Walter Kirn: In Defense of Texting While Hiking
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 05.17.12 | 2:47 PM ET
The author of travel novel-turned-movie “Up in the Air” has a confession: He likes to text while hiking, and he also likes to bring his iPad to the beach. He’s torn down the barriers between technology and wilderness, and—as he writes for Outside—he thinks that more of us should do the same. Here’s Kirn on his moment of revelation:
After three months of writing cooped up indoors, with only a square patch of sky framed by my window, I drifted outside one day into a field frequented by herds of pronghorn antelope and set up an improvised writing desk on an abandoned, weathered wooden spool that had once held telephone wire. I opened my laptop, powered by a battery, set my cell phone beside it so I could handle work calls, and rigged up a little iPod stereo with speakers that looked like Lucite tennis balls. Above me, in the immense blue August sky, gray cumulus clouds fattened and roiled and towered, blocking the sun, and between them neat white contrails unfurled, tracing the curvature of the vast planet as jets bore their passengers between great cities. The sight was evocative and monumental, and it would have been lost to me, locked up as I was in my office. The novel took on an extra dimension then—broad, expansive, melancholy. Unless I’d brought my computer onto the prairie, I never would have caught the scene.