The More Things Change

     When I was a kid my family took summer vacations each year.  We traveled by car for 2-3 weeks at a time driving around the United States.  We didn’t have Mapquest to find the quickest route, internet to find hotels in each town along the way or the world wide web to find all of the interesting sights there were to see.  We had an Atlas for navigating, relied on billboards or tourist information areas to plan things to do and had to stop the car to find out if a motel had rooms available for that evening.

     Things sure have changed since I was a kid.  There’s no need anymore to stop at two or three motels to ask if they have a room with two double beds available.  We can check out vacancies and prices online or call 411 on our cell phone to get phone numbers of motels to call on our cell phone.  We can even use our GPS to find motels in a specific area or to find the nearest gas station.  We don’t have to keep our eyes peeled for billboards advertising gas or food we can just use the GPS or go online with our cell phone and search.  

     It’s amazing how easy it is to navigate through a city or find a destination with the help of the GPS.  The machine tells the driver exactly where to go and amazingly enough no one questions it.  I remember my parents getting upset with each other because my mom didn’t tell my dad to turn soon enough and we missed the exit and would have to turn around.  Things could get pretty tense inside the car but that doesn’t happen with a GPS.  The GPS leaves little room for debate.  

     What direction are we going?  How far is "fill in the blank" from here? What elevation do you think we are at?  The GPS tells us almost everything we want to know and we rely heavily upon it.  I have a difficult time figuring out how to work it so I still look up addresses and write them down from time to time.  I even pick up maps and look at the atlas when we’re traveling.  There’s something comforting about being able to hold the map in your hands and know you can find your way if you need to.

     Wouldn’t it be nice if all aspects of our lives were as easy as traveling is these days?  We could program our daily schedule into a machine and an automated voice could remind us when we need to turn or stop? I guess the computer could do most of this but would we be as willing to listen to it as we are to listen to the GPS? 

     Some things change so quickly and so much it makes my head spin just thinking about it.  I know one thing will stay the same.  I can always depend upon a compass to get me where I need to be when I’m in the woods and I’ll trust one to get me back home too.