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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Is just being there enough?

#1
That's the title of an article in today's New York Times -- http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/f...-for-the-moment-or-record-it.html?ref=fashion

I'm not trying to stir up the debate about whether to bring technology on the camino. That train has already left the station for me. Since I bought an iphone a few years ago, it has become an essential part of my camino kit. I'm never going to walk another one without it. I want to stay in touch with my very elderly parents and I skype easily from all sorts of tiny towns; I love seeing the grandkids I am missing; moreover, I walk very isolated caminos and I like to have the security of knowing I could get help when I'm all alone.

The issue of how to use the technology is a much tougher question for me. This article makes me think about all those times when I've taken a picture of some "special something" only to see later when I looked at it that I also captured the image of lots of other people holding up their phones and cameras to take the same shot.

I did walk part of the LePuy route, roughly from Moissac to St. Jean, I think, without a camera, and I have often wished I could go back and see some pictures of that part of the chemin. Not just any pictures, but my pictures. I take tons and tons of pictures of romanesque capitals along any camino where I happen to find it. Why? Not sure, but I do know that I occasionally do enjoy going back and looking at them.

Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing how others have resolved this issue. I know that moderation can be the key to a lot of things, so maybe that's the obvious answer. Buen camino, Laurie
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
#2
I would say that this is nothing new. 50 years ago my father took 8mm film of myself and my siblings; 30 years ago- when my children arrived- was the age of the video; now it's the smart phone. As my children grew up, I rarely took videos not wanting to experience the moment 'second hand' through a video lens; something I saw many parents doing. Was I right or wrong? It's fun to occasionally go back and see my father's film; but few exist of my children growing up due to my decision.......
It's a debate which doesn't have a right or wrong answer.
Suzanne :)
 
W

Wanderer64

Guest
#4
As with so many other Camino questions, this is very much one of personal preference.

For me, the proliferation of technology and social media is more a scourge than a social benefit that is hurting, not improving real, healthy social relations. The concept of the "selfie" epitomizes the narcissistic aspect of the tech times we live in. Whether Camino or travel generally, the issue of technology is, for me, one of temperance, keeping my focus on wants vs true needs. Too many wants spoils it for me. For me the importance is being in the moment, not so much a document (photo, video, etc...) of that moment.

I remember one example of pilgrim use of tech on Camino very vividly. It was a pristine, forested area, and I passed a "pilgrim" who had his laptop strapped to his chest so he could use it while walking. He had headphones on. He seemed completely shut off from the outside world, from the Camino. This was an extreme example on the tech wants vs needs continuum, and a reminder to me that I never, ever want to be that person when I'm on the Camino, or when I travel, or in life generally. I don't need to be constantly wired to tech to enjoy life or communicate with loved ones, and I don't need a photo of every thing I think might look good in a photo album.

