It constantly amazes me how dependent we become over the course of our lives on gadgets. As children, depending on what generation you belong to, we rely on toys to entertain us, if not television after school to relax and chill. Later on we become addicted to music and we can never seem to go anywhere without it. For those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s, and made the transition from portable transistor radios (remember those?!) to boom boxes and then the first generation Walkmans (the ones that could only play 30min cassettes in one direction), life was good and we could still put them aside to play with friends on the playground or go for adventures in the parks and woods. Then came the 80s and the Walkmans got fancier, yes, 90min cassettes with self-reversing feature and eventually the CD versions. Oh wow, I even remember one relocation where our source of music was a CD Walkman with computer speakers attached to it for a few weeks until the container arrived.
Well, here I am again, glamping and still waiting for the blessed container to arrive (it has been postponed from May 15th to June 1st and now June 16), relying on iTunes for my music and the internet for my news and entertainment. My music I carry everywhere on a daily basis thanks to the interface feature of Apple, so that is a luxury I enjoy.
There is no denying that our lives have become irreversibly dependent on the internet to the extent that unless we are marooned on a remote island with absolutely no signal, we rely on the internet for socialization, information, business, and personal management. It is absolutely scary. On the other hand, the convenience of it all sometimes, is something to be grateful for on some days. Glamping, for example, is made so much more bearable and almost enjoyable thanks to the internet, that is, when I do have it. I’m still waiting for my home WiFi connection to be activated… and now that I am down to basics, television is something that is definitely not at the top of my priority list. At some point in the future I will purchase one again, if I feel the need for it at all. A friend recently commented that if I have a good internet connection, I be needing one anymore, and from what I have discovered over the last two weeks, he is absolutely right.
News was the main reason for switching on the TV, but these days I get all I need via the online live streams. I’m not a CNN fan, but there is live streaming if you don’t want to read the articles. BBC and sky news are live on YouTube and that keeps me company during breakfast, and if I want Filipino news, ABS-CBN offers both the English and Tagalog newsfeed online.
Then there is Netflix and Amazon Prime if I want to watch a series or a movie and there is never a shortage of choices, on the contrary, thanks to these two sites I can catch up on a lot of things I have read about but never got around to watching. Or in some cases, I discover something new and exciting. Take the Norwegian mini series Nobel for example. It is one of the best drama series I have encountered in the last ten years that deal with the war in Afghanistan. For once this theme is not portrayed from the American or British perspective and gives you a phenomenal glimpse into Norwegian foreign policy and Armed Forces. I watched it in Norwegian with German subtitles, so I don’t know what other versions are available in other countries.
Many years ago I subscribed to the German online entertainment platform Maxdome, basically because my daughter wanted to watch old episodes of Kommissar Rex. When I moved away from Germany, however, closing down the account proved more than difficult. My latest discovery is something called dailyme.de, a website that offers free downloads of selected German channels. Their motto is to provide mobile viewing so that you can download the shows to your phone or tablet and then watch offline, and this includes news, documentaries, cooking shows, and a host of popular series.
The bottom line is, I don’t miss TV at all. I freak out if my personal hotspot goes wonky and I don’t have access to anything, but I cannot, in all honesty say that I miss television. My favorite US crime series can all be found on Netflix, perhaps not the current season but enough to get by. Glamping is definitely life’s way of stripping away the luxuries we grow accustomed to and learn to look at things from a new perspective.