The E-Travel Myth By John Ahern

Nine hundred thousand wildebeest stampeded across the Serengeti in high pixel definition on our TV screen. David Attenborough explained the event in his soothing tone. ‘It is the world’s greatest animal migration.’ I instantly added it to my travel bucket list, blurting ‘I have to see that,’ to my 12 year old daughter Jaimie who was snap-chatting from the lounge room’s adjacent chair.

‘You can Daddy. You can watch it on YouTube.’

I waited to see her wry joke-face but it never arrived.

‘I meant....be there, silly….in a jeep, feeling the Earth shake as they thunder past.’

This suggestion prised her eyes up from the screen. ‘Oh, no way. That looks dangerous! Anyway, X-Factor’s starting, Daddy. If you want to see those wildy-beast things, you better go to your IPad.’

I trudged off somewhat bemused. What sort of child had I raised that reckoned E-travel via the digital medium could possibly be a remote substitute for the real thing? She probably also thought that social networking did not require meeting people in the flesh.

I found my wife reading a book; a paper one, not on a kindle. ‘Albert Einstein was right!’ I announced. ‘I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.’

I decided to never give up on witnessing the running of the wildebeest, but till then, I whirled around and went to watch X-Factor with my daughter. After all, in stereo-surround it was so much better than the real thing.


in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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John Ahern is the author of 'On The Road With Kids. One Family. 30 Countries. No Turning Back.' Published by Pan Macmillan. He has travelled through >85 countries, converting adventures to stories.

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