I'm old enough to remember life without the Internet or mobile technology, and folks, believe it or not, we got by just fine back then, in some ways we got by better. One of the great paradoxes of this technology is that for all its promises of bringing global communities together, for all its promises of enhanced, immediate communications, the physical act of using the technology is necessarily a solitary, lonely act. Using this technology, be it mobile or computer, is not a truly social act. It is an act of self-imposed alienation to achieve what one believes is a social experience. The argument that the act is social because one is linking to all these wonderful virtual communities and people, I never bought that because to be truly social means being truly in the same space as another(s); the social cues, the vocal cues, the empathy, the body language are so vital to healthy people relations. I think we are losing much of that via too much tech immersion. There is emerging data to suggest alienation and loneliness are increasing traits of urban life. People talk less to their neighbours, there’s an increasing lack of trust. How ironic in a tech-driven world that has supposedly brought us closer together that ever before. But I digress....
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#5
I'm sitting here in the St. Timothy Church Office. Why might you ask? Well, my farm is nearly twenty miles away in an area that has a population density of about 20 souls per one hundred square miles (16,000 sq. Kilometers...I think). So, in that my farm has a snail's pace Internet connection and the office has a really fast one, voila. I am also having my traditional after Mass repast of shrimp and a savory glass of expensive box Chardonnay. Ever the dedicated Forum Mod, I am using the time to review recent Forum threads and, where appropriate, make wise and insightful comments:rolleyes:.
SO, the Dr is IN: Laurie's points are well thought out and easily appropriate to many on the Camino. We have the purists, slack packers, the technology savvy and the bed bug phobia crowd each with their own wants and needs. In the long run it's your Camino and no one elses.
Being that your Dr is a true research analyst and a ponderer of minutia over his fine glass(s) of wine, he's chosen to look into journalist's musings at the advent of the "horseless carriage". The following dates accompanied the newspaper articles of the time. Here are some cherry picked comments and the Dr's pithy remarks on each.
  • November 28, 1895. Gas-powered Duryea automobile wins the Times-Herald race in Chicago. (Immediately, owners of the Maywood Park race course ready their thoroughbreds for the glue factory. "It's a sad day for everyone," lamented Buddy Smalls, a jockey.
  • 1896 American gasoline powered “motocycles” manufactured by the Duryea brothers. (Harley and Davidson local bicycle manufacturers see only rainbows in their future endeavors.)
  • February 1902. Miss Anne French, Washington's first woman driver. (Oops, not going to touch this one.)
  • February, 1904. Automobile rivals the drawing room for romance. (Buck Jones tells Betty Frank's dad he was sorry for being late. His car ran out of gas. This ranks right up there with my dog ate my homework.)
  • June 23, 1909. New 1909 Ford Model T crosses finish line first in New York to Seattle automobile race. (Not mentioned is that a horse ridden by Buddy Smalls crossed the finish line three days ahead of the Model T. When asked what the major factor was, Buddy indicated how easy it was to obtain horse shoes, grain and water.)
  • 1909-1927. Ford Motor Co. begins to mass produce its Model T, a reliable and inexpensive automobile. (Build it and they will come.)
Here's my point, there will always be folks touting the status Quo as the way things should be. Others will see opportunity and go for it. Somewhere, someplace, at sometime a young man is riding his horse up the road to Betty's house. In the distance is a cloud of dust heading the opposite direction at a remarkable clip.
Buen "Flight time to SdC ten hours...give or take" Camino,
Arn
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#6
Such a complex question! As smj6 says, there's no right or wrong with these things. Consider the age old activity of keeping a diary. Most of us don't. Those who do have a range of different motivations; is it for themselves or for others; for now or for the future; does it deal with facts and events or hopes and fears?

Travel photography is even more confused. If I go to Paris and take a fairly standard photo of the Eiffel Tower, why am I doing it?
Is it in case I forget what it looks like? Probably not.
Is it to show my friends what it looks like? Probably not.
Is it because I think I'm a better photographer than all the rest? Probably not.
Is it to prove that I did actually go to Paris? Possibly, but who doesn't believe me?
Is it to show how the Eiffel Tower looked on the day I saw it, with that day's weather, and those people standing at the bottom of it? Probably the best suggestion so far, but why? Is it to create some personal connection to it that exists longer than a sight or touch? If so, is that narcissistic? Is it the same basic motivation as someone who scrawls their name on it with a marker pen? Should/Can other people ever see anything other than a third rate photo of the Eiffel Tower?

But if you're like me you don't just take a 'standard' photo of the Eiffel Tower. You add your own imaginative little twist that nobody else has ever thought of, such as having the rooftops of Paris in the foreground. Then it's definitely because you're a better photographer than all the rest...but in no way narcissistic. :cool:
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
#7
I don´t walk offline anymore.
Being online has so many pros.
The guide books, maps and other books are on my iPad mini so no need to carry any books anymore.
When lost it feels safe to be a little dot on a map (my iphone has GPS).
Airline tickets are secure in an app.
Booking bus, train, hotels easy...
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
#9
That's the title of an article in today's New York Times -- http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/f...-for-the-moment-or-record-it.html?ref=fashion

I'm not trying to stir up the debate about whether to bring technology on the camino. That train has already left the station for me. Since I bought an iphone a few years ago, it has become an essential part of my camino kit. I'm never going to walk another one without it. I want to stay in touch with my very elderly parents and I skype easily from all sorts of tiny towns; I love seeing the grandkids I am missing; moreover, I walk very isolated caminos and I like to have the security of knowing I could get help when I'm all alone.

The issue of how to use the technology is a much tougher question for me. This article makes me think about all those times when I've taken a picture of some "special something" only to see later when I looked at it that I also captured the image of lots of other people holding up their phones and cameras to take the same shot.

I did walk part of the LePuy route, roughly from Moissac to St. Jean, I think, without a camera, and I have often wished I could go back and see some pictures of that part of the chemin. Not just any pictures, but my pictures. I take tons and tons of pictures of romanesque capitals along any camino where I happen to find it. Why? Not sure, but I do know that I occasionally do enjoy going back and looking at them.

Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing how others have resolved this issue. I know that moderation can be the key to a lot of things, so maybe that's the obvious answer. Buen camino, Laurie
hi Laurie - since you asked, here are my two pennies:
Less is more and easy-does-it ... also in this department.
On the caminho and off the caminho at home life, either way I do apply it.
I am weary of anything that has the appearance of that the thing or activity 'own's' the person versus the other way around. The phone I own is for phone calls and text msg, but has other capabilities that i choose to not use. Not for checking emails, nor GPS'ing, etc. Am already doing that on the laptop/iPad.
On the caminho i used the phone w/ a SIM card bought in Lisbon, but only to call about local accommodations, or an occasional msg/call to a portuguese friend. No one had my phone number - but I was reachable via email, which I checked when I happened across WiFi. If not, then I waited a few day or more until i was in a place again with WiFi. Had an iPad mini with me which worked fine, as a sometimes used camera as well. and storing a bit of guidebook info too.
Before the camino i added more songs and audio books onto the iPod - anticipating those long hours walking alone. Guess what? Never used it once during the walking. Basically, i took the iPod on a 500km walk. Used it thrice at night in an attempt to 'out sound' the snorers in the room, but that was it. Or it was an impromptu torch-light on the way to the loo.
During the day i felt so 'full' with listening to the wind in the trees and reed, birdsong, frog-croaking etc etc I had no desire whatsoever to be entertained or distracted.
Just being there was truly enough.
Too often nowadays I observe many who instead of using their gadgets, they appear / behave as being used by their gadgets. And I'd rather don't go that route. On or off camino. These kind of comms gadgets are more invasive (if not used with discipline) than a car that stays in the garage (the same way the horse stayed in the stable or meadow). The phones etc interrupt /invade now almost any social encounter and interaction more than any car probably did or could.
And camera's can be as invasive. I applaud hosts of any event to remind people to leave them at the door, or not to use it at all for the duration of the event.
Also, a closing point: even something like an old fashioned knock on the door or door-bell ringing is merely a request of entry. The person knocking is not entitled of being let into the house/room. It's a request that can be refused. Same with a phone-call. And it appears that this point is often overlooked or has been forgotten. There are things in life we can't control ... but I happen to believe that if we relinquish control over our gadgets or feel we can't be without them, we are in trouble.
Salute !
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
#11
And I am not online all the time and not specifically for the social media.
I use iPhone and iPad for the information mostly - no need to carry books! :)
An immediate access to guide books, maps, airline tickets, bank account, important telephone numbers, credit card numbers, photo copy of my identification card and pass port.
PDF guides accessible easily in Abobe (can be done offline when once downloaded and opened in Abobe).
Other books in apps like like iBook or Kindle.
No need of camera...pictures taken saved in Dropbox.
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
#13
Some of the most memorable and fine moments are without physical proof.
seared into memory, they were and are part of me
the moments are part of me, because i let myself be drawn into the moment..fully, completely.
the way the air felt, the environment all around me, the silence of the singular entry into my soul
I didn't carry a camera, then seeing things... wish i did
but having learned to embrace, to... let go, and simply be alive in that one little timeless point..
i would not have been able to capture the totality of the experience on any medium
too much going on

I take pictures as a touchstone to the time and place, to kindle what i felt and went through physically, spiritually and emotionally
other people may or not understand..and thats ok
because there are those who do, and that is enough

the Eiffel tower is there, but what did the steel edifice do to the 5 senses ?
the profound silence of being truly away from the machinations and striving of man, how does that feel?
my Souls Camera is always on, and capturing the things that matter to me
technology as a crutch, tends to diminish me,
looking back, the act of figuring the rout over a paper map into unknown parts, and then trusting my self, my abilities and skills to do the job at hand, or the actual leap of faith, to ask some one for directions, and finding they led you right,,,that cant be replaced

years later, with GPS, maps on phones, on the laptop, maps for specific routing..what stress i could have avoided!!!

capture the moments in your Souls Camera
Lets dream a bit of far and away places
the feel of the grass, the texture of the light through the leaves
the sweetness of the air, the smell of rain on the road as it blows towards you
the sound of walking alone
the music plays on in the Anima
or it is silent, the perfect stillness of being

lay awake in wonder at what Life has wrought
live in the moment and yesterday never comes.....you never look back..life continues in the fiery stream of light for you to draw each and every second of your life

