Dad Takes Son To Mongolia Just To Get Him Off His Phone

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Riding through a remote valley in Mongolia on the back of his motorbike, adventurer Jamie Clarke let the hum of the engine and the wind echo in his mind while his thoughts wandered. After several hours, he pulled over to shake off his helmet and take a look at the map. This was what he loved about adventuring — the solitude, the landscape and the feeling of being in charge of your own destiny. But when his 18-year-old son pulled up right behind him on his own motorcycle, he had a different take on the long ride they had just finished. For him, being alone in his thoughts was novel and unsettling. “Oh my God, that was terrible! I can’t be left with my brain like that!” But that was precisely why the two had decided to embark on this adventure together.

Mr Clarke, a lifelong skier, mountaineer and trekker, had felt like he was losing touch with his son Khobe, who was always on his phone at their home in Calgary, Alberta. He blames himself, partly. He has a smartphone just like everyone else, and he enjoyed playing games with his son on his Blackberry when he was small. […] For a long time, he had dreamed of traveling across Mongolia on a bike. Now that his son was older, why not do it with him? About a year ago, he proposed it to Khobe. It wasn’t an automatic hit. “I said no pretty quickly,” Khobe says. “But it kind of turned into this fun idea it became such a thing of preparation that it was very exciting to go do it.” Khobe got his motorcycle license and the two practiced longer trips. While his father has climbed Everest twice, Khobe had never climbed a mountain so he had to practice that, too. They left on July 28, and over the course of the next month travelled more than 2,200 kilometers (1,367 miles) across Mongolia by motorbike, horse and camel. “I think the whole time I was pretty consumed by missing my phone,” Khobe says. “You realize how boring everything gets. When I’m bored I can just turn on YouTube or watch Netflix. What am I going to do, look at the stars and twiddle my thumbs?” But he also says getting to know his dad was worth it, especially the time they spent off the road in their tents or yurts just cooking and bonding. “I was surprised that when he’s away from a work environment and family that he acts maybe closer my age,” he says.

“It helped me see Khobe in a new way. I saw him as a kid who kept leaving his jacket on the table, not cleaning up the dishes,” he says. “And I was able to see him step up to being a young man, and I was impressed by how well he was able to perform under pressure.”

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