When you lose the blue dot, life happens.
- Denise Horton
- October 31st, 2014
Do you rely on Google Maps when you travel? Have you entered a tunnel in a foreign country only to come out the other side…and the blue dot has disappeared? You don’t speak the language, forgot to buy a paper map and are hopelessly lost? I feel your pain.
As our Alfa Romeo hummed along Italy’s Autorstrada dei Parchi (“Motorway of the Parks”) in July, we blissfully enjoyed the Italian villages and mountain scenery. The Autorstrada connects Rome to Teramo and dead ends on the Adriatic Sea’s pristine coastline. The “A24” boasts two 6.3-mile long tunnels. Running through the Apennines mountain range, these tunnels forms one of Europe’s longest tunnel systems.
As we approached the halfway point inside the first tunnel, I prayed our car didn’t break down. My first prayer was answered, but then, as we exited the tunnel, the blue dot disappeared and we were faced with the decision – which exit do we take to get to Le Marche? We guessed wrong, ended up in the Italian version of a merry-go-round (aka roundabout) and were utterly lost for 45 minutes.
We’re adventurers. We love taking a random right turn and heading down a dirt road with no end in sight. So, we made a few “hot laps” (Jay coined this phrase as we drove around multiple roundabouts across Italy), found a small Italian village, sauntered into the local enoteca, asked for directions and tried a big Tuscan red (well, why not, right?!). Bello!
Once we made it safely to the Adriatic coast, I considered how technology fuels my daily routines. From my iPhone to mobile apps, I continue to add technology into my life to optimize entertainment, productivity, health, knowledge and interaction with people.
In his post, How Technology Transforms Human Experience, Greg Satell writes, “ We can optimize every aspect of our existence—from our health, to how we manage our time, to various aspects of our family lives.” He continues, “What interests me is not the quantified self, but the qualified self—technology that allows me to expand my range of experiences.”
Yes, we lost the blue dot, but the absence of technology for just one hour, created a memorable experience for us that day. The bartender who poured that big Tuscan red in Colledara was a pretty cool guy. He couldn’t speak English, but between sketches on the back of a napkin, and a few hand gestures, we made it to Le Marche that afternoon. No Google Map; no blue dot. Just a great guy, with a big heart, pointing two Americans down a road to the sea.