Happy New Year everyone, I hope you had some great time off! One question – how many of you changed your online or social media habits while you were on vacation? What is a holiday if you’re still connected?
For those of you who love a bit of snow, Thredbo is an internationally recognised skiing and snowboarding destination about 5 hours’ drive from Sydney, travelling south. Of course, that’s in the winter months. During summer, the ski fields are converted into mountain bike trails, and visitors from around the world use Thredbo as their base to walk to Mount Kosciuszko, the highest point in Australia.
This was our chosen family holiday point, with plenty of activities for the young kids and a much cooler temperate than back in Sydney. It also presented me with an opportunity to consider our perpetual attachment to our beloved gadgets, away from the usual work environment.
On one such occasion, I made a lone trip up to Mount Kosciuszko. I had my Garmin GPS watch monitoring my heart rate and speed, a Shuffle with my favourite metal tracks to keep me motivated as I made my way up the mountain, and my iPhone so I could take pictures and update my progress to my friends. Of course, in my rush to get my gadgets ready I almost forgot to take survival essentials like food and water (in my case, Powerade and Binka’s Snakes).
A ten minute chairlift ride that’s not for the vertigo-affected!
It’s a 13km return trip from the top of Thredbo to the peak of Mt Kosciuszko, a relatively short distance. I fancy myself a bit of a runner, so I started jogging right from the chairlift drop-off – and immediately proceeded to hyperventilate and nearly collapse. I hadn’t taken into account the change in oxygen levels, so I was forced to merely briskly walk to the peak.
This was fortunate, though, because it allowed me time to take in the breathtaking views. It occurred to me while I was up there that this was how any animal or human would have seen this area for thousands of years. I turned off the music, took the headphones off and just enjoyed what was around me for the rest of the journey.
One destination that needs to be seen in person to be believed.
By the time I’d reached the top of the mountain, I was having some really intense thoughts about our reliance on all things techy – I’ll put it down to the brain being starved of oxygen, or the spectacular vistas I was gazing at, wide-eyed in wonder. Why are we so beholden to the very devices that are supposed to set us free? Could I forsake these material things that seem to define part of who I am? Where are all the trees up here? Am I the only one wearing sports shorts on the peak?
Not shown: Trees
Once I’d reached the peak, I had a good, long, appreciative look at the natural world around me, and asked a fellow traveller to take a photo for me on my iPhone. When I looked at the photo, I couldn’t help but notice that the 3G signal was at full strength! I quickly emailed the photo to my work colleagues back at Bing Lee and on Facebook, and almost instantly had replies, all while I was sitting up amongst this awe-inspiring view.
Shown: the only guy on the peak that wore his running shorts.
I made my way back to the chair lifts pretty quickly, being able to run as my body had adjusted to the altitude, and it was mostly downhill! But I did stow the GPS, Shuffle and iPhone in the backpack, and just enjoyed the path through the magnificent environment.
Somewhere down there is my family’s hotel room.
As I ran, I reflected on my previous thoughts while walking up. Unlike jewellery, or fashion clothing, or other self-defining purchases, tech gear almost always helps us connect to someone or something. They’ve evolved from serving you, to serving you to the masses, encouraging us to share, to communicate, and to participate. It’s not a question of to have or have not; it’s considering what the right product is to suit the purpose. The thrill I had from my live update and prompt responses on the mountain could not have been duplicated with older products and platforms.
This makes me more excited than ever to see what products I’ll be talking about to you this year. It will always be more than just about the model, its specs and design, I’ll be discussing how it makes your life better and helps you achieve what you set out to accomplish.
With that, I wish 2011 is everything you dream it to be, and I’ll be back soon with the next Ritchie’s Room instalment!