Nourishing Habits™ Digital Wellness Coaching is proud to feature Pat McAndrew as a guest writer. McAndrew is founder of The Low Tech Trek, and a NYC actor dedicated to examining technology’s impact on society and cultivating stronger human relationships.
Teaching Digital Wellness Through Theater
Building The Low Tech Trek has been an exciting journey. It started as a supplement to my one-man show REEL, which was performed in the 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City. I wrote REEL is about technology’s impact on human relationships and how we connect to one another in the digital age.
Once the show closed, it became my mission to keep The Low Tech Trek going. At the time, it was a rare breed, but over the course of the past year, awareness regarding technology’s impact on our cognitive and social development has skyrocketed. Tristan Harris and other collaborators formed the Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing more humane, people-centered technology, which is a great contrast from the attention-sucking industry that is currently king of the castle.
Mission and Social Impact
The Low Tech Trek’s mission is to cultivate genuine, human relationships and facilitate human interaction. In a world that is seemingly becoming more divided, my aim is to bring us closer together. We must accept difference with open arms and continuously learn from others from diverse backgrounds. It’s the only way that we can move forward.
While the positive tech psychology development of new design is crucial in the design of new technology today, I wanted The Low Tech Trek to focus primarily on our behavior and our social responsibility to ourselves. I have witnessed first-hand how our interactions and conversations are different now because of the existence of the smartphone. Many conversations revolve around our phones, while those that don’t rarely reach any meaning or depth.
I come from a theatre and acting background. The skillsets one develops in the performing arts are highly beneficial to humanity and I felt it would be unwise to ignore them. Being an actor teaches us how to be better listeners, how to communicate our viewpoints effectively, how to present ourselves, and how to remain present and aware to our surroundings. We must all be actors in our lives. I’m not saying we must be the next star on Broadway, but we must be proactive in our work and our relationships. If we take a passive stance in our lives, which is often the case in our tech-obsessed culture, then our lives will pass us by, leaving us unfulfilled, empty, and unhappy.
I use various theatre and performance theory and expertise to inspire this action in people. The Low Tech Trek is not The NO Tech Trek. I recognize technology’s wealth of opportunities and we should utilize it to the fullest as a tool for positive change. We mustn’t, however, let technology consume us, turning us into mindless zombies without a target to hit or destination to reach. Through performance-based exercises, we can reignite the flame of conversation and connection, we can grow our understanding of what it means to be human, and we can live happier and more fulfilled lives through the relationships which we build.
I have coached individuals in my practices and have just begun speaking at events related to this extremely important topic. As for the future, I am in the works of developing interactive and engaging workshops and creating courses that will benefit those interested in looking for more depth and meaning in their lives. The Low Tech Trek is certainly a movement towards a better, alternative way of living among the never-ending noise of the digital age. I hope you join us!
Pat McAndrew is a digital wellness consultant and actor currently based in New York City. He is the founder of The Low Tech Trek, a community devoted to discovering a better balance between technology and humanity. Using techniques and methods rooted in theater and performance, Pat coaches individuals and organizations on how to communicate effectively, build stronger relationships, and improve their focus, presence, and productivity. His one-man show, REEL, which deals with the impact technology has on human relationships, was featured in the 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC and in the new documentary, 'Electronic Crack.' He has performed in various locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and writes regularly for The Low Tech Trek Blog. Learn more at thelowtechtrek.com.