Wednesday, 27 January 2010

It's in the details

I was driving through Somerset recently with a friend trying to track down some cyclists who'd lost the route they were supposed to be on. As my friend was driving he handed me two devices which had GPS mapping applications on them, one of which was an iPhone, I can't remember the other device.

The mapping on both mobiles was excellent, good signals, triangulating positions, clear mapping, easy-to-use etc. I knew exactly where we were and the best route to where we had to be. However, there was a small difference. One mapping application related our position via a black arrow which travelled as we travelled. The other showed our position with a pulsating blue circle which pulsed and glowed as it moved.

You can probably guess which one of these was the iPhone and which one was the model I can't remember. That small detail on that particular application made me want to go out and buy an iPhone.

Monday, 11 January 2010

First or last

What are the great firsts of exploration and adventure that are still waiting to be bagged? The worthy ones that is, not the first to cross the Atacama on a pogo-stick or the Atlantic on a lilo. Is there anything truly great that has yet to be done but is still within the realms of possibility? Who are the current Shackleton’s and Knox-Johnsons? Is there a corner of the earth still untrodden, un-photographed?

It seems that almost every week now I read in the press or online about another adventurous cyclist setting off around the world for years on end. They’re not the first and I won’t be either. I remember Ranulph Fiennes saying that the only thing that interested him in exploration was the possibility of being the first, the ground-breaker. Without that claim there would be no realistic possibility of attracting funds for the endeavour. However, there are still many, many adventurers willing to save their salary for years and years to finance their own voyages. We’re not reliant on some bizarre and unique method of travel or having to desperately prostrate ourselves in front of a newspaper editor in exchange for some column inches. We just like the look of the road and want to see for ourselves what’s at the end of it.