You never leave that road
it is always with you
pictures fade
we wear out
but we keep what we are in that moment
Peace
 

Kristinxa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues September 2014
#14
I don´t walk offline anymore.
Being online has so many pros.
The guide books, maps and other books are on my iPad mini so no need to carry any books anymore.
When lost it feels safe to be a little dot on a map (my iphone has GPS).
Airline tickets are secure in an app.
Booking bus, train, hotels easy...
You are right. It would be stupid, not to use the benefits of modern technology to make this journey save. - but sometimes I think: Respect to all the pilgrims hundres of years ago! They made it without the backup of technical help. If everything in life could be as easy as following yellow arrows and ipads advice...
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#15
I take photos to share, to remember and as an artistic expression. I find *looking* for my photos helps me be "in the moment" even more than if I were merely wandering.
In my at-home life I do not use the camera much at all, but if I had another life I would want to be a photojournalist, and so to relieve this longing a little, I take photos when I take trips.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#16
You are right. It would be stupid, not to use the benefits of modern technology to make this journey save. - but sometimes I think: Respect to all the pilgrims hundres of years ago! They made it without the backup of technical help. If everything in life could be as easy as following yellow arrows and ipads advice...
Technology is not a new concept...just new at the time.
Hundreds of years ago, the savvy inn keeper posted a sign that touted "clean beds, only six pilgrims to share". Not to be out done, another inn keeper sent out an urchin to take down the competition's sign and "personally" guide the pilgrim to the proper inn.
For the elite, a post rider would literally "ride" along the Way. Each carriage past would be questioned as to the occupant(s) and if an addressee were aboard...letters were exchanged and, or forwarded.
The benefits of technology therefore are as seen through the eyes of the beholder and the entrepreneurs who serve their needs. If the iPhone wasn't "needed" there wouldn't be one. Drat, my 5c is already obsolete.
 
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2018
#18
Ultimately, for me, just being there would be enough. If, for whatever reason, I didn't have the option of my phone or my camera, I know that I would be happy. Even though I work in a technically evolving field, I can be a bit resistant (emotionally) to the rapidly changing technology we're constantly faced with in our world. I've travelled without a camera and certainly long before the smart phone was even a thought. But I do get great joy in photographing my travels, both with my camera and with my phone. I keep a simple point form journal along the way and write in more detail once I'm home. My photos are a great resource for remembering places and things I may not have written down. My phone is important for my family as well as myself. Staying in touch is so much easier with it. A quick text home each day gives peace of mind both for them and for me. Posting photos on instagram with my phone is a great way to share the journey - especially with family who can't travel.
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
#19
I'm from Killarney and live in Dublin both fairly busy tourist destinations and I've noticed a shift in tourist/travellers behaviours in the last 4-5 years (don't get offended at the word tourist as pilgrims traveling to religious sites provided the first solo and package 'tourists') Now instead of stopping a 'local' and asking, sometimes in halting english or even soliciting one's own rough and ready french/german/italian to get directions etc most tourists stride purposefully along stopping only to hunch over their devices and recalibrate for the next destination. I find I really miss those exchanges and the opportunities they presented to 'show off' my city/town, to connect however briefly with others and even expose my execrable language skills. So the next time you're a little uncertain of which path to take rather than immediately checking your device stop and, with a rising interrogative, ask the old lady in the vegetable garden/business man having his morning coffee "Camino?"..…..if not for your sake for theirs.
 
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smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
#20
Having mentioned earlier that I'm not into videos ........
My mother is almost 90 years old, and has children, grandchildren and great grandchildren popping up every where, moreover , for the last 40 years I have lived and worked outside of my home country (UK). One fantastic advantage of today's technology is having a personal family on-line photo album so she can vicariously see what I'm doing/ where I am, or see instant photos of the latest great grandchild born last week. Taking photos that she can see, and which my siblings, my husband, and my children can comment on (politely or not) allows us to remain connected as a family regardless of the distances between us.
But as mentioned before by other pilgrims, how can we ensure that WE control technology and IT doesn't control us!!!
Suzanne :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#21
I am not technophobic. I enjoy greeting people as they pass, I like to have honest interactions, face-to-face, with pilgrims on the trail. I especially love to see pilgrims enjoying the birdsong and church bell accompaniment available out there, as well as the traffic noise and chatter and racket that add up to a full camino experience.

