset about it, sometimes just with myself or sometimes others that we have become so used to using most of the technology around us that we even lose the ability to do simple maths, to go to the shop without navigation, to read printed books and so on.

Some examples from my daily life could  be very simple, like the fact that if I don’t have a mobile phone I can’t make a bank transfer from home, John and I can’t both use the city bikes in Cascais together right now because we don’t have two smart phones that we could download the app on. I can’t remember any current phone numbers, even mine, but I still remember my classmates landline number from 20 years ago, I can’t pay parking in some places around the city without my phone because you can make payment just using app. Ohhh! maybe I should stop here!

In addition I am regularly becoming quite upset seeing all of the electrical innovations in cities that transport us around without any human movement or effort and cause people to do less and less exercise, seeing kids constantly using phones and tablets, and hearing mothers that explain how it is so good that helps them a lot. Please tell me how our parents managed to grow us up?

Of course nowadays there is just so much information and to know everything is really hard, so we need to gain the skills of how to look for the right information and maybe that means that we don’t need to memorise everything by heart because we can easily access it, but just to talk about self-development and meditation is really not enough, we can’t forget to use our creativity and give some more exercise to our brain.

Not the article it was supposed to be…

Oh no! When I started to write this I actually meant for it to be something different 😀

All that I actually wanted to do was to share a short story from our trip around Europe about travelling using a map and compass, and not a navigation app.  So, we got a prepaid data plan on our Lithuanian phone which included the Waze app, which was nice because we could use the app for free, but we didn’t realize that it doesn’t work if we don’t have any general data left and of course we had problems to recharge it online so it ended up that we didn’t have any digital navigation device at all, but… In the car lives an old simple orienteering compass and next to it sits a printed map of Europe from my previous trips.

So at this point we decided (or had little choice except) to go old school even more. Now not only were we making Polaroid pictures (this project made us use digital pictures less) but also going across Europe with printed map and compass! Oh you know the roads names and numbers had changed quite a lot (it’s a six year old map) and it was harder to realise which route to choose to avoid paying the road tolls, but we had some fun too! I loved the moments when John was looking at the compass to see where North was and saying which road we should take based on the direction it went in!

Sometimes, stopping to use technology and do things the older way has good and bad sides. For example, the little one year Polaroid project that we are doing looks so simple, but it gives us many benefits and changed our perspective a lot. Now we are not too much focusing how we are looking, if our hair looks just right, if the clothes fit the picture, if we look perfect. We just want to have a real captured moment of each day and we really do appreciate each picture. If there would be a fire in the house we would take the box with polaroid pictures first, it is something that we can’t copy, there is just one piece for each moment. Now, without even realising that we act differently, we are not walking all around with the mobile phone taking pictures.

Of course we still take digital pictures, and we still use and appreciate tech. If it would not be for the internet then we could not write this blog and I could not share my opinions with you, we could not share our experiences, our adventures, our cooking experiments or other things, we could not all discuss interesting topics. But in my opinion it is not enough just to read, we can’t rely just on the technology we surround ourselves with, it can’t replace or change the real personal experiences, feelings and emotions that you get by going outside and doing things yourself.