Unnatural long-distance migrants

If “where” is both subjective and physical, what do you need to know, precisely, to figure out where you are? From the moment our nomad ancestors wandered out of Africa until a few decades ago, locating yourself required interacting in some way with the environment: following the stars or a migrating herd of wildebeests, even reading a compass or a street sign. Then, in the time it took to transition from rotary phones to smartphones, we became the first unnatural long-distance migrants, followers of step-by-step instructions that obviated the need to look around at all.

Kim Tingley
“The Secrets of the Wave Pilots” in The New York Times Magazine