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Breaking Routines

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This last weekend I went home to Snohomish, Washington which I rarely do at this time of year… thanks to the low fares on Virgin America. This, in of itself, was a break in routine. Smelling the evergreens and fresh cut grass was a surprising welcome back, something I miss during the usual winter visit, and sparked a whole weekend of positive events.

Keeping a long story short, I found myself on Sunday at the local airport taking off in a Cessna 170 with my mother and nephew for a one hour scenic tour of the area I grew up in. Beyond the enjoyment of flying at 1000 to 2500 feet above the ground (I’ve always loved airplanes), I found I was enjoying something thoroughly unrelated: my iPhone

As the flight was unplanned, I only had my iPhone as a camera – as we flew over areas I snapped a bunch of photos, disappointed I didn’t have a proper camera. Lately, my iPhone has been incredibly frustrating and patently unenjoyable. Because of it I’ve considered switching to the Palm Pre, before I’ve even laid my hands on one. Through the flight, I realized that though I lived for the better part of 18 years in the area, I couldn’t recognize anything from the air. I then realized I had a perfectly good GPS radio and satellite map in my hand!

I opened up Google Maps, and it worked like a charm! I used the hybrid view so the streets were labeled and the 3G network in the area was plenty fast enough to keep up with 120mph Cessna.

The large break in routine of traveling home, to a small break in the way I used my iPhone, was a surprising light bulb for me. A piece of technology that I’ve grown so accustomed to using in particular patterns become so delightful in an unexpected way. A ripple effect of breaking routines that could never be predicted.

iPhone Google Maps
The Snohomish River on the iPhone Google Maps
The Snohomish from the Cessna
The Snohomish River from the Cessna

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