Unfortunately, in the past few years, a huge number of pilgrims who pass are "plugged in" to a device and do not say hello when we do, they do not interact much with us at all. They appear to be in their own little world. They traveled many miles to walk this trail, but they are someplace other than where we all are. What is it in their machine that is so much more appealing than Here and Now?

I kinda miss the friendly, switched-on, fully-aware pilgrims.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Podiensis 2002, Camino Frances 2003, 2004, 2008, 2012, Via de La Plata 2005, 2006. 2013, Camino Ingles 2013, Camino de Madrid 2008, Camino Salvador 2008, Camino del Norte 2010, Camino de Levante 2012,
Camino Mozarabe 2015, Camino Salvador 2015, Camino Primitivo 2015
#22
I am not technophobic. I enjoy greeting people as they pass, I like to have honest interactions, face-to-face, with pilgrims on the trail. I especially love to see pilgrims enjoying the birdsong and church bell accompaniment available out there, as well as the traffic noise and chatter and racket that add up to a full camino experience.

Unfortunately, in the past few years, a huge number of pilgrims who pass are "plugged in" to a device and do not say hello when we do, they do not interact much with us at all. They appear to be in their own little world. They traveled many miles to walk this trail, but they are someplace other than where we all are. What is it in their machine that is so much more appealing than Here and Now?

I kinda miss the friendly, switched-on, fully-aware pilgrims.

S'pose I can say a word or two. Interesting discussion. I agree fully with Becks. On the La Plata last year with two friends. I had little or no contact with them if there was wifi about. They continually had their noses in those little boxes. I said in Santers on the last night that I hoped they had had a good Camino but as far as I was concerned they were never there! I feel it's okay as Laurie said to keep in contact with your family if they are ill etc. for a half hour in the evening, but during the day "you gotta walk the walk" get into the landscape, the people and the country and think. No time for little boxes.
 

david g

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
#23
I have yet to own a cell phone (I'm pausing, listening to all the jaws dropping) but do use an Ipad at home, so I'm not a total technophobe. To stay in touch and update family while on my Camino, I used computers in albergues or bars, but only sporadically. Something about using technology puts you into a strange little world, where you become removed from your physical location. Staring at a screen you could be anywhere, on the Camino, at home at the kitchen table, at a desk. Stepping away from that connection really puts you where you physically are and allows you to be more in the moment. Even my camera got in the way of that. Watching the botefumario swing I was so intent on capturing it in pictures, that when it was done I couldn't remember actually seeing it swing. (All I had were some blurry photos) I went back the next day, sat through Mass and when it swung, I watched from beginning to end.
The other thing, as mentioned by Rebekah and Nellpilgrim, is that the use of these devices can halt the interaction between people. If you're busy in your own little world, whether it be listening to music on an iPod or constantly updating people back home, you're missing out on meeting really awesome new people. That's part of the beauty of traveling. You can't make new friends if you're only communicating with old ones. (And Rebekah, I promise to say "Ola, hi, hello, what's up" when I come by next May. I'll probably even pause to chat for a bit.)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#24
I think the human race is dealing with a huge change and it will take some time before we know how it pans out. Yes, we've had changes in the past, but I don't think on quite this scale, and so quickly. Some random observations:

I love taking photos to record something beautiful. Experience the moment first, and then record it. I'd like to have a photographic memory, but I don't. Looking at photos gives me instant access to the past and evokes that moment in time. It can be very precious. The lovely photos from our daughter's wedding provided great solace when the skies later became very gloomy indeed for us. My one regret is that we did not record the glorious music, she and husband are musicians and we had a full cathedral choir and a string quartet. We would have benefitted from having more recorded, not less.

Simarly, I love the videos we create as our grandchildren grow. They are hilarious and gorgeous. Taken "on the fly" and sent to the rest of the family, enjoyed by many. The time is so fleeting, they grow so fast, and we forget how funny and cute at all the different stages. We love looking at them.

iPads. As my husband says - his favourite toy. Communication (this forum). Fascinating, engaging, entertaining, informative. But, but, but....

I can hand my eyePad over to my young (toddlers) grandkids and they will be instantly absorbed and obsessed. It is a seductive babysitter for tired (grand) parents, a distraction when illness or when hurt strikes. For hours if we let them. To the exclusion of physical play, food, human interaction. Removing it causes Versuvius like tantrums. We've found it easier to hide it and not use it at all rather than limit its use (not strictly true. In dire emergencies it comes out).

