Now everything has changed.  Within a 10 year span I am able to travel with a GPS system, have signal in almost every corner of the world for my cell phone, and the ability to click my computer on for instant high-speed internet connection at a local area McDonald’s, Starbucks, airport or any other ‘Hotspot’ in the world.


One of the disadvantages from my observation is that my perceptions of being gone have been obliterated, as well as the healthy socialization amongst a group of friends, family, clients or people in general.


I’m not complaining. It’s merely an observation.  As I walk through airports, a shopping mall, or navigate through a grocery store I see people either riveted to their devices, whether a mobile phone, computer, Kindle, or at a minimum having it handy for the quick draw.


As an artist and human, I have been catching myself more and more embracing the time away from the land of gadgets.  Simply leaving the cell phone in the car, not turning on the laptop in the hotel room right away and carrying a paperback or hardback book in my bag is, at least for me, a survival tactic to maintain my humanity and regain my focus on my craft – the guitar.

Road to Mussel Inn - New ZealandThe advantages I must admit are that I can now make a call when I need to in order to let someone know if I’m lost or will be on time, even a rather precise ETA with the help of a GPS.   I can type this article in my hotel room on the road and send it off for edit or print in the snap of a finger to make a deadline.  And I no longer have to worry about a car’s cassette player eating my tapes.


On another note, I must remember to bring my chargers for my devices with me as I pack up from hotels, carry an extra couple of 9-volt batteries for my DI and delay pedal, and be sure that there is a slide, capo and tuner in my guitar case. 


So what would I do without all of these devices, gizmos and gadgets if I had a bag containing ALL of them and accidentally left it at home?  I’d get a map, play without a delay pedal, have a repertoire to sustain a night of music that doesn’t require the use of a capo or slide – and tune by ear.


And after the show I’d attempt to have a healthy conversation with another human being.


My point is that I have been observing recently during all of my touring how the old methods of navigation, tuning a guitar from my senses, and having an engaging chat with a person is still a good thing.


These efforts can prevent me from getting rusty at getting from point A to point B based on instinctive skills, simply tuning my instrument and most importantly losing my sense of being a human being.


On the other hand, I do like having that Garmin GPS on hand when traveling in the midst of a region with “lions and tigers, and bears, oh my!”


– Richard Gilewitz

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”  Dorothy, from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum