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The father who took his son to Mongolia to disconnect him from his cell phone


At the beginning, Khobe Clarke resisted the idea of ​​traveling a month, disconnected from his cell phone, with his father Credit: Jamie Clarke / BBC

How logrs than a teenager
Release your phone and talk to you? Jamie Clarke went to Mongolia with her son to find out. While touring a remote valley of the Asian country on his motorcycle, adventurer Jamie Clarke let the hum of the engine and the wind resonate in his mind as his thoughts wandered.

After several hours, he stopped to take off his helmet and look at the map. This was what he liked about adventures: loneliness, landscape and the feeling of being in charge of his own destiny.

But when his 18-year-old son stopped just behind him on his own motorcycle, he had a different view of the long journey they had just finished.

For him, being alone with his thoughts was novel and disturbing. "Oh, my god, it was terrible! I can't stay like this with my brain!" He exclaimed. But precisely for that reason the two had decided to embark together on this adventure.


Jamie and his son toured Mongolia by motorcycle, horse and camel

Jamie and his son toured Mongolia by motorcycle, horse and camel Credit: Jamie Clarke / BBC

Angry and sad

Clarke, a skier, mountaineer and long-time hiker, felt that he was losing contact with his son Khobe, who was always talking on the phone at his home in Calgary, Alberta, in southwestern Canada.

The father, in part, blamed himself. Like everyone else, he also has a smart phone and enjoyed playing with his son on his Blackberry when he was little.

"If any addiction we have today as individuals and as a family,
we (the parents) perpetuate it, "Clarke tells the BBC." The phones are great devices, but we begin to feel they are controlling us and not vice versa. "

The problem had reached a critical point a few years earlier, when Clarke went with his family to a remote ski shelter for a weekend to celebrate his fifty birthday. The area had no wifi and there was no cell phone signal.


Father and son could meet in different facets

Father and son could meet in different facets Credit: Jamie Clarke / BBC

"I've never experienced a weekend without my phone before," Clarke's son, Khobe, told the BBC. "It was very weird for me." The young man admits that at that time he was angry at having to travel, and sad because without Snapchat or Instagram he had no idea what his friends were doing at home.

That made his father think about the role that technology had played in his family life, and how to solve it.

The preparation

For a long time, I had dreamed of traveling through Mongolia by bicycle. Now that his son was older, why not do it with him? About a year ago, he proposed it to Khobe. At first, the young man rejected the idea. "I said not quickly enough," he recalls.

"But it became a fun idea … the preparation made it exciting to go and do it," he recalls.

Khobe obtained his motorcycle license and the two practiced longer trips. Although his father had climbed Everest twice, Khobe had never climbed a mountain, so he also had to go into mountaineering.


Khobe Clarke had to prepare to climb mountains

Khobe Clarke had to prepare to climb mountains Credit: Jamie Clarke / BBC

"See stars?"

The Clarkes departed on July 28 and, over the next month, traveled more than 2,200 kilometers across Mongolia by motorcycle, horse and camel.

Although the trip was totally Instagram material, they refrained from posting their photos on the internet until they returned.

Khobe acknowledges that being away from his phone was a challenge. "I think all the time I was quite consumed by extracting my phone," he says. "You realize how boring it all becomes. When I'm bored I can simply open YouTube or Netflix. But without phone, what am I going to do, watch the stars?"

But he also says that knowing his father more was worth it, especially during the time they spent in their tents or just cooking. "I was surprised that when he is away from work and family, he acts as a person closer to my age," he says.

Similarly, Clarke was surprised to see how mature his son was when they were not confined to his typical parent-child parenting dynamic.


Khobe says that carp life was his favorite part of the trip

Khobe says that carp life was his favorite part of the trip Credit: Jamie Clarke / BBC

"It helped me to see Khobe in a different way. I saw him as a child who still left his jacket on the table, without washing the dishes," he says. "And I could see him as a young man, and I was impressed with how well he could act under pressure."

Schedule without screen

Don't stress that going to the other side of the world just to interact with your children, says Caroline Knorr, editor of Paternity at Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that educates parents about media and technology.

"Parents can
set schedules without a screen at home throughout the year, but especially during the holidays, "he says. Knorr recommends doing fun things during the time without screens, such as playing, going for a walk or even watching a movie.

"The really important thing is that parents communicate why it is valuable to spend time disconnected," he says. "Say explicitly 'I'm turning off my phone so we can have family time," he suggests.

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(tagsToTranslate) The father who took his son to Mongolia to disconnect him from his cell phone – LA NACION

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