Editor's Letter | The Unplugged Issue - August 2017
August is all about going off grid
“Turn on, tune in, drop out." Timothy Leary’s famous 60s maxim was supposed to encourage people to relax, escape the pressures of everyday life and find out who they truly were. If he were alive today, I’d like to think he’s be urging people to turn off instead.
In an era when your phone is never off and even your fridge is bluetooth-enabled we are pretty much always plugged in. As adventure sports enthusiasts, we might be aware of the benefits of getting away from it all, but even we find ourselves needing to be constantly connected. Whether it’s checking surf forecasts, planning climbing routes or reading Mpora, it’s all done online.
"Woodland Parkour has all sorts of unexpected consequences, including (apparently) improving your sex life."
So for our August issue, in a month that’s traditionally been about taking holiday and unwinding, we thought we’d take a closer look at what it means to go unplugged.
My Life in Pictures features a photographer who keeps things strictly analogue, preferring to shoot his summery surf pictures on film instead of digital. Adventure-gram looks at Ed Stafford, a man who knows a thing or two about going off grid, having survived for 60 days on an uninhabited island in the Pacific, while our Great British Adventures series focusses on Woodland Parkour. This new discipline aims to take gym-style moves into the wild, which has all sorts of unexpected consequences, including (apparently) improving your sex life.
This month’s long reads also cover some pretty out there places - Mike Dawson’s stunning story tells of kayaking down the upper reaches of the Indus river in Pakistan, a place where you couldn’t get mobile phone reception even if you wanted to.
Surf writer Ben Mondy visited Barbados, probably the world’s most laid-back wave-riding destination and one whose quality is often overlooked, and we went mountain biking and canyoning in Slovenia, a land whose rugged mountains remind some people (much to deputy editor Stuart Kenny’s annoyance) of Jurassic Park.
This month also features an interview with climber Pete Graham, who loves nothing more than getting away from it all. Over the course of several trips to places like Alaska and Patagonia, he’s learned that tackling remote routes forces him to be more focussed, and actually makes him climb better.
That kind of intense concentration, which all adventure sports demand to a certain degree, is arguably the best thing about doing them. While lounging on a beach can a great way to unwind, the advantage we have is that the activities we love involve getting “in the zone," a place where it’s pretty much impossible to think of anything but the task in hand.
We might use Instagram and all the rest of it after the fact but we all know that the real adventure happens when our devices are safely stowed and our minds are in the moment. If you’re doing it properly, you won’t have to worry about going unplugged, you’ll already be there.
Of course, the irony of using a digital magazine like Mpora to extol the benefits of switching off our screens isn’t lost on me. So with that in mind I’m going to shut this down and head to the beach to get binned by some waves. Hope to see some of you down there.
Enjoy the adventure.
– Tristan, Editor-in-Chief