Recently, I took a trip to the beautiful island of Maui. I fell in love with the deep blue ocean and the lush greenery of the surrounding mountains. The colours and sounds of the island complemented the warm air and the salty smell of the ocean spray. The calm sounds of rolling waves crashing against the coral reef almost drowned out the noise - of the boy next to me on the beach. He was chatting up a storm on his cellphone and I couldn't help but think to myself, "Boy, has our world changed."
People have lost the ability to enjoy the things around them. Instead of focusing on the beauty in front of them, they're drawn to the gadgets and gizmos pulling at them from all sides. The world is a beautiful, interesting place, and it's sad that we're so easily distracted by these "toys."
Maui is a place where you go to relax and enjoy the warm and calming weather. It's a shame that the boy next to me didn't realize he was missing the beauty surrounding him.
During my journey to Maui, I spotted countless businessmen and women using some sort of device, either in our hotel lobby, on the beach, in town or during sightseeing activities.
A great example was on a whale watching tour I took with my family. We spotted many gigantic humpback whales and I learned some whale watching lingo. There was one woman on our tour who was inside the boat talking on her cellphone throughout the trip. Not only did she waste her money (because she missed out on the whale sightings), but she also missed out on the amazing whale flukes and breeches. For you non-whale watchers, those are when the tail comes out of the water, or when the whale jumps out completely.
This was a perfect example of when not to use your cellphone. It was better to cut off all ties from technology and just enjoy the beauty of the giant sea mammals.
Now I'm not saying I'm perfect when it comes to distractions. I missed a few whales jumping and fish splashing because I was checking my phone at the wrong time, but most of my time on the beautiful island was spent taking in the scenery and swimming with giant sea turtles. I couldn't imagine spending any more time on my gadgets. The sights and sounds of the marine life held my attention better than any device could. Hopefully a waterproof cellphone is never invented or we'll all be doomed.
It's not just in paradise that the problem occurs. All around me I notice a lack of attention to our surroundings and an excessive amount of attention to a tiny glowing screen.
Phones and devices are great and I have no doubt in my mind that they are unimaginably useful, but there is a time and place for everything. Sometimes you need to put down the phone and take in the fresh air. Sometimes you need to relax and let your mind wander without distraction. Just let your mind un-clutter, and as our pilot Eric warned us before upcoming turbulence, "Go to your happy place."
In conclusion, technology has its place. Smart phones and other electronic devices are infinitely useful. My main point is that you have to know when to use them, and when to turn them off and take in the sights. I advise all of you reading this to turn off your phone, close your eyes and take a nice trip to your happy place. Mine is somewhere warm and beautiful.
Stuart Lord is a Grade 12 student at Dr. Charles Best Secondary.