1984 is behind us. We’ve danced like its 1999. 2001 came and went without a space odyssey. Even Back the Future II is in our rear view mirror. So what lies ahead? Are we doomed to Blade Runner’s bleak future or destined to suffer a Waterworld? Will we destroy our planet and desperately seek Interstellar alternatives? Or will our magnanimity expand along with our horizons as we explore Star Trek’s brave new worlds?
I don’t know what tomorrow holds, and neither do you. But I do know our ability to shape the future is defined by the limits of our imagination. We may not be able to create everything we envision, but we will never create a future greater than the one we can dream.
And so I’ve decided to embark on a journey across America to engage people in a discussion about tomorrow – a year-long bicycle journey to all 48 contiguous United States.
Every action we take has consequences for tomorrow. No one set out to create a world of income inequality, racial strife, and religious wars. They are simply the logical result of economic and political systems, which, whether passively or actively, we value more than we dislike their collateral disruptions.
However, acknowledging that we can’t control the future doesn’t mean we can’t influence it. If we can articulate how we want to live, only then can we take steps in that direction. This is why I’m asking the question: “How will we live tomorrow?”
I’m often struck how movies set in the future use retro iconography. The planes in Avatar were vintage 1930’s, Star Wars’ Chewbacca looks Neanderthal. Sprinkling bits of our past into an imagined future unhinges us from the present and makes it easier to access whatever fantasy the director has in mind.
In a similar way, I am accessing an elementary form of transport – the bicycle – to ask about tomorrow. A guy on a bike doesn’t prejudice anyone’s idea of the future. I hope to be accessible enough not to threaten, and quirky enough to elicit unconventional responses.
Please follow me on this journey. I’ll post my progress, tales from the road, and answers I receive to “How will we live tomorrow?”
But consider doing more. Participate in the adventure with me. Send me ideas of where to go, what to see, and who to query. Answer my question for yourself. I’ll also post responses to “How will we live tomorrow?” that you and others write. Add your voice to how we shape our future.
I need to think more before I submit something that meets your criteria – I have some thoughts spinning around. But I am also curious about some of the logistics. I’ve seen your bike so I think I understand that. How will you stay connected? Typing away on the tiny iPhone screen or lugging something bigger on the bike or visiting libraries across America?
Should I be posting detailed questions here or use 1:1 email? You must be frantic with last minute details.
Coincidentally Jan’s “boss” at Wellfleet Audubon, the volunteer coordinator, and her husband have just departed on their own cross-country expedition. But her’s is more permanent – they have sold or given away pretty much everything. They are not traveling by bicycle, although they have done that before, but in something not much bigger. Think of a queen bed on wheels. You can follow them on http://birderdiane526.blogspot.com and maybe you will cross paths somewhere in your travels.
If you have any needs for tech or logistical support on the road please feel free to reach out. Text is the best way to get my attention quickly, but I keep pretty good track of email too.
I’d also like to share a few photo tips that I’ve picked up since I joined the Cape Cod Viewfinders Camera Club. I think you have the same iPhone I have and there are a few simple tricks that will vastly improve the quality of your photos with little effort. Unless you upgraded to the Samsung 5 that Jan has that blows my iPhone away with no additional tweaking.
Hopefully the all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants across America won’t find out you are on the way and close before you get there.
And think of all the points you’ll earn when you stay in hotels – you’ll qualify for a heck of a vacation after your trek.
I can definitely use camera tricks. Still using my iPhone 5S. Still happy. Look for the upcoming post on GEAR. It is all about I will fit everything in two panniers and maintain communication. A few minor items are still outstanding.
Best and easiest first step is to go to the App Store and download SnapSeed. It’s FREE from Google. Oh crap. I just went in to take a look and compose a few hints and it’s all different – they just updated it two days ago. You can get up the learning curve pretty fast if you know where to start. Here’s some basics.
1) Open SnapSeed and touch “Open Photo” and “Open from Device” and pick something from your camera roll.
2) Touch “+” and you’ll get a list of tools.
3) I think the most amazing tool is “Details”. Swipe up and down and you will toggle through two adjustments, Structure and Sharpening. Swipe left and right to add more or less of each. Start with +30 on each.
4) In the upper right of the screen is an icon that will flip between before and after views of what the adjustments did. Depending on the image you started with the before and after can be pretty dramatic. I see huge improvements on my iPhone 5S, but Jan’s Galaxy pictures are much better to start with so there is less improvement.
5) Once you get something you like hit the checkmark on the lower right to commit the changes. SnapSeed changes a copy of your original, your original is still there untouched on your camera roll so if you get lost in the weeds in SnapSeed you can quit and start all over again.
6) After you hit the checkmark you are back to the starting point where you can hit the “+” again and use a different tool. At the top of the screen is the “Save” button – if you don’t save it all your changes are lost. If you save it a new copy shows up in your camera roll.
The rest of the tools can be very helpful or very confusing. Mostly they work in the same way, swipe up and down to pick different adjustments within the tool and swipe left and right to change the level of the adjustment. I like to start with Crop and Rotate – if you need to crop a lot out of the image no sense making other adjustments with parts of the image that are going away. Then I do details as I said above. Then Tune Image is another place I play – lots more adjustments there. I have not gotten deep into the other five tools.