Mike Zacharias considers himself a bit of a campfire traditionalist. He likes to strum his guitar around the campfire, surrounded by a small circle of good friends and family. The best campfires are filled with the distinctive chords of the acoustic guitar and the accompanying chorus of campfire singers inspired by its inviting twang.
However, the 22-year-old University of Manitoba law student sees his view of the best kind of campfire undergoing a definite sea change.
“I guess there have been ghetto-blasters, car stereos and similar music makers at bonfires and campfires for years now,” says Zacharias. “But now with the availability of Wi-Fi and Internet, a lot of people are accessing tunes online and bringing them to the campfire via Songza, Spotify, and other online music systems. It seems to be increasing, particularly at cabin campfires. I’m fine with that; there is lots of great music out there that is awesome around the campfire. Like everything, it’s all about changing technology and modern convenience.”
Zacharias enjoys summer times spent at his family’s Clear Lake cabin. When he isn’t there, he is often visiting his friends’ cabins at Matlock or Gull Lake. He says he’s lucky that his direct group of closest buddies, including the lead guitarist of the local rock band Giants of the River, actually will bypass the downloaded tunes from time to time in favour of an unplugged sing-song around the campfire. The good old-fashioned campfire isn’t completely lost to the new wave yet. No matter how you play music at the cabin, Zacharias says life’s good when the party’s good.
While bonfires may burn louder with the advancement of technology and access to previously urban perks like Wi-Fi and extensive cell coverage, life at the cabin is indeed changing on more fronts than music. And, to each their own. There are the parents that groan as their kid feeds a chipmunk sunflower seeds while posting a selfie to Instagram. But then there’s also another parent posting as-it-happens photos of their kid waterskiing on their Facebook page.
The spread of connectivity to the campgrounds and cabins is likely a challenge many find difficult to ignore – especially for those seeking to step off the pace of a hectic workweek. On the other hand, for those that want to stay connected the increasing availability of a Wi-Fi signal may be just what was needed to take that step forward in the great outdoors. As with everything, balance and moderation is likely the happy and common tonic for most people.
Either way, the cabin is changing as our cottage days intersect with our urban culture. We form tech habits in our daily lives that will undoubtedly take the car ride out with us to the lake.
5 “Fun” Ways Cottage Life Has Changed Because of Technology
- It’s impossible to not be located! This used to be a getaway.
- Your weekend is ruined if you forgot your smartphone charger.
- Your unflattering inner tube wipe-out is now a YouTube video hit (thanks to your mischievous niece who was supposed to be spotting, NOT filming).
- You can Skype your neighbour instead of yelling over from the deck.
- Your formerly seasonal lake friends are now your year-round social media fans.
Has your cabin life changed because of new technology? Tell us in the comments below.
Top image thanks to Jamie McCaffrey (edit: added Songza logo)