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  #1  
Old 4 Mar 2012
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Has the internet spoilt 'Adventure' travel?

BBC News - Adventure travel in the age of the online connection


Adventure travel in the age of the online connection
COMMENTS (225)
By Huw Cordey
Costa Rica



Some of the most remote places in the world are starting to feel less isolated thanks to new technology. This may be good for people who live in them, but for travellers it's a mixed blessing.

Playa Nancite in the Santa Rosa National Park is a bit different this year. It is still one of Costa Rica's most remote spots but it no longer has the same sense of isolation.

The change is certainly not obvious.

Getting here requires the same effort - an hour's drive along a deeply rutted and muddy track, only passable in a four-wheel-drive with a winch, followed by a 40-minute hike over a very steep hill.

The beach itself is also unchanged.

Olive ridley turtles still nest here in their thousands, undisturbed by poachers but hunted by jaguars, which often patrol the beaches at night.

Sadly, there is also little difference to the huge quantity of plastic strewn across the high-tide mark, which washes up on to the golden sands from distant South Pacific islands.


No. Change has come invisibly - through the airwaves.

Last year, you could just about get a mobile signal if you were standing in the right spot but now you can sit on Nancite's beach and connect to the internet.

Don't get me wrong, I am as much a slave to the world-wide-web as the next person but I cannot help feeling a little sad at this development.

Continue reading the main story
Costa Rica's sea turtles


Groups of hundreds or even thousands of female Olive ridley sea turtles come ashore to nest in what is known as an "arribada"
Leatherbacks, the largest sea turtles, are champion divers that can reach depths of 3,900ft
The Green sea turtle's diet changes significantly during its life - hatchlings feed on small fish and crustaceans, but adults are herbivorous
The Hawksbill turtle, with its narrow head and hawk-like beak, inhabits tropical and subtropical parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans
Watch a baby turtle dash
Olive ridley mating marathon
It may be a cliche but there is no doubt that technology makes the world feel a smaller - and less interesting - place.

It has the habit of shrinking the distances between countries and merging cultures.

For me, real adventure travel does not just come from the journey itself but from feeling cut off from one's normal way of life - a situation that forces you to accept what you find and become absorbed by it.

And being isolated can also be exciting since it often brings a frisson of risk.

Unfortunately, with the unseen umbilical cord of a mobile or internet connection, it is much more of a challenge to experience the unfamiliar and leave the familiar behind.

In short, adventures are not quite so, well, adventurous.

Take Ernest Shackleton's heroic Antarctic feat - one of the greatest adventure stories of all time.

One wonders whether it would even have happened had the internet been around in his day.

He and his men certainly would not have embarked on one perilous journey after another, if they had been able to let someone know where they had been stranded.

Back on Nancite, the internet had an immediate impact on me.

Continue reading the main story
From Our Own Correspondent

Broadcast on Saturdays at 11:30 GMT and Thursdays at 11:00 GMT on BBC Radio 4, and weekdays on BBC World Service
Listen to the BBC Radio 4 version
Download the podcast
Listen to the BBC World Service version
Explore the archive
Every day I found myself repeating that well known mantra of the 21st Century, "I must check my emails."

When I could have been walking through the forest looking for wildlife, beach combing, or even swinging gently in a hammock under sunbathing iguanas, I was huddled over my computer trying to keep sand out of the keyboard and glare off the screen as I communicated with people back home and - more often than not - cursing the connection speeds.

It is a funny old thing - last year, I was perfectly content without any internet. This year, it is annoyingly slow.

Not everybody feels the way I do about the developments on Nancite.

Wilberth Matamoros, for one, is delighted.

He has spent over a year in Nancite, mostly on his own, logging the comings and goings of the nesting olive ridley turtles.


Each night, he walks up and down Nancite's half-mile of beach counting, measuring and tagging them.

Recently he came across a jaguar eating a turtle.

Rather than back away, he crept closer and videoed the action using his torch as a light.

It was an exciting moment and one he was keen to share with his girlfriend who was more than 5,000 miles (8,000km) away.

With the new internet, he had uploaded pictures of the event before dawn.

For the last five years, Wilberth from Costa Rica has been going out with Jenny Neeve from Essex, in the south-east of England.

They met while working on another turtle project and have stayed together despite only seeing each other for between two and six months a year.


Real adventure travel is not just the journey itself but feeling cut off from one's normal way of life
When I ask Wilberth what the secret of their success is, he says "talking".

Until the internet arrived, he talked to Jenny virtually every day from his mobile. Half the time she would call him, the other half he phoned her.

Unfortunately that sort of love did not come cheap. Wilberth was spending nearly half his $500 (£300) a month salary talking to Jenny.

Now with the internet and Skype, communication is free which means that they can talk for as long or as often as they like, and the money he saves he can spend on flights to actually see Jenny.

Of course, I do not begrudge Wilberth and Jenny their new-found freedoms but - romance aside - Nancite's internet highlights the paradox of this kind of technology.

You crave more of it but, deep down, you know you would be happier with a lot less.

How to listen to From Our Own Correspondent:

BBC Radio 4: A 30-minute programme on Saturdays, 11:30 GMT.

Second 30-minute programme on Thursdays, 11:00 GMT (some weeks only).

