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Getting lost over a much larger area

One of the consequences of the tremendous increases in transportation capabilities is an increase in our ability to get lost over a much wider area.

Let me explain.

Recently, on an episode of the Petros and Money Show, co-host Matt “Money” Smith described an automobile trip he made many years ago. Smith, who lived in Los Angeles at the time, wanted to drive to Las Vegas. Back when he made this particular trip (which was around the time that Sam Kinison died), the way to get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas was to drive eastbound on Interstate 10, then drive northbound on Interstate 15, cross a lot of desert, then arrive at Las Vegas.

So, late one evening, Smith set out in his car, driving eastbound on Interstate 10 and crossing a lot of desert.

Now many of you can see where this is going, but remember that Smith couldn’t see it at the time. He thought he was doing fine, but he wasn’t seeing Las Vegas at all, so he pulled over to ask for directions – and discovered that he was in Blythe, California, a long way away from Las Vegas. You see, Smith missed the turnoff where he was supposed to get on Interstate 15, so instead of heading north and east, he was instead heading east and south for several hours. He was 200 miles away from where he was supposed to go, and while Blythe and Las Vegas are connected, they’re certainly not connected by an interstate freeway.

So why am I writing about this in tymshft? Because our advances in transportation allow us to get lost over a much larger area.

Think about it. What if Smith had set out on his trip 100 years ago? You probably could have driven from Los Angeles to Las Vegas back then, but you would have been much more careful about how you proceeded. And you wouldn’t have been driving at 70+ miles an hour, so even if you did get lost, you wouldn’t have gotten that far out of your way.

And what about the time before the car was invented? Of course Las Vegas didn’t exist back then, but if you were going to make a trip of comparable length – say, a trip from Richmond, Virginia to New York, New York – there’s no way that you could end up 200 miles out of your way and not know about it.

Of course, back in those days you could quite literally get lost in your own backyard – something that couldn’t happen to most of us today.

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