I constantly see parents plugged into iPods, talking on mobiles, using computers, while their small children are crying, begging for attention - and the parents are oblivious. Even a baby's smiles and gurgles and first attempts at communication get ignored when concentration is elsewhere. My very experienced infant teacher friend tells me there are more children entering school with poor language skills and not toilet trained. I don't know if there is a relationship or not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#25
As a computer/software engineer for 40 years, I will speak.

The effects of today's technology will not be fully understood before 20 years have gone by. I will remind you of the words of the famous writer George Orwell (Who wrote the novel "1984"): "The day people talk more to machines than to each other, will be the beginning of the end of people". We are starting to see the effects already:

Kids already have a hard time understanding and performing handwriting. They cannot calculate in their heads. They are introvert, not wanting to talk, only texting, gaming, and SMSing.

The last couple of years, on Christmas evening, children and grandchildren have been spending more time after (and during!) Christmas dinner on their cellular and iPads than talking to this grandfather. Cannot blame the grandchildren; they've learnt it from their parents; my children.

This Christmas, I will declare the house a gadget-free zone: Everyone shall put their gadgets in the entrance, with sound off, and then celebrate Christmas by eating and talking together. If that is not accepted, well, that's the last Christmas on me: I see no point in having a living room filled with people who communicate with everybody else but us there. Will rather sit at Crux de Ferro and meditate by myself.

I am actually dead serious about this. Next Christmas evening will be the acid test. I am tired of this nonsense.

In 20 years from now, people can not read handwriting, cannot write by hand, cannot calculate numbers, and will be afraid to speak to people.

Or I may be wrong: An intelligent man once said: "The youth of today is a disaster: They do not know anything, will not do anything, and have no respect for the elders: I am deeply worried for the future!" It was Cicero in ancient Rome, some 2.000 years ago... So maybe there's hope?

To counter that: Today's youth are just like Jesus: They stay home until they are 30, and if you can make them do anything useful, it is called a miracle...
 
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#26
Like you Alex I started out working as a software engineer (though in 1966 we called it other things). These days I use my laptop at home to keep in touch with the outside world while I keep an eye on my Mom. For that reason I also need my phone on the Camino. Each day I use it to take pictures. Each afternoon I switch it out of air-plane mode to see if there is an urgent message from home. Every couple of days I call to check she and others are OK and to let them know the same about me. Then it goes back to air-plane mode and off during the night. Both devices are tools performing an important function in my life - enabling me to communicate with people I cannot have the joy of being with face to face. For me they are a means for me to plan and be able to go on my Caminos. They enable me to enjoy the complete silence, the clacking of the storks, the wonderful views and people I encounter there.
However I agree with the comments about people, especially the younger ones being too absorbed with them. Maybe they are also really only doing what I do - using them to help build and keep relationships. It is unfortunate though when people let the device get in the way of other pleasures, of personal contact with the world and people in it. So a :) for devices and a :( for how they are sometimes used.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Logrono (2013) Logrono - Leon (2014) Leon to Santiago (2015)
#27
For me, the proliferation of technology and social media is more a scourge than a social benefit that is hurting, not improving real, healthy social relations. The concept of the "selfie" epitomizes the narcissistic aspect of the tech times we live in.

I'm old enough to remember life without the Internet or mobile technology, and folks, believe it or not, we got by just fine back then.

There is emerging data to suggest alienation and loneliness are increasing traits of urban life. People talk less to their neighbours, there’s an increasing lack of trust. How ironic in a tech-driven world that has supposedly brought us closer together that ever before. But I digress....
Interesting thoughts, and a subject with as many further questions as answers, no doubt!

My two penn'orth: I DO think there is an increasing proportion of the world population who are content (or simply brainwashed) into viewing the world through the filter of modern technology. That applies whatever the circumstances, not just to those on Camino. And yes, it might be narcissistic, introverted, anti-social, self-obsessed, but then there have always been people of that inclination - social media just gives them a wider audience, which is perhaps more the issue. :(

Of course, it's not the technology that's to blame, but the people and the way they choose to use it. Rather like the gun, in that respect. Unlike the gun, though, there are many upsides to modern technology - keeping in touch with elderly parents being one obvious example, keeping pack weight down being another.

I, too, well remember my life before tablets and WiFi. And, to be honest, I was probably just happy then as I am now - the world now being neither better nor worse, just a bit different. Socialising still seems better to me in person, and that's what I prefer. You only have to feel the buzz of a live concert or acting perfomance to see how positive an experience real, face-to-face contact can be. Despite the fact some may be "plugged-in" all the way to SDC, the Camino still offers this in spades: there are so many amazing folks out there to meet along the way!

