I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like the world is going to hell in an Internet-connected hand basket.
Primarily those are the times when I would look around our home and see every member of our family dispersed and tethered to various and different screens. Four separate islands of Facebook, Call of Duty, YouTube, and Sportsnet.
So I was thrilled to get wind of Greg Mountenay and his most excellent road trip adventure.
Greg took an old, glorious form of non-digital social interaction, and one close to my heart, the automobile road trip, and gave it a really cool, new life — by actually leveraging our now-digitized social life.
He decided to drive across the country and connect with as many of his Facebook friends as possible. What a cool idea!
“A lot of people are concerned that social media is going to take over, be the new frontier of conversation,” says Greg, over his cell phone connected to a hands-free Bluetooth device, on the road somewhere between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, Ont.
“But it means more to me, that I have stayed connected to my friends.”
He makes a great point; the continued connection has allowed him to be welcomed with open arms from one end of the country to another, and created the circumstances, as he says, “to put another layer on the friendship.”
But how did he come up with the idea?
“It was in that lull after graduation, when you realize you have two degrees and are unemployable … I was hanging out with one of my friends, saying wouldn’t it be great to just walk into a Canadian Tire, grab everything you need for a Canada-wide road trip — GPS, sleeping bag, tent — and head on my way.”
Turns out, this friend has a friend at Canadian Tire. Long story short, Greg more or less got this cool, “summer job” at Canadian Tire, driving across the country in his 2003 Suzuki Grand Vitara, connecting face-to-face with friends and family, blogging about his experiences, and trying out various Canadian Tire road trip products, like the Jawbone Bluetooth, Magellan GPS, and Coleman Instant Tent.
All along he wanted to tie the trip to Facebook, to visit as many Facebook friends as possible along the way. But it took on an even greater Facebook spin when he started posting his possible itinerary.
“Once friends knew I was going across the country, they said, ‘Well you have to stop and see me.’”
The other neat aspect of chronicling the journey over the web, is that friends can track his progress as he makes his way toward them. The “build up” creates even more excitement. He recalls his friend, Jen Feele, getting more excited by the day, as he made his slow way to her home base in Squamish, B.C.
“I get status updates from friends,” says Greg.
“I know what’s going on in their lives. But I haven’t actually seen some of them for years. It was so amazing to be able to connect … to see what their lives are like and what the country is like, from their perspective.”
Check out his blogs at gregmountenay.wordpress.com. Use any internet-connected device at your disposal.