Leaving on a jet plane for Toronto to meet up with Sherry, I had my trusty crossword puzzle book and several sharp #2 pencils for entertainment. I had wanted to go to Nova Scotia for quite some time and being able to do it with Sherry was an exciting plan. I was nervous about traveling the first leg on my own but it went well and the rest of the trip was well planned. My husband had been on three previous trips with Sherry and had enjoyed it so it was my chance to see how it worked.
We were using all forms of transportation—plane, bus, subway, foot, taxi, train, car, ferry and return by plane. I could have never imagined a trip like this as a child. Growing up in the 30’s and 40’s we still had horses and wagons we would use to travel when the roads were impassable. We had no running water in house, no electricity, no bathroom or phone. A lot of change and progress has been made during my lifetime and even more in the past 20 yrs.
When I was a kid and we traveled as a family (of 7), if grandparents were going, some children stayed home. We would go to visit relatives and occasionally stay in a motel but
many times we’d leave very early, like 4am and go the whole way which could be 400 to 500 miles. We would look out the window the whole way and play games like car bingo, find license plates from different states, count windmills.
Today’s travel is much different. When we got on the train to Halifax, Sherry made a comment about how life had changed. She was busy on her laptop and I was busy with my #2 pencil—she even went so far as to say that no one used pencils any more! When we arrived at our hotel I told her I was going to ask at the lobby to have my pencils sharpened she said they would not know what I was talking about but they did indeed sharpen my pencils and even gave me two new pencils.
Today’s generation all have hand held entertainment and do not notice a thing when they travel by car. They do not know how to talk to one another—they will be sitting next to each other and sending messages! How will they ever learn to communicate by voice or do an oral interview for employment? Plus they will not see the beautiful scenery in this world. They think looking out the window is boring. They don’t realize how much they can learn by observing.
I did recently get one of my teenage granddaughters to look out the window on an 8 hour car trip, she said she didn’t see anything exciting or out of the ordinary. I assured her that if she continues to look she would find some very noteworthy things. It’s something that needs to be developed—the more you travel, the more you see and learn.
I feel the new technology is making dull children and adults—just like everything else, moderation is okay. They need to learn how to converse and visit, they need to ask questions. People live at long distances so you don’t really get to know your relatives or what their lives are like. They need to know how our food is grown and harvested and how businesses are run. We loved to count windmills on a car trip and some kids today would not know what a windmill is or for certain what it was used for.
On this trip with Sherry, when I looked out the window I saw a different way of life in Nova Scotia. In fishing villages the boats would come into the dock with the catch for the day and people would be gathered to purchase it for their evening meal. At our Lunenburg hotel I simply looked out the window of our room and watched the activity on the docks on a rainy day. In addition to exercising my observation skills, I was able to do many things that I wouldn’t have dreamed of. I stood on the bottom of the ocean in the Bay of Fundy where tides vary from 40-50 ft every 6 hours. I toured the Citadel (old fort) in Halifax, a winery, a brewery, a distillery and my favorite – a coffee bean roasting factory in Guysborough. We got to sample different coffees and they were all wonderful.
I feel that my daughter Sherry has combined both observing and technology. Even though she was on her gadgets a lot, she is sharing what she observes here on this blog. I am hoping that all of my granddaughters will develop some travel lust in the future that is not found in technology and gadgets. I have always had a love for travel and the only thing dull about my Nova Scotia trip was my #2 pencil.
This post was written my my mom, Marilyn Ott – with a pencil and paper…
Sherry Ott is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer. She’s a co-founder of Briefcasetobackpack.com, a website offering career break travel inspiration and advice.
Additionally, she runs an around the world travel blog writing about her travel and expat adventures at Ottsworld.com.com.