Father and son reconnect by disconnecting from phones on month-long trip to Mongolia
TORONTO -- A Calgary man managed to reconnect with his teenage son by convincing him to disconnect from his phone and travel across Mongolia for a month-long journey with only each other for company.
Last summer, adventurer Jamie Clarke asked his then-18-year-old son, Khobe, to accompany him on a motorbike trip through Mongolia so he would spend less time on his phone.
A “scary” prospect, according to Khobe.
“The three aspects of not having my phone, motorcycling, and climbing really turned me away from it at first, but then as time went on I got very intrigued,” he told CTV’s Your Morning on Friday morning.
Clarke said he hoped the trip would give Khobe the opportunity to live in the moment and experience what life was like before the invention of smartphones.
“I felt it was just important to expose Khobe to a time without being constantly engaged in and often distracted by tech,” he explained.
However, Clarke said the experience changed his perspective on his own smartphone habits, too.
“When we really sat down and studied it, I was using my phone as much as Khobe had been.”
As they travelled more than 2,200 kilometres across Mongolia on motorbikes, horses, and camels, and climbed 4,375 metres up its highest mountain, the father and son duo said they grew distant from their smartphones and closer to each other.
“I guess that’s the beauty of a hard adventure,” Clarke said. “It really bonds you. Not to sound cliché, but you definitely come away with a closer bond when you’ve gone through difficulties.”
Upon their return home, Khobe said he looked at his phone in a “whole different way.” Now when he’s around other people, he said he tries to stay away from his phone so he can be present with them.
Clarke said he’s witnessed the change in his son firsthand.
“I came in to the garage the other day and Khobe was sitting in there with some buddies and all of their phones were on a shelf in the corner on my work bench,” he said.
For anyone looking to have their own “Mongolian moment,” as Clarke calls it, he suggests allotting a chunk of time out of every day to put away any technology and just spend time with their friends and family.
“When we’re together, let’s be together,” he said.