Expedition.Life is the brainchild of Canadian explorer and ‘activity activist’ Jamie Clarke. Its purpose is to encourage everyone to spend more time outdoors and less time on digital devices. He believes that if society can reset the balance, we’ll all be healthier — physically and mentally.
“We have to decide who’s in charge — us or them.”
The inspiration for Expedition.Life was watching his son and daughter descend into what Jamie terms the ‘wormhole’ of social media. Their behaviour, which initially made Jamie frustrated and angry, was really a type of addiction. Now Jamie is more sympathetic — but resolute in his mission to change the way we think about our relationship to our screens.
“Khobe had a panic attack before we went on a skiing trip to Assiniboine. The joy of skiing — which he loves — couldn’t overcome the pain of missing out on social media. I was judgemental. I thought my kid was just being lame.”
“I see now how complicit I was. I supported him in playing Minecraft. I’m enough of a helicopter parent that I said to myself, he’s at home, safe. That led to Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. We participated at every stage. I’m a pretty disciplined guy and I can’t just watch one episode of anything on Netflix. It’s all so addictive. Before I know, it’s two in the morning and I have to get up at five.”
Jamie resolved to create a new dynamic that would encourage Khobe and Jaela to rethink their social media habits by offering an alternative. A motorcycle trip across Mongolia seemed like the obvious idea to someone who has been to the summit of Everest twice and crossed the Arabian desert on a camel.
Jamie sees the filming of the trip as yielding ideas to cope and better manage for every family who is facing up to social media’s impact on their lives. He knows it won’t be easy — it’s Khobe’s first expedition.
“When you do something where the outcome is unknown, it’s like shining a big flashlight on your life — dark recesses of your personality are illuminated. Sometimes you like what you see, often you don’t. That’s how you build character.”