Monthly Archives: January 2017

Communication Breakdown

It’s been a while. I’m hibernating. The winter has been dark and cold and wet and there’s too much negative shit going on in the world. It makes me want to stay wrapped up and cocooned away from it all. I need to build a shelter in the mountains, fill it with supplies and just stay there indefinitely.

I am getting out though. Not enough adventure but I walk to work and run home, sometimes I make the journey on bike. It’s only an 8 mile round trip but its exercise, a good chance to think, and there’s always something new to see.

I’m helping Sally with a Meetup group based in Bristol to get people out more and explore some of the things you miss while living in a city. And also helping her with a new adventure\expedition company called Lightfoot. Lots of scheming going on. It’s what winter months are for.

We might be heading up to the Cairngorms next month for a winter adventure, but its dependant on a few things. After last year’s weekend in the snow I wasn’t sure if I would ever want to go back out and spend some time in the cold but I’m actually hoping we get to go. A chance to put into practice some of the things I learnt and, more importantly, get away into the wild and have a proper adventure again.

I’m planning some adventures for the time I’m taking off in the summer and autumn. A Cape Wrath expedition to tie off the unfinished LEJOG trek from last year and looking at locations for days out and weeks away while I drive around finding new places to explore in Wales, Scotland and the Lake District. Scouting out adventures that might get offered as guided treks in the future with Lightfoot.

Thinking further ahead I want to do a bike packing adventure with Sally. She’s cycled round the world and through South America so must be itching to get back on the saddle. I don’t know why but I’m drawn to Iran and parts of the middle east. I know she has some ideas as well so we need to stick our heads together for 2018.

I’ve volunteered to help with some camps the Youth Adventure Trust are running. I’m looking forward to do some worthwhile charity work and help young adults realise their potential.

I should be getting out more to climb but I’m finding it a struggle. I’m still rehabbing my shoulder and back so it’ll come. No point in pushing things too much. But I do need to get back on this and learn to lead. I need to be competent enough to book my SPA.

I was looking at some notes I made for possible blog posts. I’m still conscious I haven’t written much on a regular basis and I came across an idea about social networking. This was a result of a conversation with one of my best friends. I forget how we got there but essentially it boiled down to how, when we were kids, there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no mobile phones. The internet was a novelty, yet to grow and realise its potential. The only way we could arrange things was at school for later in the evening, by land line or pay phones. If that person or group of friends were out, you had to become an expert tracker to figure out where they might be.

But in the last 30+ years the world has opened up more. I work with people now who have no idea what the world was like without the internet or mobile phones, and I’m only 41. That astounded me and made me realise that I was raised during a pretty significant milestone in human history. The dawn of the internet.

Email predates the internet but from the early networks of the 60s & 70s (ARPANET, NPL, X25 and Usenet) came TCP/IP and a global network which eventually spawned the internet. From government and academic use, to the creation of ISPs and eventual early use in the 90s, the internet and email has meant that someone is always there and available. Information is at our finger tips.

I gloss over the history but it really was a fascinating time, and if you get the chance then read up on it. But things people take for granted today, like the internet and smart phones, were really only developed in the last 20+ years. An explosion of technology and communication. You can tweet from the top of Everest for gods sake.

Original forms of communication across distances included word of mouth, smoke signals, pigeons, semaphore and written word. Then came Morse code and the telegraph. This signalled (pardon the pun) a big milestone as it changed how the world communicated. There was limited knowledge of national or international news but this low cost network expanded the world in new ways.

After the telegraph came the telephone. Spoken word transmitted over a network of copper lines. Simple and effective, it was the stable of the modern world for a long time. In the 50s, cell technology was explored and in the 70s the first steps to commercial mobile phones were taken.

After the significant advances of the internet and mobiles, what does the future hold for communication? I would say we’re heading for less is more. Nano ear pieces, holographic images, swipe screens. I dare say we’re already there with those technologies but eventually we’ll have implants and fully immerse ourselves into the technology.

However, the more demand for communication, the more intrusive and personal it becomes. Could we put up with this, the monitoring of our communications and always being switched on?

I’ll tell you from my mountain cabin. But you’ll need to learn how to read smoke signals…..

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