For me, I find the Camino brings back many of the things I find missing from urban life: striking up a conversation with strangers, taking my time, enjoying the simple things in life, stripping possessions back to essentials - eat, sleep, hike - living life at 4 kilometers per hour is different, and I find I become more the "me" that I like being. :)
 
#28
I used to be a keen photographer. However, some years ago I realized that I was occasionally seeing the world around me through a kind of filter – i.e.: is this a situation/an occasion/a landscape where to take a photo or not?

So I kind of put the camera away, let go of my constant analysis of whether this was a photo opportunity or not - and to just stay in and fully absorb any enjoyable moment – and be there in the moment - unfiltered.

Therefore, I chose not to take my camera onto the camino. I did carry an old-fashioned mobile though in order to be able to contact family back home.

annelise
 

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007/8/9 2011 (C.F 2015)
#29
I bring a mobile phone on the camino in order to send a text each evening to say where I am and send a short greeting. I need to know that someone on the planet has an idea of where I am in case I fall off.! Every few days I have a conversation with John my husband.

I just like to experience the camino in the here and now.

I am quite happy for other people to have whatever gadgets they feel they need.

If someone wants to stand in the middle of the track and swing their arms in all directions that is OK with me so long as they do not hinder the passage of other people or knock them about. In as similar way I think that a person's use of technology should not take from the enjoyment of another person.

I go into the Cathedral to pray and to worship and I find it hard to cope with the fact that so many people will put their ipads up in the air and block the view of those behind them, and really, it seems to me, they thoughtlessly interfere with the sacred moment that others wish to experience.

The expression "it is your Camino" or "it is my Camino" is passed around like snuff at a wake, but if my freedom to do something effects others badly then I need to consider if I am being a bit selfish.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#30
There is nothing wrong with phones: I carry an iphone with me but only for emergency and sporadic contact with loved ones back home, to let them know I'm fine and where I am. I think the discussion here more goes about people who need to be online all the time (obsession), and are missing out on being in the here and now.
 
S

simply B

Guest
#31
There is nothing wrong with phones: I carry an iphone with me but only for emergency and sporadic contact with loved ones back home, to let them know I'm fine and where I am. I think the discussion here more goes about people who need to be online all the time (obsession), and are missing out on being in the here and now.
Agreed!

If your head is not involved with where the rest of you resides at the moment, where exactly are you? There is a world of difference between “being on the Camino” and “being ON Camino”.

The change in group dynamics from Fall 2012 to Spring 2014 was surprising. It was a vanishing minority who let their devices keep them from socializing in 2012.

In 2014, it was a rare coffee stop or evening meal where a goodly share not were more concerned with the WiFi password than with enjoying each other’s company. (A curious “complaint” from an admitted introvert.)

B
 

freescot

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
La Plata (2010) Portuguese from Coimbra(2010) Levante (2011) La Lana (2013) Francés from Roncevalles to Molinasaca then the Camino de Invierno (2014)
#34
I used to be a keen photographer. However, some years ago I realized that I was occasionally seeing the world around me through a kind of filter – i.e.: is this a situation/an occasion/a landscape where to take a photo or not?

So I kind of put the camera away, let go of my constant analysis of whether this was a photo opportunity or not - and to just stay in and fully absorb any enjoyable moment – and be there in the moment - unfiltered.

Therefore, I chose not to take my camera onto the camino. I did carry an old-fashioned mobile though in order to be able to contact family back home.

annelise
I admire your detachment, annelise. I, too, realise the huge inner, mental change in leaving the camera behind, but only recognise this since I am forgetful and sometimes leave it behind. However, for my next camino, at least, I will take it. It is a letting go to work upon. Meanwhile I enjoy very much the different experience of being fully present whenever photography is banned, such as during church services or visiting caves. I hope to begin walking again very soon and will remember your post with every click, which is about 20 times a day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Logrono (2013) Logrono - Leon (2014) Leon to Santiago (2015)
#35
I, too, realise the huge inner, mental change in leaving the camera behind.

However, for my next camino, at least, I will take it.

