Outer Edge Magazine Article: Are Modern Adventurers Too Soft?

oct Nov 2010 low

As many of you know I have been contributing a regular column to the Australian outdoor adventure magazine Outer Edge, and the latest issue went to print recently with a host of great stories. The issue is focused on survival and features everyone’s favorite wild man, Bear Grylls, on the cover.

For my piece I expanded a bit on something I’ve written about here before and that is the impact of technology on modern expeditions and how it has changed the game in so many ways. Sure, it has made things a lot safer for the adventurers heading out into the field, and it is difficult to argue that that is a bad thing. But those built in safety nets have also taken away some of the inherent danger that comes along with adventures in the wild and remote places on the planet, and explorers heading out to those places now know that they can call for help with a push of a button, and a rescue operation will be underway within hours. That certainly wasn’t the case for guys like Amundsen, Scott, or Shackleton.

But it isn’t just that consideration. Modern communications has also changed the impact of a solo expedition as well. Gone are the days of a lone explorer spending weeks or months in the field alone, with no way to chat with friends and family back home. Instead, at the end of a long day, they fire up the sat phone and modem, so they can chat with their mom while they check the performance of their portfolio on their laptop. Those kinds of journeys are hardly the lonely, isolated affairs that they once were.

Of course, I also realize that the modern explorer had to balance keeping the sponsors happy while also getting their expedition funded. Modern gear helps to make that possible with daily dispatches, Tweets on progress, and YouTube videos capturing the events as the happen. It is the nature of the modern adventure game, but that doesn’t mean we can’t lament an earlier time.

For any Aussie readers out there I’d love for you to pick up the magazine and tell me what you think. Feedback and thoughts on the topic are always appreciated.

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4 thoughts on “<i>Outer Edge Magazine</i> Article: Are Modern Adventurers Too Soft?”

  1. I haven't read the article but I have to disagree with the general idea. There are still people out there going without comms in remote places for long periods. These guys have no sponsors & just do it. They don't have blogs or sites and do extraordinairy achievements unnoticed. I know a few of these guys. This is I have the lick to know a few other languags than besides English so I can browse forums or sites where these guys provide advice ti newbies.

    Also Amundsen etc… where not solo. Solo came during the 80ies where radio comms, later staphones existed. Soloers have to wait long hours or days before getting medical help. Amundsen had certainly a doctor at hand but of course for major problems, we know have a luxury called helicopter.

    There's the same debate among the press like everything has been explores or seen on earth, every square km. This is far from true. It's not easy but the are still places very hard to access and thus not or seldom explored.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts. Always insightful and welcome.

    And of course I know that Amundsen, Scott, and their like were not solo. I was just using them as a historical example.

  3. Modern technology has changed everything, including the adventure game…But to say that it made modern adventures soft wouldn't be completely true.

    With or without modern technology,communications and sponsors, crossing Amazon, reaching North Pole or climbing a mountain still involves a lot of danger and doesn't make it a lot safer.

    "Soft adventurer " – somebody who goes for a 2 mile hike with SPOT, iPhone and 10 essentials ( that would last 2 month for a real adventurer…)

  4. Agreed on all points Paul. It's kind of amazing what some people will carry with them when they head out on a day hike. LOL!

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