Information Overjoy - Voila!

Bonjour! Just back yesterday from a 2-week vacation in France and catching up on the recent discussion thread on the actKM forum on infoluenza (Luke Naismith), info detox (Matt Moore), vacations and device-obsesssion (Kaye Vivian) and French women who don’t get fat (Luke again) makes me feel like I never left France afterall.

Proud to say I took only my mobile phone for emergency comms and my videocam to capture the memories of my sister’s wedding, I deliberately chose to leave behind my PDA and laptop and become (almost) incommunicado. While it was not an info detox programme I was on (don’t think that is possible with me unless I am able to shut down all my senses), I was absorbing loads of new information all the time and enjoying it. Medieval castles, Renaissance art, Benedictine basilicas and monasteries, vineyards and wine cellars, meeting with the who’s who in the Burgundian wine making industry, learning a Burgundian folk song and some of their wedding traditions, and so on. There were also many of own episodes of “Lost” in Burgundy when we travelled from Paris to Dijon by car, using only segments of maps of the route my bro-in-law had printed off the web (I’m sure this qualifies for another blogpost).

The holiday was delightfully hectic but I believe the “distance” I had from my various comms devices enabled me to enjoy the “here and now”. I was not distracted with email, googling or skyping but enthusiastically soaking in everything going on around me, my senses heightened by the entire experience. I had a gem of a guide, my sister’s father-in-law, a wine-maker who was a oenologist (even learnt that new word). I did not have info overload, I had info overjoy.

Back to the discussion on infoluenza, it seems to me that info overload has little to do with the amount of information we get. What we term as overload or overjoy depends very much on the level of utility we derive from the information we receive, irrespective of amount. For me, the level of info utility was high when I was in Burgundy because I was discovering new stuff in an enjoyable, experiential way. I guess other people would define utility in their own personal way.

I like what Luke said about being more like the French by eating our information fresh and in season – that to me is being in the “here and now”.

As for the French women, I have to admit that the majority of them that I saw were trim. Why even I lost weight after my trip : ) I was walking down to the Panthenon one sunny afternoon and saw this woman jogging, heading towards me. She had on a fitting T-shirt and a pair of cycle shorts. She was well-proportioned, had a super-curvaceous body and a great posture. I was absolutely impressed, so much so I had to turn around and look at her when she passed me. Then, there it was – reality. She had cellulite on the back of her thighs! Yes!! Trust a woman to spot even the minutest of “imperfections”!

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