Meanwhile I enjoy very much the different experience of being fully present whenever photography is banned, such as during church services or visiting caves.
I think this is the crux, really. Nothing wrong in taking a camera or devices with you, but knowing when and where to use them is the key. One shouldn't be a slave to it, and it should never be used in a rude, inappropriate, voyeuristic or disrespectful way. Keep that in mind and you shouldn't go too far wrong. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#37
Strange thing, I was reading this thread when this commercial came on the television.
We noticed such a disconnect with pilgrims this past spring.
It is only growing worse, unfortunately.
 
W

Wanderer64

Guest
#39
As neo-Luddite as my earlier commentary comes off, I do agree with Alex (and others) that phones and cameras are potentially good, useful tools, but our reliance on, and addiction to the technology is not good.

I disagree with some points made that this is just another technological advance, and contrarians through the ages have always resisted technological change. The fundamental difference is this: Unlike past technological changes, the Internet and mobile technology alters social relations, the ways we interact and communicate in such a deeply radical way that no other previous technology has. And the speed through which this change is taking place is unlike anything we've gone through before as a species.

One thing I do notice in my everyday life is that people, especially younger people who were born into this technology, seem increasingly uncomfortable when faced with social interaction. When I'm walking down the street and approaching someone coming from the opposite direction, they often pull out their phone and bury their head in an apparent act of interaction avoidance. It's even worse in my building elevator. If a fellow tenant thinks I'm about to say hello or strike up small talk, they quickly go to their phone, turn the other way and avoid.

Tech addiction is also proving to be more than just a social nuisance or etiquette faux pas. In my jurisdiction in Canada, we have data to show that distracted driving is now the second leading cause of road fatalities. I expect it will overtake drunk driving in a matter of years.

It's a fascinating sociological issue, likely beyond the scope of this Camino forum, but fun to discuss.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Spring (2014)
Frances- Spring (2015)
#41
That's the title of an article in today's New York Times -- http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/f...-for-the-moment-or-record-it.html?ref=fashion

I'm not trying to stir up the debate about whether to bring technology on the camino. That train has already left the station for me. Since I bought an iphone a few years ago, it has become an essential part of my camino kit. I'm never going to walk another one without it. I want to stay in touch with my very elderly parents and I skype easily from all sorts of tiny towns; I love seeing the grandkids I am missing; moreover, I walk very isolated caminos and I like to have the security of knowing I could get help when I'm all alone.

The issue of how to use the technology is a much tougher question for me. This article makes me think about all those times when I've taken a picture of some "special something" only to see later when I looked at it that I also captured the image of lots of other people holding up their phones and cameras to take the same shot.

I did walk part of the LePuy route, roughly from Moissac to St. Jean, I think, without a camera, and I have often wished I could go back and see some pictures of that part of the chemin. Not just any pictures, but my pictures. I take tons and tons of pictures of romanesque capitals along any camino where I happen to find it. Why? Not sure, but I do know that I occasionally do enjoy going back and looking at them.

Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing how others have resolved this issue. I know that moderation can be the key to a lot of things, so maybe that's the obvious answer. Buen camino, Laurie
I take a smartphone with an international plan wherever I go because I am relaxed knowing certain family members can reach me anytime . I use the camera to capture images for one reason only - I will at some point forget. In my mother's last years, I was able to bring out photos to show her - they triggered other memories for her and it made her happy. I don't expect to retain my full memory capabilities later in life. This is why I do it (moderately).
 
#42
I have really gotten a lot to think about from these posts. I'm not sure we'll know till we can look back with historical perspective whether this is just another advance that us old fogies resist or if, like some of you have suggested, it has altered fundamentally the way we interact with others in a negative way. Or even more potentially disastrous, if it has decreased our analytical brain functions. I don't want to turn into chicken little here, but I have read some pretty convincing evidence that putting any child younger than two years old in front of a screen with moving images has really bad effects, and that even at an older age the effect is negative. In my own experience, I almost banned computers in my classroom this year for two reasons -- studies suggest that more than half of the class is doing non-class-related things on the internet more than half the time while they are in class, but more importantly, some studies are suggesting that learning is far inferior when notes are taken on computers. Summary of one of the studies here. So, it's not just the Camino that gives me technology angst, it's a lot of aspects of my life, I guess.

But.., back to the Camino, I think that after reading all of these posts, I'm comfortable with my decision to continue to carry a camera and an iphone, and to rely on my own self control to keep the usage at a level that allows me to "just be there" too. But maybe I'm deluding myself. Anyway, thanks a lot to everyone who responded. All insights are thought provoking and greatly appreciated! Buen camino, Laurie
 

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