Chris and I just got back from a babymoon in Maui. Ah, it is so nice to be home, but ah, it was just so nice to be away.
The last time we were on that island, we were on our honeymoon 12 years ago. We found quite a few new areas that we fell in love with this time and asked ourselves why did we not find them before? Ah, yes, the Internet. After Chris and I ran off to Kauai all those years ago and got married on a beach, we spent a few hours posting photos from our wedding in Kauai to our website for friends and family to see. We remembered how slow it was and how long it took over what was not called dial-up but should have been, and how expensive it was because we were paying by the minute. Since the Internet was not a big thing in all Hawaii resorts at the time, we were at the mercy of guidebooks, maps, and word of mouth.
This time we had word of mouth from friends that frequent Maui often AND the Internet. We found two little towns on the road to Hana that were perfect for us. No, we did not drive the road all the way to Hana. I am not sure I could have handled it with how many times I have to pee per hour, and sometimes the winding turns makes my big belly a bit queasy. 12 years ago we never explored the east side of the island (only the west and south parts). This time we found: Paia and Makawao.
Paia is on the way to Hana and is on the Hana Highway. It is right on the water and the beaches that neighbor this small strip of a town are ones that in the winter have the massive waves that attract surfers from all over. So Paia could be called a surfer town, but without all the cheese and touristy feel of say a Lahaina (sorry for those of you Maui buffs that love Lahaina). It is an old sugar plantation town. I kept trying to rack my brain for what Paia felt like to me. It was like an Ojai, California in Hawaii with more shops and restaurants. It felt natural and real without the pretentiousness of the shops in Wailea that bring those from the neighboring Four Seasons resort. It inspired my senses and creativity.
Then we drove down Baldwin Ave to Makawao. I had heard about Makawao because of the famous “malasadas” known mostly in Honolulu at Leonard’s Bakery. Since we were not going to Honolulu, I wanted to try what I could in Maui. A little Internet research told me that T Komoda Bakery was one of the places to go to try their version. So of course I wanted to continue south on Baldwin to explore Makawao and get a malasada. I found another interesting little town, inland, but just as charming. Almost as though you were going to be in wine country, only you are actually in cattle country. Galleries, boutiques, and restaurants down another cute strip.
Oh, and guess what? T Komoda Bakery was on vacation from the day we arrived for 3 weeks. So no malasadas, but we found two great towns that will be on the list the next time we are back in Maui. And yes we still got malasadas – thank you to Home Maid Bakery. They do not start making their evening batch until 4 pm, and on our way back from Paia and Makawao were an hour early and they still made us a dozen!
I am glad to be home in my bed, but I do already miss paradise and my daily dose of shave ice!
Can you imagine a place with no cell phones? It is harder and harder to find. You almost have to go to a remote island, or a place with no cell phone reception (see these seven locations where you can escape the Internet). Last week I was traveling for work, and while in the airport waiting for a flight, I saw on the news a mention of Green Bank, West Virginia, and that cell phones are not allowed. They are part of the “National Radio Quiet Zone.” See the picture in the link — the zone is enormous.
Intrigued? I was. It is often hard to imagine a place where cell phones do not exist. Green Bank has a population of 143. Why no cell phones? The Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The GBT is part of the reason that it is a law in Green Bank that you cannot have a cell phone. The GBT is the largest, fully steerable radio telescope in the world. This excerpt from a National Geographic article explains it a bit more:
“Because of its vast size and sophisticated design, the GBT is exquisitely sensitive to even the faintest radio pulses coming from space. For the same reason, it is also extremely susceptible to electronic interference. Any device that generates electromagnetic radiation—a cell phone, a television, a wireless Internet router—can skew its data. And so the people who live in these parts must, by law, forego some of the gadgets that most of us take for granted.”
Would you want that kind of life? Maybe for a vacation, but could you handle it 365 days a year? I am addicted to information and I am not sure how I could go without the Internet. A phone – yes, I could probably go without a phone, but not the Internet. Check out the National Geographic article for more details on all the discoveries that have been made due to the GBT. Oh, and they need another 9 million dollars if you are interested.
