I have question to all those old drivers,couriers and pasengers out there.
If you had the use of today's modern technology such as mobile phones, internet, laptops etc.etc in the 1970's and 80's what impact would that have had and would it have made the travel experience that we enjoyed then better or worse?
I have often wondered this question, so please tell me what you think?
Hypotheticals? Where is Tadpole? I am sure Taddy could be all over this one.
In the meantime an anecdote .
Dippy and Ross Crook found themselves in a Tabriz gaol in 1978,after a bit of fisticuffs at a servo.
The trainee courier,Bruce Driscoll,sent a telex to London.
Driver and courier both in gaol,
What do we do?
The reply from Ross Ruff,was along the lines of:
Do not pass go
Do not collect $200
I thought Johno has posted a good question and now I have decided to take up the challenge.
After some consideration, the development of technology would have made for a better experience in some facets of our overland travels but also taken something away.
Advantages of technology could have meant more instant photos and easier to distribute them around the world. Also getting messages to and from London would have been more instant. If, for example, a part had broken and we could not easily identify it a simple photo would do the job. Accommodation bookings could be easily adjusted and a response given nearly instantaneously. On-line websites could provide details on how to repair vehicles. GPS for finding our way in and out of unfamiliar places would have made lives a breeze. For those passengers that just had to know more about everything the answers could be at their finger tips, instead of testing the depth of knowledge of all of us. We could have had an almost instant world for the things we are used to today.
Advantages may not equate to adventure and after all wasn’t that what it was all about? Didn’t a lot of the experiences come from not having everything at our finger tips?
Let alone another passenger correcting their tour guide on dates, names, places, people etc. from information they researched on their lap tops. To some extent all the passengers could have bought an up to date computer and done their traveling via their lounge chairs. Yes they could have taken advantage of the company of other passengers, seen firsthand these marvelous faces and places but what about getting lost? The hidden experiences that unfolded as a result of getting lost? Now there is one thing I was very good at. Don’t tell me you never got lost. What about the other aspects already mentioned?
Evaluating all my pros and cons I think I would choose the old way. Just like kids today they can call me old fashion but talk to your folks, if they are still alive, and ask them if the quality of life was better or worse without all our gadgets? Haven’t we heard how they thought seeing people, including neighbours, family members like cousins and uncles and aunties, writing via snail mail and talking to the local butcher, baker, mailman, grocers and many others meant a more personalized existence.
I did not say that I too don’t enjoy certain technology like computers to do a lot of things that would not have been available to us.
Shoot me down in flames if you like but aren’t we all keeping in touch, to at least some extent, because of what we shared including the lumps and bumps?
We lived in a different world then, and one that could not exist today.
There are now lots of other commercial and liability considerations that we did not have to worry about, not that they necessarily make the world a better place.
The vehicles today are more reliable than those we used, and would not breakdown to the same degree. Sat phones are used where local networks don’t allow the internet to function, and communication and tracking would mean that our whereabouts was known at every point.
A bit different from the “send me a telex when you get to Kathmandu” approach we enjoyed.
Training today has to be better than what we had, as does vehicle safety, driver safety, camping equipment, first aid, recovery plans (what???), contingency plans and all the other “compliance stuff” that we never had. Not to mention the Policy and procedure manuals documented in pdf format and carried on the couriers ipad.
People are still running tours similar to ours, and they are run by the people of today and sold to the people of today. We would all adapt and exist within the current rules, just like we do every day.
I am sure that similar journeys today would seem just as great an adventure to today’s people, while we may consider them a bit soft. Each generation of overlander considered that the next one had it easier, and I am sure that what BP did with his first Sundowner trip was a whole lot different to those who followed.
Travelling with all of the resources of today is pretty good, and it makes researching a whole lot easier.
GPS is not that reliable in the lesser developed lands, and getting lost by GPS adds a whole new degree of misery to intrepid travelers. Reading maps is a dying art, but one which is ultimately more reliable than GPS, if only because people tend to interpret maps, while they tend to blindly trust GPS. That interpretation, plus looking out the window for the mountain which appears on the map does tend to help.
There is really no way to compare, because if we had had today’s resources available then, we would have used them. We used the best we had at the time, and got the best out of it. I enjoyed doing what we did then, with what we had, but if I was doing it today I would have a whole lot more electronic stuff at my fingertips, to do just as good (or otherwise) job, and today’s people will have just as much of an adventure as ours did then.
We did what we did when we did it, and had a ball, just like today’s intrepid overlanders (via Russia and the ‘stans)
I think we all understand your frustration. The stupid woman that lives inside my GPS has no idea of how to get anywhere. As I head away from home she tells me to do a 'U' turn to take me further away from where I want to go. I have considered changing over to a man but I feel more comfortable telling the bird what I think, not that she seems to listen or learn. One day I will be tempted to go the way she suggests and see where I end up, if I do that I had better fill the tank up with petrol first.