As I have been traveling over the past few months, I have taken a great appreciation for the little aspects of technology that make living in the modern world 100x better. One small token of thankfulness I have, and realization of how lucky I am to have access to this innovative technology, is for digital mapping and navigation.

I hate to date myself, but I was born in 1997. I was alive, but cannot really remember a time before “GPS Navigation.” I clearly remember the days, though, when my Dad installed one of those clunky Garmin GPS devices in his car – that forever changed the family vacation. But now…with way more powerful technology fitting into our daily drivers (cell phones), it is difficult for me to even imagine a world, let alone a world of travel, where people did not rely on the internet to get around.

I barely think back to the times where my Mom and I would print out mapquest directions before going to my soccer game.

I could not imagine how people would get around the world – Asia in particular – without the help of Google Maps (or some alternative).

How ignorant am I being right now? Do I sound like an extremely privileged westerner?

Well, as I always try to be, I am being blatantly honest. And, if anything, I want to be appreciative of the little things that I (and hundreds of millions of Americans) have access to that a significant portion of the world lives entirely without.

We all carry around “super-computers” in our tiny little pockets that are capable of incredible things. Yet, I find it important to remember that life exists with or without these powerful devices. “Smart phones” – remember – are a new-ish phenomenon. Indeed, life and humanity did thrive before these things came around. People survived. People built cool things. People became extremely rich before they had phones.

And yet…as young people have grown up with these touch screen phones in their pockets, it is becoming increasingly challenging to imagine life without modern tech.

Has this always been the case?

Did the Pilgrims realize just how lucky they were to have boats with big sails where those before them had only paddles?

Did the 1920s take for granted automobiles when they were first coming out?

50 years from now, I can only imagine that cell phones will be an antiquated concept.

I would bet that holding a physical device in front of our faces will look stupid and silly. “Why press buttons?” That statement will not sound weird years from now.