A Lost Cause
It will come as no surprise to you that we at Lost Travel Company are not big fans of how much time we all spend online. The internet's attention-consuming wonders are like quicksand for the mind and the devices which deliver it to us have grown to be our closest frenemies.
In a shot across the bow of adventure, the Global Web Index published some research that found the average American spends 6 hours and 31 minutes on the internet every day. That statistic will keep increasing until the distinction of what is and is not "on the internet" becomes so blurry that we can no longer compute a total. Long story short, it is advancing faster than a bear on a bag of beef jerky and we have mixed feelings about it. If the internet threw a traffic light party, we'd show up wearing a yellow shirt.
The information highway is full of helpful fragments but it is also stripping us of comfort-zone busting opportunities and eroding some very fundamental human skills. The most specific example of this erosion is our reliance on navigation. A cadre of writers have told us that GPS is scrambling our brains, our hippocampi take a vacation when GPS is on, and that if you don't use it you lose it. We shan't belabor that point but let us agree that a few more moments wandering the streets unencumbered with GPS might be good for our brains (like this one). After all, maneuvering through the real world in real time is something we are wired for. However it is not just location services that are eating away at our senses.
We are surrounded by modern conveniences of our own making. On paper, we should be living it up. At Lost HQ we love binge-worthy shows, hot showers, and dog food delivered by mail as much as the next person. Yet, for many of us, life is often boring, unfulfilling, or downright depressing in spite of these amenities. They either are not satisfying us or are to the point of obscuring our more foundational needs. With the world at our fingertips, the missing piece might be that we are neglecting the soles of our feet. A shock to the system is in order.
We need to hold ourselves to a more adventurous future. The kind that asks us to dig deeper into our skillset and forces us to leave our modern-worldly concerns on the nightstand for a few days. This means embracing situations with a few more unknowns than most people can stomach. It also means taking on a challenge in a novel part of the world once in a while.
This planet is a big beautiful place, but if you live in the US, you spend 95% of your time indoors. Our tiny glowing screens cannot convey the feeling of the warm breeze on an island in Zanzibar, the deafening silence of the Sahara Desert, the crisp sunrise over a Hawaiian volcano, or the crunch of northern snow. To paraphrase our great-grandmother Alice Howe, it is best to get our culture, perspective, and "history through the soles of our feet." This pulchritudinous planet of ours can only be truly appreciated by taking part in it; by touching it, smelling it, tasting its fruits, hearing its winds, and seeing its vistas.
We are all desperately in need of experiences that do not come with a neat itinerary and are not stiflingly commercialized. These are the experiences that teach us the most about ourselves and our companions. They do not have to be dramatic. They do not have to frighten us or injure us, or cost thousands of dollars. But to experience something novel and challenging alongside another human being forges a deep bond unlike any other.
Our mission at Lost Travel Company is to connect people with themselves, with each other, and with the planet on a deeper level. And while we're at it we are going to do some good for the earth, too. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel over here, but if we were, it would be more square and missing a spoke.
We want more people to experience the pure joy that comes at the end of a good adventure. It is a high that is difficult to describe; a sense of achievement, exhaustion and a burst of energy at all once. It aches in the best way. The realization that you have to go back to real life suddenly becomes the biggest anxiety in the world. It makes people question what they want to do with their lives and how they want to spend their time.
Lost Travel Company exists to feed this joy and help us all find a bit of what we are losing as society charges onward. We are going to do this by giving people a little more Murphy's Law in spite of Moore's. This turns out to be the best way to remind ourselves what is really important in life. The robots are going to take our jobs eventually, so we might as well use our vacation days while we have them.
“A Lost Cause” first appeared in Issue 1 of The Itinerant on October 1st, 2019