I have always loved discovering interesting things and information that I have not known about, wandering through areas I have never visited, and experiencing things I have never done. I do not particularly like guided tours, group travel, or guide books, even though I know that I miss seeing and learning about world-famous sites and data. But that’s me.
But now the internet is exploding upon us. The special report in the October 27, 2012 issue of The Ecconomist magazine is on the juxtaposition of technology and geology, and among other topics, goes into three dimensional mapping, in which increasing amounts of information is correlated with geographical location, so that your mobile phone, knowing exactly where you are, can give you amazing amounts of information about that spot — historical, visual, statistical, and of course commercial (Groupon offers from stores that are near, Yelp ratings on nearby businesses, etc.).
I used to enjoy trying to figure things out with help from my very bright wife. Between us, we could usually do pretty well. Now her kind retort to my questions is “It’s probably on Google”. We used to like to drive around, visit wineries, and find wines we liked. Now I notice a full page ad in the Sunday October 28 New York Times for Wine Spectator’s new app Wine Ratings +, which offers over 270,000 ratings and is updated with 1,000 new reviews each month (over 30 a day). In fact, speaking of driving, I love to drive, whether it is driving to Los Angeles on Highway 5, or being lost in the Sierra foothills. I also notice an article in the same NY Times about the imminent self-driven car, which probably won’t ever get lost, and certainly won't put you in the meditative state that comes from driving long distances (no I don't get into accidents).
We evolved to explore, or at least I did. I must admit I have never chosen to live in a big city, although I enjoy exploring ones I have never visited. But to me, living in one I knew, with a extraordinarily complete three dimensional map in my smart phone, bing constantly plugged into the internet and my job, and actively engaged in several social networking sites would be like living in hell. I need lots of unknowns in life and time to think about them, because to me trying to figure out such things is hugely rewarding.