“I agree — a “real” traffic cop stop is more humane and allows for exceptions. However, your wake-up call ties in with what I’m feeling in this spy-info-obsessed environment. We like 24-hour automated tellers, expect instant assistance from Google and appreciate GPS-assistance complete with photos of where we’re going or where we’ve been … but no one likes being spied upon. If we keep willingly giving away info and expecting instant, automated assistance, at what point does it lead to too much outside control … with no turning back?”
Siouxsioux’s comment really made me think of how often I am impatient and frustrated when the gadgets in my life are not moving as fast as my brain might be working. It reminds me of Louis CK on Conan O’Brien a few years ago. The part relating to our world of automation starts around 2:45 in the video clip. Another great section is at 3:25 regarding our impatience with the Internet not working while flying on an airplane. He later says how a plane flight now consists of, “you watch a movie, take a dump, and you are home.”
There is a balance of instant access to information on our iPhones, iPads, and laptops, and what security and privacy we may not even know we are forfeiting while searching and utilizing that information. As Siouxsioux mentioned, I wonder at what cost. I know I am slightly addicted to the Internet. Well, more that slightly addicted to instant information at my fingertips. I am assuming that Words with Friends knows how often we play, or how addicted we are, Facebook can tell almost anything about our lives, our local library knows what we read, the grocery store you frequent knows what you eat and buy, and Amazon can tell a lot about your spending habits. If someone put that all together, I am sure there would be plenty of information for your shrink.
So where is the line, and have we already crossed it?
We can complain about the Internet and how little privacy we have, and how much it sucks our time each day, but over the weekend I had another view. As I was preparing mentally for the half marathon I ran on Sunday, I did some online searching about what to eat the morning of the race, what to wear, what to expect afterwards, etc.
The thought crossed my mind about how easy it was for me to find information that I needed in a fairly quick timeframe. Now, I do not know how accurate the information is, but I had plenty of it to sift through. What would I have done 15 years ago?
Called many friends or acquaintances and asked about their experience (takes much more time than the Internet)
Gone to the library and taken out a few books or encyclopedia on the subject (even more time)
Consulted a running store, or found a local expert (time depends on how knowledgeable and accessible each are to me)
While we complain about how we spend too much time online, I wonder if we are actually smarter and if there are times when we save time. We do not have to wait long for answers to our questions or leave our homes. We can attain specific information without much effort, allowing us to spend more time making bread or whatever we deem important in life.
Do you ever have a conversation with someone only to realize they are in another world? Their mind is thinking about Facebook, the text they just received, the email they need to respond to? We are now such a highly connected society that we often do not go more than an hour without having connected with someone that is miles away from us, yet we struggle to sometimes connect with the person that is sitting right in front of us.
A few months ago I finished reading the book: “Program or be Programmed” by Douglas Rushkoff. A few days ago, I was reminded of Rushkoff’s book, after an interaction that just felt too on the surface to me. We have become a society that just takes from the top layer. We are getting farther and farther away from going deep. Our world revolves around the moment by moment distractions of our phones, tablets, and what is happening on the Internet. Rushkoff says:
“A society that looked at the Internet as a path toward highly articulated connections and new methods of creating meaning is instead finding itself disconnected, denied deep thinking, and drained of enduring values.”
My question is what can we do to get back to deeper values, connected conversations, and quality interactions? I also like what he says here:
“Faced with a networked future that seems to favor the distracted over the focused, the automatic over the considered, and the contrary over the compassionate, it’s time to press the pause button and ask what all this means to the future of our work, our lives, and even our species.”
I want to take another look at my moments and interactions and see how I act. I already know that I am a multi-tasker. I at times applaud myself for all that I can do at once. But, am I doing things better? Am I really focused on all that is happening around me? Could I provide more quality to whatever activity that I am doing by being completely 100% connected and aware?