Listen online or download the podcast

BBC World Service:

Hear daily 10-minute editions Monday to Friday, repeated through the day, also available to listen online.

Read more or explore the archive at the programme website.
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Old 5 Mar 2012
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I don't really agree with your definition of the term "Adventure" and also and most importantly, electronic things have an "off" switch or you could leave them at home. Travel is where and what you, or the local customs and immigration officials, make it. Personally, I like my netbook and BBC radio4, in addition, the term "Adventure hints of a lack of control, something that I can do without. However, whatever you do or don't, if you are not enjoying it, stop, it's not an adventure it's a pain in the arse. Ride safe.
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  #3  
Old 5 Mar 2012
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Shackleton was an EXPLORER. He went where no one had been (or at least been and survived and written it down) before.

This guy is on HOLIDAY and just wants to shout about how it wasn't two weeks in Benidorm.

The difference is that the former was done for gainful purposes, be it what we would now consider less aceptable (such as finding out if the locals had gold they'd care to part with) or generally for the betterment of the whole planet (finding out what the magnetic poles did to radio waves etc.) and was truely life threatening. The fact that exploration now involves space rockets and million dollar submarines is just something we need to learn to live with and enjoy our holidays to the nice beach.

I meant, who these days writes about how horrible it'll be to journey to the fever islands? That's a trip to the Caribean for those of us not stuck in the 19th Century. Normal people in 1914 didn't go to the South Pole, they either got an afternoon off to wash themselves, a week at the coast or if pretty rich a train ride to France. I wonder if Journalists on the Riviera complained that the invention of the post card made their extreme-adventure-drinking of foreign water less of an extreme adventure?

If the WIFI disturbs your personal enjoyment of your holiday, turn it off.

Andy
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  #4  
Old 5 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maja View Post
I don't really agree with your definition of the term "Adventure" and also and most importantly, electronic things have an "off" switch or you could leave them at home. Travel is where and what you, or the local customs and immigration officials, make it. Personally, I like my netbook and BBC radio4, in addition, the term "Adventure hints of a lack of control, something that I can do without. However, whatever you do or don't, if you are not enjoying it, stop, it's not an adventure it's a pain in the arse. Ride safe.

I didn't write the article, nor agree with some of the contents, just throwing up in the air for a debate :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
Shackleton was an EXPLORER. He went where no one had been (or at least been and survived and written it down) before.

This guy is on HOLIDAY and just wants to shout about how it wasn't two weeks in Benidorm.

The difference is that the former was done for gainful purposes, be it what we would now consider less aceptable (such as finding out if the locals had gold they'd care to part with) or generally for the betterment of the whole planet (finding out what the magnetic poles did to radio waves etc.) and was truely life threatening. The fact that exploration now involves space rockets and million dollar submarines is just something we need to learn to live with and enjoy our holidays to the nice beach.

I meant, who these days writes about how horrible it'll be to journey to the fever islands? That's a trip to the Caribean for those of us not stuck in the 19th Century. Normal people in 1914 didn't go to the South Pole, they either got an afternoon off to wash themselves, a week at the coast or if pretty rich a train ride to France. I wonder if Journalists on the Riviera complained that the invention of the post card made their extreme-adventure-drinking of foreign water less of an extreme adventure?

If the WIFI disturbs your personal enjoyment of your holiday, turn it off.

Andy
drop kick that mobile into the sea! I threaten people with that often!
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  #5  
Old 5 Mar 2012
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I usually carry some kind of smartphone or pocket computer with me when I travel. I find it extremely helpful.

If other people don't like 'em, that's their problem.
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Old 5 Mar 2012
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Finding a happy median is the answer. Trying to step back in time is a lost cause when your average Masai with no shoes is standing at the side of the road hoping to sell you an ostrich egg with his mobile phone clamped to his ear.

I think to a great extent technology has made it more difficult for the more adventurous to have an adventure. As a friend of mine who was describing his trip to the Sinai and Sharm El Shaik in 1986 says even his auntie Ethel's been there now.
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Old 7 Mar 2012
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Hi,

>> For me, real adventure travel does not just come from the journey itself but from feeling cut off
from one's normal way of life - a situation that forces you to accept what you find and become absorbed by it.

Well im really enjoy having Internet...thats something i allways look forward if im cut off somewhere in the wild.
Its a very powerfull tool. Without being able to speak the local language, i get a lot of information about the countrys
from other peoples online travel reports or from the HUBB and sometimes i even get invited to stay with
people all over the world using couchsurfing.


Internet also gives you the chance to download good maps for your GPS and to backup the fotos you need if you plan
to publish your story in a magazine or want to make a slideshow to earn a bit of money for the next trip.
In case your camera gets stolen or when i was arested in sudan and forced to delete the pictures on my camera,
they where not lost.


It also makes me feel less lonely. By far not all places have internet fast enouth to use skype, but even
waiting 30 minutes untill the login of gmail was successfull and being able to reed one single email from my girlfriend
before the electricity fails again gives me the strength to continue my trip.

Of course if would have been much nicer to travel together with here but sometimes this is just not possible.

Greetings from Columbia, Tobi
Motorrad Reise durch Ecuador und Columbien - Teil 4
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