For some people, the trappings of modern life are enough to make them feel fulfilled whilst for others they are the ball and chain that restricts freedom and expression. I’m sure many would love to toss aside the iPad, daily commute, the grind to earn a shilling or two and the nifty home espresso maker that makes the mornings just that little more bearable…all for the open road and to live off grid and be one with nature.
However, does the modern man or woman have the right kind of make up to be able to leave this all behind for a bowl for dry porridge and a life on the open road…or even to run to the hills and live in a cave for the rest of their days? Perhaps not…and perhaps most would not want to either!
We have all become conditioned to utilise technology to help us with the simplest of tasks and sometimes we wonder what and why we would ever do without it. I suppose this is why I like to get onto the dirt trails so much, to get away from the hum and the bang of the drum and just slow down a little, albeit with my newish motorcycle, cameras, phones and sat nav.
This is where I see myself getting off the grid somewhat. The appeal of getting away from the modern chore of life is never greater than when I’m on my bike in the middle of nowhere trying to make my way along a dirt trail and wondering if there will be a way out at the end. However I still embrace the tech that can and will help me, but I’m also a pragmatist. I’ll carry and utilise only equipment that I need to use or I can see will have an added benefit for the task at hand.
We get so used to embracing the new that as a society we have turned into followers of the next big thing…waiting for the next Galaxy S or the latest car or bike model to occupy the dealership. We’re always looking forward, which is a good thing of course, but we tend to disregard that which is old or past its best.
Whenever I’m riding around, I often come across derelict buildings or bits of equipment that has been overshadowed by the overgrown nettles and brambles that thrive in all conditions. I see how we have moved on and have left the old behind; still, quiet and yet haunting but hardly lifeless.
For in these places, this is where I would find the greatest inspiration for some of my writing and photographic projects of the past, present and the future. The old is not useless. The disregarded can still find a home in those who would value its splendour and the soul of the vintage can be found in most things…if only we open our minds and let the possibilities flood in.
Of course we can’t all run to the hills and light our fires in hidden caves, catch and cook a squirrel or eat dollops of beetle faeces…well possibly not much more than a few days that is, however we can reduce the need to chase the next big thing that is supposed to enrich our lives but in reality is just another chain to make us forget who we really are and where we have come from.