Pretty much everyone is addicted to their phones, myself included. However, teenagers have grown up with this technology and have literally never been without it, meaning detaching them from their electronic devices is all but impossible. One dad grew so frustrated with trying to get his 18-year-old to step away from the smartphone screen that he took him all the way to Mongolia to do it. Needless to say, it was a life-changing journey.
Expedition Mongolia: Tech Timeout – Jamie & Khobe Clarke from SAW on Vimeo.
- Jamie Clarke and his 18-year-old son Khobe had the adventure of a lifetime. Jamie was at his wit’s end trying to get Khobe to put down his phone and talk to him, so he thought a trip to a faraway place is exactly what they needed. Jamie had always been into mountain biking, skiing, and hiking in his native Calgary, Alberta in Canada. However, he could never share those passions with Khobe because he was always on his phone. This trip to Mongolia changed everything.
- Jamie partly blames himself for Khobe’s phone addiction. As he told BBC News, “If there’s any addiction that we have today as individuals and as a family, we (the parents) perpetuated it. They’re cool devices, but we began to feel like they were controlling us and not vice versa.” When they went away to a remote ski lodge with no WiFi or cell reception for Jamie’s 50th, Khobe seriously struggled and was angry that he had to go. “I had never before that experienced a weekend without my phone, essentially,” Khobe told the BBC. “It was very weird for me.”
- Khobe really didn’t want to go to Mongolia at first. When Jamie proposed the idea, it was a hard no from Khobe at first. However, the more he thought about it, the more fun he realized it might be. “I said no pretty quickly. But it kind of turned into this fun idea… it became such a thing of preparation that it was very exciting to go do it,” he recalled. After making some like Khobe getting his motorcycle license, they were on their way.
- They didn’t post any photos or videos online until after the month-long trip. After leaving on July 28, Jamie and Khobe traveled more than 1,367 miles across Mongolia by bike, horse, and camel over the next month. Khobe admits he struggled with not being online during the trip. “I think the whole time I was pretty consumed by missing my phone,” he said. “You realize how boring everything gets. When I’m bored I can just turn on YouTube or watch Netflix. What am I going to do, look at the stars and twiddle my thumbs?”
- The trip was a massive bonding experience for the father and son. “It helped me see Khobe in a new way. I saw him as a kid who kept leaving his jacket on the table, not cleaning up the dishes,” Jamie said. “And I was able to see him step up to being a young man, and I was impressed by how well he was able to perform under pressure.” Sounds like a trip worth taking!
Best part of this expedition is my teammate, Khobe. From CBC News: Calgary father, son duo embark on 'Expedition Mongolia,' leaving cellphones behind for one monthhttps://t.co/OkkwrN6ejZ pic.twitter.com/UW8lDHOlYd
— Jamie Clarke (@JCAdventures1) July 18, 2019