Friday, May 8, 2009

Low Tech!

I've found sometimes in order to appreciate what we have in this world of technology, that it's good to go low-tech from time to time. I'm very lucky to live in Northern Virginia, not because it's a fantastic place, but because it has a lot of history. I've made it a point to get out and visit several of the historic houses in the area, to see what people did, try to imagine sitting in these houses of luxury with no air conditioning, no electricity, no cellphones, and no internet (shudder).

I recently visited George Mason's house in Lorton Virginia. It isn't the best of the historic mansions (it is very nice though and in a beautiful area), but George Mason was an important part of US history (His Virginia Constitution was the basis of the US Constitution). In looking at his house it was interesting to realize the bricks were made locally (on site actually), the wood work was done by hand, work was done by master and apprentice (this is an interesting concept that is somewhat lost lately, well unless you get a good manager who can tutor you). In the case of Mason's house the woodwork was done by an indentured servant. It was great to see how the houses were built to allow ventilation, how extra bedrooms existed for surprise visitors (you could have a visitor for a dinner that gets stuck there due to weather or dark, these people didn't travel by car, it was either by horse, foot or boat).

I enjoy seeing these places, in the past year I've been to the Sully Plantation, Stratford Plantation, Kenmore Plantation, etc... All have been fantastic and show how people lived without technology. Even more interesting is what people of those days considered as high tech.

I also enjoy going to places where I don't need technology (or more importantly, CAN'T use technology). When I went to Boulder Utah it was fantastic, no cell service, no internet, nothing but outside, very nice. I was able to turn everything off (I haven't been for years, I hope they haven't "fixed" it). What's funny is the second I turned my phone on (because I could get coverage) it rang. I enjoyed going to Zambia, Africa for the same reason. I could get internet access in Zambia, but it wasn't consistent and sometimes it was more of a trouble to get things connected than it was to live in no technology bliss.

I suggest that while all this technology is fantastic, fun to play with, excellent to take apart, etc... That people take time to experience life without technology. It'll open your eyes, either show you how lucky you are, or possibly help you find a work around to an every day issue that you have been ignoring due to your technology crutch. If nothing else it will definitely help you change your perspective of what you have in your everyday world.

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